A tarot spread for identifying obstacles

Continuing Cathou’s series of tarot spreads for social and personal transformation.


These personal spreads aim to help you gain insight on your life and your current roles, while considering your position in the world, in the communities and your commitment for social justice.

For each spread regarding Tarot spreads for social and personal transformation, I propose a collective tarot reading with a different tarot deck. For this reading on dealing with obstacles, I chose The Numinous Tarot for its tenderness.


The spread: Identifying obstacles

A spread to help you to acknowledge the obstacles you’re facing and understanding them. Plus, some practical ideas to spark up some change.

Card positions (see photo above)

  1. You, your situation right now (you can pick this card ‘face up’ if you wish – consciously choosing the card)
  2. What’s getting in your way (three cards)
    Read these cards together as one whole, or alternatively, as representing three distinct obstacles.
    Depending on your situation, you might specify some cards position before the reading. For instance, “external obstacles, internalised obstacles, self-sabotage”.
  3. Lessons (1-3 cards, depending on position 2)
    What these hurdles indicate about your situation, how to acknowledge them, how to elude them, how to integrate what they indicate
  4. Three mini-challenges (1-3 cards)
    Practical suggestions for enabling change, possible new pathways, prompts, little changes to implement in your day-to-day life, small tips to try and exit the stalemate
  5. Healing. Some softness to accompany your long-term process

Collective reading with the Numinous Tarot

Collective readings are useful for several reasons. They might help seize some current tensions and opportunities informed by, let’s say, political context, planetary transits in the sky, and so on. Because there is not one single universal way to experience this world, this is also a reason why collective readings are very limited. However, they enable you to see how some decks and specific cards resonate for a specific tarot reader. It gives some life to the decks available on the LRT shop. Take what works with your situation and leave the rest or use it as tarot inspiration.

  1. You, your situation right now: Mystic of vials

You’re the ultimate mystic! Or, rather, you aspire to be. You’re so close to offering a spiritual and healing container to those who need it! You think you have gathered enough experience and knowledge to help others. Have you or are you jumping ahead and avoiding a few necessary steps?

  1. What’s getting in your way: 3 of bells, 2 of tomes reversed, Mystic of candles

Things are not as smooth and set up as you try to convince yourself. You have yet to consider all your options. Listen to what hurts. Listen to your broken heart. If you keep ignoring it, you could take some ill-informed decisions because they’re not mature enough. What keeps you for admitting you’re not on top of your game yet? What do you try to preserve so bad? What’s threatening your balance?

The Mystic of wands especially seems to get in your way. It’s a part of you that’s as confident and eager to help, just like the Mystic of vials, though more focused on action and creation than pure spirituality. You may not be aware of this yet, but this can fuel your doubt and inner conflict. Have you accomplished all that matters as a Mystic of Wands? Should you invest energy on community-organizing rather than spiritual counselling for now?

  1. Lessons: Explorer of tomes

It’s okay to have more to explore before leaping. Facing all those conflicting energies – ranging from confused thoughts and unresolved heartbreaks to other aspirations that are not compatible with your Mystic of vials for now – requires some grounding. How can groundedness benefit to your inner Mystic of vials? This might be an invitation to spend more time learning, reading, arranging your home or your future workspace. Or maybe catch up on the boring paperwork and planning activities? All things practical will help. They will ground you as you cry the tears. They will prevent your water from spilling and your fire from burning you up. It’s a slow process. Slowness is not a bad thing. Whilst the 2 of tomes was very unstable, unable to decide and focus, the Explorer of tomes brings you stability, one practical thing at a time. Maybe their lesson can help you switch the 2 of tomes from reversed to upwards.

  1. Three mini-challenges

Explorer of bells: for a couple of months, commit to daily (or weekly) journaling on your motivations to embody the Mystic of vials. Uncover the complexity of your calling. Understand when glory attracts you more than being of service. Find out when you aspire to be the Mystic of vials mostly because it would be a seductive vision of yourself to see in the mirror, a gratifying role. Cut into your vision, make a collage out of what you need and recycle the rest of it for other purposes.

4 of bells: when your ambitions drive you in so many directions that you feel restless, when you feel conflicted or when you force your focus to the point of exhaustion, you could try to take a nap. Or cultivate a meditation or tea practice. Or allow yourself to get longer night sleep whenever it’s possible. You could also schedule a nap or meditation every day or week after your journaling rituals. It doesn’t need to be so literal though: whatever way to integrate slowness and rest in your daily life matters. Rest is a precious ally to help you through it.

The Magician: instead of dreaming the big thing, consider acting, moving with baby steps. Take the everyday action that turns you into a Mystic of vials, not just the idea of it. Examine your motives as you accomplish them. When are you more attracted to the idea of fame and power than helping people? If you want to be a Mystic, you’ll need to act with accountability and ethics. How does it deploy in your practice?

5.  Healing. Some softness to accompany your long-term process: Mystic of tomes

No rush, darling, no rush. The Mystic of tomes works towards stability. They act with maturity, they let plans mature. Let them inspire you to apply their techniques to your recipe. They help you see all your dreams and decisions as part of a more solid and sustainable process. You can rely on their knowledge to perfect your vision and shape it in the future. Try to connect to their patience and practical abilities. They are the foundations for the spiritual container you aspire to build. And they live within you too!


More about this series

On activism,
creativity
and spirituality

I created these tarot spreads for a festival on “witches and activism”. You can adapt them to your situation. You are more than welcome to use them to help others. That’s the point of tarot for social change!

Explore the series here.

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