Habit Hacker Spread

I have my fair share of bad habits. Some are harmless enough, but some become disruptive and maladaptive. I was talking to a friend about this recently and it occurred to me that tarot would be the perfect tool to examine this issue.

I don’t believe that bad habits exist in a vacuum. They develop out of a need or desire that isn’t getting addressed. They serve a purpose, even if they aren’t the healthiest way of achieving that purpose. With this in mind, the following spread spends a majority of its time looking at those underlying needs, dredging the subconscious motivations to the surface so they can be managed consciously.

Results with this spread will likely vary widely depending on the type of the habit you’re exploring, how severe it is, and what the root is. This spread won’t “cure” you of your bad habit, but it can provide a road map to point you in the right direction to understanding it and eventually having more ability to deal with these habit impulses in a healthy way. Root causes related to trauma may be best handled with the help of a mental health professional. While this spread is informed by my experiences of being in therapy, I am not a behavioral therapist. As always, proceed with mindfulness and self-awareness.

Card #1 – Present Situation: This card is meant to serve as a jumping off point. It will give you information about how things currently are in relation to the habit you are looking at. It can point out how this habit is intruding on your day to day functionality or it might suggest where your current state of mind is at the moment.

Card #2 – Root of Habit: This card will give you ideas about where the habit originated. It may point to an inciting event or a person who was a catalyst or enabler. It might address a general atmosphere where the habit was able to develop and flourish.

Card #3 – The Need This Habit is Filling: This will likely be closely related to card #2 and focuses on the specific purpose that your habit is fulfilling. This may be a deep buried need that will take time to uncover, so don’t rush through this card, even if you think it’s obvious. Take some time here to really own and validate your need. Often, buried needs have shame attached, so don’t be surprised if that feeling comes up. Hold yourself with compassion.

Bonus Exercise: If you feel up to it, this card and card #2 could both provide prompts for some really juicy therapeutic journaling.

Card #4 – What Can Replace This Habit: Habits are filling a need, so if you try to abstain from the habit your need won’t be getting met. You deserve to have your needs met, FYI. Feeling the deprivation associated with an unmet need will make it harder to resist the compulsion to participate in the behaviour that you’re trying to gain agency over. Finding something else, something healthier to fill that need, will make it easier to manage the habit you’re trying to address.

Card #5 – What is Enabling This Habit: Now that you understand where your habit came from and what purpose it serves, you can start troubleshooting. This card tells you what things are currently enabling your habit or what things are making it harder to resist the urge to engage in your habit. Knowing these triggers can help you reduce your exposure to them or engage with them more mindfully if you can’t avoid them.

Card #6 – What Will Support You: This card represents an ally in your struggle. It will suggest someone or something that will help you. This could be an accountability partner, a support group, an activity, a ritual, anything that can bolster you while you’re trying to address your current challenge with your habit. Here you will also find information about what will help you disengage from your habit or allow you to derail the impulse to participate in it.

Card #7 – First Step/Short-Term Progress: Breaking a habit or changing a behavior won’t happen overnight, so it’s better to take small steps and look for small victories, especially at the start. This position will give you that first step and that first mile marker for your progress. You could even draw two cards here if you like, one for First Step, one for Short-Term Progress.

Card #8 – Outcome/Long-Term Progress: Outcome/Long-Term progress will show you what the most likely result of working on your habit is. It can also suggest a larger goal that you can focus on once you’re well on your way to addressing the behavior that you want to change. As with Card #7, you could actually pull two cards for this position if you feel like it, one for Long-Term Progress and one for Outcome.

I will add one more thought on this position. Since it can represent quite a long way out, the card that comes up is also the most malleable card in the spread, so if you don’t like what you see there, don’t panic. There is still plenty of time to change the outcome. If you don’t like the card that comes up in this position, I would posit that it still has quite a lot to tell you and I would spend time exploring it. A less than favorable card in this position may also be a call to do a little reverse engineering. You might pull some additional cards and ask “what would cause me to reach this outcome?” or “what could I do to create a more desirable outcome?” Pro tip: You could use this technique for any outcome card in any spread. 😉

I hope you enjoy this spread and if you try it out I would love to hear how you get on.

