The Revised Lovers Spread

The following spread was inspired by Barbara Moore’s class on creating tarot spreads at Reader’s Studio 2011.

RoseRed and I decided to pick a card at random and base a spread on it, and my pure luck (or was it luck?) we drew The Lovers.

Looking at the Lovers card from the Rider Waite Smith deck, we chose card locations and meaning based on major features of the card


The RWS Lovers

What we chose as significant elements were the male and female figures, the trees behind the figures, the angel above, and the obstacle (mountain) between the figures. We also discussed how to divide up the deck for specific drawing for specific locations.

When performing this spread, divide the deck into Majors, Courts and minors.

Cards 1 & 6 are from the Majors-only stack.

Cards 2 & 3 are Court cards stack.

Cards 5 & 6 are from the Minor Arcana stack.


The revised Lovers-inspired spread

So feel free to give this a try and any suggestions are welcome!



The Emperor’s Hands – a spread co-inspired by RoseRed

I get to share the credit for this spread with my wonderful RoseRed. Seeing how this is an Emperor year AND the fourth month of the year, she was looking for a spread related to the Emperor card to share at her next Tarot Cafe get together. After having just recently attended Anastasia’s monthly Tarot class on the Emperor and Death cards, the symbolism of the Emperor with his scepter and orb in his hands was fresh in my mind. Together we hashed out the following: the three-card Emperor spread.

Specio Imperator

IV: The Emperor
The RWS Emperor

In the RWS Tarot the Emperor is depicted holding symbols of his power and authority: an orb and a scepter, and sitting on his throne. In the context of power and authority, one also hears about those who act as “the hands of the Emperor.” The Left hand of the Emperor, the right hand (and an underhand? A backhand?). Finally the Emperor has his throne; his seat of power.

The scepter, rod and staff have been symbols of authority and power since time unrecorded. Nearly every depiction of ancient leaders they have some symbols of power in their hands. (Perhaps it’s because they didn’t want to fidgit… )  It could be as simple as: “I have the biggest stick, so listen to what I have to say.” From there I imagine it evolved into a cultural habit: “He who holds the staff may speak,” and finally to: “He who holds the scepter has the authority.” The similarities between scepter and wand cannot be overlooked, nor can the association with swords – another symbol of kings and nobility. So really, the scepter represent’s the Emperor’s Will and Way; his connection to the suites of wands and swords.

The Orb represents secular vision and power; the Emperor’s connection to the world. Often literally interpreted as “I hold the world in my hand.” It’s opulence and quality of craftsmanship speaks to the financial power of the Emperor; his connection to the suite of Coins or earth. It’s perfection of form represents the clarity of his vision; thus his connection to the suite of Cups and water.

The Emperor’s throne is his center, his highpoint. He can always be found there. It both makes him more visible and grants him a higher perspective over all his domain. If “all roads lead to Rome” then they must also pass by the throne of the Emperor.

So imagine you’re the emperor, what does the orb in your left hand represent? What does your scepter in your right hand represent? What is your center of power, your ‘throne’?

The Three card Emperor Spread

Okay, this is actually a four card spread, but the Emperor plays Significant, so you’re only drawing three additional cards at the core of this reading.

Separate the Majors from the Minors. Separate the Emperor  from the Majors and place on the table, then shuffle the Majors and Minors separately. Draw a Major and place it below the Emperor card; this is the Throne card. Draw two Minors and place them above the Emperor card as depicted:

(Yes, I know it looks backwards at first. If it helps, invert the Emperor card so his feet are facing the minor cards, and his head is towards the Throne card)

The Left hand represents what your connection to the world, your material influence and clarity of vision. Obviously cups are coin cards are ideal here, but swords and wands are also appropriate since they can represent ideals and passions that may be blocking or influencing this location.

The Right hand card represents your authority and power and clearly wands and swords are appropriate here, however coins and cups can represent material and emotional blockages to this location.

The Throne card represents the seat of your power; your position, role and starting point. As a Major card, this is a big deal and should be considered carefully. The Star would mean being a symbol of hope; Death means taking charge of a change in the natural order, and so on.


The Null of Mind

This is the fourth in my series of posts about zero and the minor arcana. The first article can be found here.

The suit of Swords is about air and thought, so the Zero of Swords is about the Null of Mind. It’s a very Zen thing; the attainment of no mind. Also known as ‘Mushin no shin’ (“mind of no mind” or ‘no-mindedness’). Attaining the no-mind represents reaching a true conduit to your intuition. Like the perfect golf swing, a perfectly performed aria, or an effortless act of creation, the active mind plays no role in the act. It just happens thanks to training, experience and focus.

There’s a very real basis in the concept of unconscious or passive thinking; of not overthinking the problem. Modern neuroscience shows us that the subconscious parts of our brains operate at higher speeds than our conscious minds. How much does our conscious thinking interfere with our subconscious, savant mind?

The Zero of Swords and the Fool

All the zero minor arcana have association with the Fool card. For the Zero of Swords, it has to do with what the Fool is thinking as he begins his journey – or more importantly, the fact that he isn’t thinking! The Fool’s begins his journey with a blank slate of mind: ready to learn and assimilate and grow. It’s not clouded by questions such as “did I leave the gas on?” or “what will become of me?

His focus is on the journey.

Interpreting the Zero of Swords:

Go with your initial instinct, your gut-feeling. Thinking about it will only complicate things and obstruct your progress.

Ignore the process: focus not on the how. Choose the result and do it.

Let go of preconceived thoughts and/or actions. Intuit your way to your goal.

Avoid paralysis through analysis; make the right choice, but don’t think it to death.

I don’t personally read reversals, but if I did, I would say the inverted zero of swords would represent not thinking enough about the situation.

The no-mind reading:

There is irony in asking the tarot about how to attain a zen-like no-mind state; the very act of drawing cards and then holding that information in your mind while attempting to perform said action breaks the concept of the no-mind state. Instead, let’s try a ritual reading; one that identifies the distractions and obstacles to success and helps focus the mind on the goal.

Separate swords cards and place the Zero of swords (or a substitute, face-down card) at the bottom of the spread, closest to you.

Shuffle the rest of the deck (again, without the Swords cards) and draw three cards.

Coin cards represent physical distractions – your ‘stance’ as it were.

Cup cards represent emotional distractions – what might be limiting your movement.

Wand cards represent spiritual challenges – what might be holding you back.

Major Arcana represent major players – they could hinder or aid you.

After viewing each card and intuiting their meaning in this situation, turn them over. This represents you shutting out their influence and letting go of your dependencies upon others.

Return your gaze to the Zero of Swords (or its proxy card) and remember that none of this matters. There is no you, there is nothing in your way. There is just the goal.

When all you can see and think about is attaining that goal, look up and do what must be done.