Spread of the Month: Love Direction
Valentine’s Day – whether you love it, hate it, or feel indifferent to it as a holiday, the ubiquitous references to romantic love tend to bring strong thoughts and feelings about relationships to the surface. We might suddenly raise our expectations of our partners, or scoff at the cultural norms for what is considered “romantic.” If single, we might be extra lonely, or extra appreciative of our freedom. If partnered, we might feel especially grateful for what we have, or notice that we wish some things were different. What did you discover about your feelings regarding love, romance, and intimacy last week? Would you like anything about your relationships to change?
This post-Valentine’s Day spread is meant to take the energy of assessment from that day and channel it into a direction that you’d like to go in. It could mean moving toward the beginning of a new relationship, or ending one. It could mean building a stronger commitment, or exercising more freedom. In a stable, ongoing relationship, it could mean keeping up the great momentum you already have or changing any unhelpful patterns you’ve noticed. It could mean focusing more on self-love, or more on a broader love for humankind and the planet. The choice is all yours in this Love Direction spread!
I have chosen to illustrate the instructions for this spread with some examples, using my (well-worn and much loved!) copy of Noel Arthur Heimpel’s Numinous Tarot. It’s a beautiful deck with a warm, encouraging vibe that embraces diversity in individual gender expression, sexuality, race, ethnicity, body type, age, and ability, as well as many different kinds of relationships.
Preparing the Spread
We’ll start in a way that is somewhat different from a typical tarot spread. I’m borrowing and modifying a technique I’ve seen others use, where they hand-select a card from the deck to set a theme or guiding energy for the spread before shuffling the rest of the cards. For this spread, you will look through your deck and consciously choose two cards: one that represents where you are right now with respect to love and relationships, and one that represents where you would like to be.
In this first example, I’ve chosen the romantic Two of Vials (traditionally the Two of Cups) to represent someone who is very much in love with their partner, possibly in a relatively new relationship. The “goal” card that I selected was the Four of Candles (traditionally the Four of Wands), which is often thought of as depicting a public celebration, such as a marriage or commitment ceremony.
Lay the two cards face up next to each other, but with a good amount of space in between them. Then you will focus on a question about what steps you can take to move from the first card that you chose to the second one. A question for this example might be, “What needs to happen before my partner and I will be ready to celebrate our union publicly?”
Shuffle the cards and draw two, to place in between the cards you selected. Turn them over, and these are the two steps for you to take toward your goal.
Keep in mind that if a Major Arcana card shows up as one of the two steps, it could indicate a major life lesson that needs to be processed or some significant work to be done! Just because there are only two steps in this process, it does not mean that the result you are hoping for will necessarily happen very quickly!
Here are some other examples of cards and questions you might use in different situations:
I am very accomplished and have been satisfied with being single, but there’s someone exciting who has attracted my attention. What can I do to get to know this person better? (Nine of Tomes/Pentacles and Explorer/Knight of Candles/Wands)
My friend group is always bickering lately. How can we bring back the feelings of fun and enjoyment we once shared? (Five of Candles/Wands and Three of Vials/Cups)
I think of myself as a Queen of Cups (in this deck, Creator of Vials) type of person, and I’ve fantasized about being with a Queen of Swords (in this deck, Creator of Bells) type. How can I increase my chances of meeting the person of my dreams? (Creator/Queen of Vials/Cups and Creator/Queen of Bells/Swords)
I feel trapped by my relationship problems. How can I free myself to make choices that lead to love and acceptance? (Eight of Bells/Swords and The Lovers)
I feel like I have so much love to give, but not necessarily in a romantic way. How can I share my abundant love with the world? (The Nurturer/The Empress and The World)
This spread can certainly be adapted for other situations besides love and relationships, and can also work with more or less than two steps in between the starting point and the goal. I hope you’re inspired to play! If you’ve only ever worked with tarot cards by drawing them at random before, I invite you to try seeing what happens when you introduce a hand-selected card or two. Enjoy!