Saturday, February 15, 2014

A Valentine's Self-Love Spread

My dear blogger friend Ellen brought this spread to my attention when she tried it out herself a couple of days ago (you can see her reading here). It was created by the Daily Tarot Girl (and you can find the original on her blog by clicking here!), and is a beautiful layout for improving self-awareness, in this case specifically in terms of self-love, and the relationship we have with ourselves.

Yesterday was Valentine's Day, and here I am working on my second post in two days (talk about coming back after a brief dry spell!). I had some time to sit down and work with this last night, choosing my Mythic Tarot for the occasion.

Card 1: Relationship to self (what is your relationship with yourself like?)
Card 2: Admirable qualities (parts of yourself that are easy to love)
Card 3: Disowned self (your shadow aspects, parts that need more love and acceptance)
Card 4: Release (judgements and expectations that you need to release in order to be more loving to yourself)
Card 5: More love (something loving and nurturing that you can do for yourself right now)

Mythic Tarot
Juliet Sharman-Burke, Tricia Newell, Liz Greene
Card 1: Relationship to self - 3 of Cups

Well, this is a beautiful card, not only for the meaning of love, celebration and friendship, but because of the image. It's interesting because this looks a lot like my family! I see myself standing on the stone with my husband next to me and my three children below, each holding a cup. And the truth is that they are really my center, and fill me up to the brim with love. But this card is about relationship to self, so how does it all fit? I love the implication that I enjoy myself, because I'd say that's pretty accurate. I have fun, I laugh at things that others may not, and I don't mind laughing alone (in fact sometimes I rather prefer it!!). I like myself pretty well, I suppose! It's the only nighttime card in this spread and it takes center stage. The ocean lies in the background with the moon shining bright above. I see connections to exploration of my intuitive and creative elements, which make up an important part of who I am. What I like about this image is that all of those things are present - my four loves, the Moon of mystery, inspiration, and dreamtime, the ocean of intuition and emotion...yet I haven't lost myself to any of it. They're all part of me, and I of them, and yet I'm still very much me.

Card 2: Admirable qualities - 4 of Swords

It's funny because I've really come to love this card, and I've posted recently about the lovely version from the Deviant Moon Tarot (P. Valenza). There is such a soothing, healing, quiet element to the 4 of Swords, a peace that I adore. I suppose it's true that I'm pretty even-keeled, and slow to react. I like how this lady sits in meditation in the desert with her swords laid out before her creating a circle form. There's a completeness of thought suggested here - she is working through her ideas and plans, and won't leave her spot until she's finished.  My step-dad was always "cool, calm and collected," even when angry, and I always appreciated that about him because it made it easier to communicate difficult things. I can see some of those same qualities in myself, so I hope that my family feels the same way about me. In terms of how I see myself, I do think that one of my stronger traits is that I think carefully about an issue before I give my opinion or take a stance, because I want to be sure of how I feel, and want to be as reasonable as possible in each situation, and I suppose I do value that about myself.

Card 3: Disowned self - 4 of Pentacles

Interesting that these two 4s mirror each other, north and south. The 4s in the minors, to me, are about retreat. While the 4 of Swords is about mental/intellectual retreat that also allows time for emotional healing, the 4 of Pentacles is about material retreat (in the case of budgeting, for instance), or even oftentimes about protection of our self-worth. We retreat in order to avoid hurting our self-esteem or vulnerability. In this way I definitely see the power of the 4 of Pentacles for myself. If you look at the card, you see a man holding tight to his pentacles while looking at another person toiling away. This immediately brings to mind how private I am, and how much I avoid sharing my thoughts and feelings with others. In fact this blog, and my involvement on Facebook forums, has been a great lesson and challenge for me because on some level I fear putting myself out into the world, and hearing nothing but the crickets chirping (though I've been pushing myself in this regard over the past month or two). This card is all about risk and reward. If fear keeps me from sharing with others, I'll be safe, but in certain areas I also won't grow, expand, make connections with others, or develop a deeper fortitude. My private-ness isn't entirely a "shadow" - I simply function that way. My mother and now my husband always push me to share my thoughts because I often don't realize how much I'm thinking, worrying, etc., within my own being… and once I realize that I'm doing that, I can share, and it's amazing how alleviating it can be. So on a larger scale, I do that with communities. I feel an affinity for the Hermit card for a reason. I think I'm often something of a closed book, and in some ways I enjoy that quite a bit. But in other ways I recognize that I need to risk "saying the wrong thing," "being misunderstood," "having no one pay you any mind" in order to be part of something bigger - a community that I often shy away from. In the process of developing this, however, I need to be kind to myself - not beat myself up about the ups and downs that are inherent in opening myself to others.

Card 4: Release - 8 of Wands reversed

Ugh, yes. This card makes want to yell at myself: "Sh*& takes time!! Relax!" When I have an idea or a project I am excited about, I want it to manifest RIGHT NOW. I do everything I can to make it happen, and can start to question myself if I don't see the quick progress that I hope for. There is a fundamental error in this behavior….because very few good things happen quickly. Most things that are worthwhile take time and paced energy to develop and grow before seeing the fruits (thinking of the 7 of Pentacles here). I recognize that by flitting from one idea to the next without ever fully developing any one thing is okay, but in the end doesn't provide the deep satisfaction of creating a "masterpiece." So I need to embrace the slow process, enjoy the journey, and take the pressure off myself to hurry hurry hurry.

Card 5: More love - Page of Wands

Oooo I love this card. I love how the boy is riding a goat (because I'm a Capricorn), and looks like he's about to leap right into the 3 of Cups to add a spark of fire to the calm, cool placidity of the night sea. The Page of Wands is the card that represents my role as a card reader, the messenger, the go-between, and I love seeing it here. In a sense I feel it's telling me to trust myself, to remember and trust that I'm good at what I do, and to enjoy the fact that the sun is still rising on my journey - there is so much more to explore, learn, develop and do. At the same time I see the sun setting, and yet the flame is bright, and I don't have be afraid of losing my way. The message is "have fun with this - don't take things so seriously…you're guiding and being guided, always." I'll carry this with me and meditate on it.

So I wanted to ask for some additional advice about how to work through that 4 of Pentacles, and so I pulled a card from my Medicine Cards and selected the Salmon:

Medicine Cards - Jamie Sams/David Carson
Salmon is about developing inner-wisdom through the understanding that we learn not just from the good experiences we have, but from the difficult and challenging ones as well (and perhaps even more). It's about balance - honoring my own intuition, but also hearing others' ideas and opinions. It's about seeing the value presented by hard times, rather than writing them off. Page 234 in the book says, "Salmon teaches you to see every bend in the river as a new adventure, with a lesson you need to learn in order to grow. That knowledge becomes authentic wisdom through applying these truths to your life." Inhale, exhale. Yes, that is beautiful advice that addresses the energy of the 4 of Pentacles with deep acuity. Risk-taking brings challenges but also the beauty of connection and even at times of affirmation. Each of these has worth, and offers a lesson I can integrate and grow from.

Visit First Earth Tarot's website!


  1. What a beautiful reading. I can sympathize with you about the four of pentacles part. This is for me too an ongoing learning process
    You have inspired me to get my Mythic tarot out my drawer and to use it more often. It works quite well in a reading

    1. I'm so glad you will work with the Mythic Tarot again! I think if I had to rate my favorite decks of all time (as of this moment) I'd have the place the Mythic as one of the very highest. I love it! Thanks for sharing the reading post, it's a great spread :)