Using the Tarot for Creativity and Empowerment

Back to School Spread

I was thumbing through my Spreads journal and came across a spread that I thought would be appropriate for the beginning of the academic year. It’s called the “Back to School Spread” and was created by Mark McElroy who posted it on Tarot Passages (tarotpassages.com) back in 2004. Since many of our children, nieces or nephews – or even ourselves – are in the process of heading back to school, I thought it would be an interesting way to start out the school year – and perhaps give those of us who are studying Tarot some extra motivation.

Mark states that the purpose of the spread is to:

  • Help you realize your growth as a tarot reader
  • Identify possible areas for further exploration and growth
  • Find the resources you need to seed new growth.

The Layout of the spread is as follows:

 Back to School Spread layout image

  1. Where you began your study of tarot
  2. A recognition of what you’ve learned so far in your tarot studies
  3. A suggested direction for continuing your growth
  4. A resource you could use to foster and support that growth
  5. A benefit of going “Back to School”

I decided to give the spread a try using the Gaian Tarot.

Back to School spread using Gaian Tarot image

Where I began my study of Tarot – 10 of Earth

In this card, there is an elderly man walking down a path in the woods. Behind him are stumps that are full of new growth. This card speaks to me of beginning a journey – and the further down the path I proceed, the more wisdom I gain. It has been a long journey for me and it all begin with little sprouts of ideas and interest – just as new life is sprouting in the stumps in the card.

This card really speaks of growth for me – the growth in wisdom as the man continues down the path as well as the growth of the trees and plants in the card. This is indeed how I began my study of Tarot – a desire for growth, for learning something new. As the plants sprouted in the stump, a new desire for learning the Tarot sprouted into me – and thus I began my long journey.

A recognition of what I’ve learned so far in my tarot studies – The Tree

This card is the equivalent of the Hanged Man in the Waite-Smith tradition. What I have learned so far from my Tarot studies is to look at things from an entirely different perspective – that rather than put my trust in the ego, I have learned to listen to my intuition and instead attune to the world around me. As the person in this card is hanging upside down, so have my studies of the Tarot turned my world upside down on more than one occasion and have expanded me up both intellectually and spiritually.

Like the figure in the card, my study of Tarot has also helped me to calm myself and look within for the answers. I can definitely say that my Tarot studies have played a large part in gaining maturity and taming the ego.

A suggested direction for continuing my growth – Eight of Fire

This is a card of rapid movement and perhaps branching out in many different directions. I have received this message over and over throughout the years and here it is once again. Fire cards are often about the need to take action and that theme is particularly apparent in this card. I recently have been thinking of taking my Tarot studies and Tarot career in different directions and this card seems to affirm this for me. It also lets me know that I am not going to progress unless I get off of my butt and take physical action. Additionally, the Eight of Fire card to me often signifies the Internet and rapid communication so I do think that taking advantage of networking and learning opportunities online can be a help in furthering my growth.

A resource I could use to foster and support that growth – Eight of Earth

This card seems to speak about apprenticeship and learning from others. It can also represent patience and practice – practice and more practice. I have found that with Tarot, no matter how long you have been studying or what level of a reader you are, there is also so much more to learn from others. This idea is something I try to implement into my own practice and I constantly read new books on Tarot, listen to podcasts and attend Tarot seminars/classes whenever possible. That is the most fun part of all of the Tarot journey – there’s just so much to learn! I thus need to be open to working with mentors and continuing to learn from others.

A benefit of going “Back to School”- Ace of Fire

Just as the snake is bursting forth from its egg in this card, so “going back to school” will lead to new energy bursting from within me. I do find that whenever I attend a workshop, a conference or read a stimulating new book on Tarot, I get all excited and charged with energy.

The Aces often have to do with birth, potential – the creation of something new. By continuing our studies, there is always the likelihood of new ideas and new growth. New studies also help us not to get stuck in a rut with our practice or get burned out. So to me, this card tells me that continuing to learn new things about Tarot will keep me energized and excited about the craft I love – and may provide new creative ideas to keep my craft stimulating.

Give the spread a try and see what it tells you about YOUR Tarot journey!

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