-Cameron

A Self-Love Tarot Spread

Nine of Bottles - The Collective Tarot

The Nine of Bottle – The Collective Tarot. Shower yourself with love and consideration.

Why is self-love so ding dang difficult? Even being a spiritually mindful person, I fall into the self-criticizing, self-disparaging trap more than I like to admit. I know better. You probably know better too. It’s really hard though, right? The “why” is often complex and convoluted, that is one reason why I find tarot to be such a powerful tool. It helps me to get an objective picture, it helps me to bypass my ego and my conditioning enough to see what is really going on.

I was browsing my computer files today when I came across this spread. I originally designed it for Self-Love September last year, but I realized that for some reason I never posted it on my blog. Anyway, here it is, better late than never. I hope you enjoy and that you find it helpful.

Self Love Tarot Reading Spread

Self Love Tarot Spread

Card #1: Area to Focus On: This card will show you where self-love is most needed in your life right now and will give a focus to the reading. You can think of it as the-heart-of-the-matter.

Card #2: Root: This card is the “why.” It represents the reason that self love is lacking in your focus area. it could be a recent trigger that is causing you to struggle right now, or it could represent the event or conditioning in your more distant past that has made self-love so difficult for you in the present. If you feel that it’s important for you to understand the underlying causes behind your current struggles with self-love, then this is a good card to spend some time digging into.

Cards #3 & #4: Advice: Now that you know what you need to focus on and the underlying cause of your current challenges with self-love, cards #3 and #4 will offer you advice on how to address those challenges. Understanding the “why” is important, but it’s also important to follow-up with some actions if you want to see improvement. These cards will give you guidance to address the present and also to heal the root cause that is making self-love so difficult.

Weekly Planner Spread

Collective Tarot

Looking for a weekly spread? This is one that I designed for myself and really love. I do some variation of this spread most Sunday nights to help me prepare for the upcoming week. I find it quite helpful.

Card #1 – Theme/General Energy of the Week

Card #2 – What I Most Need to Focus on This Week

Card #3 – Challenges That May Come Up This Week

Card #4 – Advice/What Strengths I can Use to Overcome These Challenges

I’ll usually lay the cards out in a pyramid-like shape with Card #1 on top and Cards #2, #3 and #4 as the base. Then I’ll pull some cards off to the side to look at a couple major areas in my life to see if there is anything going on that I should be aware of. For me this usually looks like:

Card #5 – School

Card #6 – Tarot Business

Cards #7 – Social Life

You could easily substitute things like “relationship”, “family”, or “work”, depending on what major aspects of your life you want to keep tabs on that week. Another options is to look at the “spiritual”“emotional”, or creative” energies of your week. Sometimes I’ll even change it up week-to-week depending on what feels like needs extra attention. If a card comes up that indicates a struggle or a conflict in a particular area, I’ll sometimes pull an additional advice card if I feel like I need that.

A reading with The Collective Tarot

Reading with The Collective Tarot

I really enjoy doing this type of reading, it forces me to take time before the week starts to come up with a plan and set some intention. Often I’ll sit down with my tarot journal AND my day planner while doing this reading and take an hour or two to get all organized. It makes me feel more relaxed heading into the week because I feel like I’m on top of everything. Also I love planning and I just so geek out on this type of thing. 🙂

I hope you find the spread helpful.

-Cameron

Mid-Year Check-in Spread

7 of PentaclesWe’re halfway through 2015 as of this posting (give or take a couple days. I actually lost the first 500 words of this post to a computer malfunction earlier in the week. I intended to have it done on the 1st.). This is the perfect time to check-in with all the goals and intentions you set in January. Even if the ball got dropped, catching it now still gives you six months to make things happen before the new year rolls around again. Don’t be discouraged, don’t beat yourself up, just pick up that ball and get back to it.

For myself, I know a lot shifted in the last six months, A LOT, especially in March and April. So for my mid-year check-in I needed to spend some time reevaluating which goals and intentions still resonated with me, because a few no longer did and there is no point in putting the effort into a goal that you genuinely don’t care about anymore.

