Tarot Spreads – Relationship analysis

Occasionally I'll post up a Tarot spread that I use when reading for clients or for myself.  I find it useful to have a 'box of tricks' in the form of different spreads to help draw out information in different situations.

Relationship Analysis

Tarot spread - Relationship analysis

Tarot spread - Relationship analysis

If you give Tarot readings professionally, you are going to be asked about relationships. A lot. My first question is "Is this a question about a pre-existing relationship, or relationships generally?" In the former case, I usually start with this spread, which I find is a great way to get a sense of what is happening between two people.

Card positions are as follows:

  1. The querent's fundamental self in the relationship
  2. The way the querent's partner views them
  3. The greatest strength this relationship gives the querent
  4. The greatest weakness this relationship gives the querent
  5. The querent's partner's fundamental self in the relationship
  6. The way the querent views their partner
  7. The greatest strength this relationship gives the querent's partner
  8. The greatest weakness this relationship gives the querent's partner
  9. The most likely strength of the relationship going forward
  10. The most likely weakness of the relationship going forward
  11. The most likely future of the relationship

When designing this spread I thought about what it is that is most important to understand about a relationship – rather than trying to analyse it from a distance I thought it best to understand both what good and bad each person got out of the relationship, but also how they saw each other, how they thought about each other.

One problem we often encounter with relationships is that we aren't necessarily

dealing with the 'real person' in the relationship, but instead we are dealing with the image of that person we are carrying around in our head.  Card 1 gives a sense of the role the querent plays in their relationship (it can be passionate, it can be loving, it can be disinterested, it can be withdrawn, it can be mothering, it can be teaching… a card like Death would indicate that, fundamentally, they had already withdrawn from the relationship). This is what the relationship 'draws out' of them.

Card 2, which covers it, indicates how their partner sees them, or thinks of them.  If these cards are similar it indicates that the partner understands them, and has a good sense of 'where they are at'.  But often I see a card that is radically different to the one beneath it – the querent is loving, but their partner sees them as confrontational; the querent is tired and withdrawn but the querent sees them as angry; the querent is considering leaving, but the partner thinks things are the same as they've ever been.  This immediately shines a light on a potential problem with the relationship – the querent's partner doesn't understand the querent.

Cards 5 and 6 repeat this insight, but for the querent's partner instead – perhaps it's the querent that doesn't understand or is idealising their partner.  Or, more commonly, both of them have got a little confused about what's going on.

Cards 3 and 4 look at the strength and weakness the querent receives from the relationship.  Sometimes this may be something very obvious – a querent feels loved, but they also feel trapped; a querent likes the passion but feels unsettled by the chaos of their partners life; the querent likes the material security but feels under-stimulated.  However, on occasion this is much harder to read – particularly when the 'Strength' card is a very negative one.

What does it mean if the 'Strength' or a relationship for an individual is confrontation and anger, or what if it's destruction?  Then it's a case of knowing your cards and using the whole of the spread to understand.  On occasion it means that the absence of these things is a strength, or the fact that these negative influences are now being dealt with and controlled.  On other occasions its saying something along the lines of "Well, the best thing about this relationship is that it's making you angry enough to change it" or even "Frankly, the fact that you feel trapped is the most positive thing there is to say about this situation.  Think about what the worst thing could be."

Usually a positive card in the Weakness position indicates a lack of that quality being the greatest weakness for the querent (a lack of passion, a lack of love, a lack of a plan for the future).

Again, these cards are reflected for the querent's partner in cards 7 and 8 which should be read in the same way.

Finally, we look at the future in cards 9, 10 and 11.  I will usually interpret these cards together – what's best about the future, what's worst and how would the cards sum thing up overall.  Sometimes this is very obvious – 2 of Cups (Love) in the future position bodes well, Death in the same position says it's pretty much over.  Quite often, however, it will be more ambiguous – a kind of 'well, it'll be okay I guess' card usually indicates 'look carefully at the Strength and Weakness'.  They may say something like "This relationship will carry on, but do realise that you won't ever feel entirely secure in it", or "This is fun to carry on with if you want, but you do understand that this isn't really love, don't you?"

Some clients are frustrated that I won't simply say to them "Dump him/her" or "Marry him/her" but I'm very careful about not giving explicit advice of this kind.  I just do what I can to make sure they understand what the spread is telling them.  More often than not it will be "These are the flaws and weaknesses, these are the things this relationship will not give you, but also these are the things it will.  If you address these issues it will strengthen.  Now, given you know this, what do you want to do about it?"

To focus on a next action, I'll often follow this spread up with a "Do this more/Do this less" spread with a specific focus on this relationship.

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