Your self-expression tarot spread

I’m so excited to be welcoming the one and only Cathou back to the Little Red Tarot blog! Cathou is a queer fat poet and witch based in Brussels, Belgium (and some of you may remember her *amazing* Fat Tarot series back on the community blog). In this new series, Cathou will be sharing original tarot spreads created to help us explore the intersections of our personal and spiritual lives, and our roles within our wider worlds.

a tarot spread with This Might Hurt Tarot, some vintage swan figurines, box and tiny knives

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, I will offer a collective tarot reading with a different tarot deck. For this first reading on self-expression, I chose The This Might Hurt Tarot. Its contemporary queer interpretation of the classic Waite-Smith Tarot winks at a traditional deck with respect and creativity.

The Spread: Self-expression as an artivist/activist/artist

Exploring where you need a means of expression, what obstacles and tools are presented to you, your position and some softness to help you through it all.

a cat and an "empty" spread

Card positions:

  1. Message: what’s on your heart, in your guts, what’s pulsing, what makes your heart jump, what makes to shiver, what revolts you
  2. Blocking the way: what holds you back, your luggage, what weighs on your shoulder, the pressure imposed upon you
  3. Tools, resources: preferred methods and techniques to carry your message across
  4. Situating yourself: finding and holding space for your anger / your traumas, understanding your privileges, the alliances, questioning yourself and assimilating this process, being accountable
  5. How to be radically soft towards yourself

You may decide beforehand what elements you will explore for each position. Or you can maintain the vagueness of open positions that you’ll interpret intuitively along the reading. To cover several areas, you can also draw more than a single card for positions 3 and 4.

Collective reading with the This Might Hurt 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. Message: 10 of wands Reversed
  2. Blocking the way: 3 of swords
  3. Tools, resources: Ace of swords Rv
  4. Situating yourself: 4 of pentacles Rv
  5. How to be radically soft towards yourself: Queen of swords

ten of wands + Ace of swords cards This might hurt tarot

10 of Wands.
We’re at a difficult stage right now: what we need to express feels heavy and burdensome. We hardly manage to communicate about anything but how we’re overwhelmed, at loss of solutions, stuck in our old ways. We’re left exhausted by the sense of a mission. The weight of all the things added on top of one another has become unbearable. The old ways won’t do, we know it. We can creatively engage to naming everything that went wrong. The task seems huge at first.

3 of Swords.
We must first and foremost access our own wounds. Of course, they are related to the big picture. However, they do require our particular attention before we can tackle the structure. If we acknowledge what screams in agony in our heart, we might even feel a little lighter. Despite our pain, we will lift our shoulders and see the bird on the 10 of wands, the guide behind us, ready to help us fill the gap between our own story, our own trauma, and systemic oppression. They’re heavy because they’re intertwined. Eventually, it’s also the reason why we are not alone. We won’t be on our own with this task.

3 of swords card from This Might Hurt Tarot, a swan figurine

Ace of Swords.
Our tools are our words. Our voices, loud and clear. Thanks to them, we can release all the branches gathered on our backs. The Ace of Swords cuts the chord holding them. It is also the hand that grabs the swords stabbed in the swan’s heart. The hand releases and helps this wounded bird fly away. We have our clear vision, even if it’s currently obscured by clouds. It grows clearer as the little bird on our back soars away through the sky to gain height and perspective. We hold the impulse in our hand. The Ace of Swords is that one word that will gather people around a topic. It is the innovative spark that will make us write and write. It’s what will make us develop tools. Our self-expression is pure and potent when at its fullest. It’s direct. It’s bright. It’s simple. It reaches the skies.

4 of Pentacles.
There are many things we refused to acknowledge. We had to. That’s how we survived. Now, it’s a good time to unload it. It may be that your body is sending you signals that it cannot carry so much or stock up all your anger anymore. It may be that you clench to your money and privileges instead of focusing on how to use them. It’s time to release the control and come clear.

4 of swords of This Might Hurt tarot, bouquet of lavender

The Queen of Swords reassures us.
The truth won’t destroy us. She sees balance between ambitious creative endeavours and healing process. She bridges the gaps. She also knows how to set strong boundaries between our personal stories and the stories we’ll put out there when needed. She helps us handle the sharp, double-edged swords of the Ace and 3 of swords, and she suggests we use tools that are more modest every now and then. It’s not our individual task to save the world. Only to take part to some transformation.

queen of swords of this might hurt tarot, a tiny victorian knife

More about this series

On activism,
and spirituality

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

The festival explored the witch as a political archetype (which is very francophone). I wanted to bring my own spiritual take on the word. As a result, most spreads can be used alternately regarding activism or regarding spirituality. For most of us, those fields are intertwined and fused with creativity and community. There are some specific spreads to help weave the threads between those areas of our lives. Those 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.


  1. silkandink says:

    Thank you for sharing! This was beautiful and encouraging, especially in the times of the current events unfolding. Gentle and revitalising<3

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