Of course I turned to tarot to help me see where I needed to focus my efforts, what could be released and what the trajectory for the rest of the year looked like. Here is the spread I used. I hope it helps you as you evaluate your progress and release or recommit to your goals for the remainder of the year.

This is a large spread and it has two major parts, so I broke it down to make it a little easier to work with. The first part of the spread is intended to offer insight and advice to help you move forwards with your goals in the second half of the year. The second part of the spread gives you an overview of where things are headed over the next 6 months.

mid year check in w titles

 #1 – How thing are currently in regards to my goals: This card will show you the current state of your progress towards your goals. Some things to notice is whether there is motion or stagnation, action or rest, or if there seems to be a balance. The idea is to get a picture of where you are energetically and in terms of progress. A card like the Four of Swords could mean you’re giving yourself a break and recuperating your energy before taking anymore steps, whereas a card like the Four of Cups could indicate that resting has turned into ambivalence and needs to be addressed before progress can be made. When I did this spread I got the Eight of Wands in this position. I read this as meaning, I’ve created momentum and things are moving along quickly, but that rapid progress may get too intense, so I need to stay mindful of that possibility and slow things down if I start to get overwhelmed.

#2 – What had stayed the same: This card will highlight the goal and priorities that are still resonating with you. These are things that you want to continue pursuing and are still important. You can also think of this position as “What I want to continue putting my energy and effort towards.”

#3 – What has changed: This card represents the goals and priorities which you may not be feeling so connected to anymore. This position could also be considered “What you need to reevaluate.” Before putting anymore effort or energy into these things you should carefully consider whether they are still important to you and whether they may need to be moved lower on your list of priorities or removed from that list all together.

#4 – Area that most needs my attention: This card will show you what needs to be addressed or dealt with most immediately in order for you to continue progressing and growing. It will often indicate something that you didn’t realize was so important, but really is essential. Similarly it can point you towards an aspect of your life that is getting neglected and needs to be focused on.

 #5 – What is getting in the way of reaching my goals: This is the block or obstacle that is making progress and growth challenging. If the goals and intentions you set at the beginning of the year aren’t coming together like you want, or you aren’t feeling motivated to pursue them anymore, this is most likely the culprit, or one of them (also check card #1 and #3 for clues).

#6 – Advice: This card offers you advice to overcome the obstacles in card #5 and also gives guidance for moving into the second half of the year strong and motivated.

mid year check in projection

This is the second part of the spread and it can be used as either a projection of what the theme will be for each of the last six months of the year, or if you aren’t into predictions/projections it can be used to indicate what you will need to focus on during each month or can be viewed as advice for each of those months.

mid year check in full

The entire spread looks like this when its laid out all at once. Its definitely hefty, but gives you a lot of useful information and its not too bad when you break it down and just focus on one part at a time. I hope you give it a try and let me know what you think.

Tarot read on, dear friends! \m/(>.<)\m/

Short Spread Ramble

I’ve been enjoying pyramid shaped spreads a lot lately. I feel like the shape of the spread in relation to the card positions can be very symbolic.

6 Card Pyramid SpreadThe top-most card literally overlooks the rest of the cards, so naturally lends itself to being an overview of the situation or something relating to higher consciousness.

The bottom row as the base of the spread feels like an obvious choice for cards relating to the root or foundation of the situation.They can also represent practical, grounded actions that can be taken to resolve or navigate the situation.

The middle row, sandwiched between top and bottom, feels like where the experience of the situation happens. It’s in the middle of everything, its literally being touched and effected by all the other cards in the spread, so lends itself to positions involving how the situation is making the querent feel, where confusion or misperception might be happening, and maybe where blocks and obstacles are occurring.

3 card pyramid spreadI also like the three card variation. When I use it I usually go for an overview of the situation with the top card and Obstacle and Advice for the bottom two cards (sometimes Advice and Outcome).

I hope you found this short spread/spread design ramble interesting, maybe even helpful. 🙂 Have a great day.