Garden Spread – 4/11/2021

I really thought my next post would be an introduction to the tarot history series I'm...never going to be finished researching. So in an effort to keep this blog alive, I decided to post a spread I've been using lately. The red-string spiral madness of tarot history will keep.

I started this spread last summer. It had been an idea in the back of my mind for a while, to do a spread recognizing the intertwined relationship between growth and decay, to think about all the ways we grow and rot and feed our own growth. My first attempt to create a spread around this idea was unwieldy, to say the least. No matter how I arranged it, it never seemed to fit between two people, never sat on any surface very easily.

This version came about during a class I took on creating your own tarot spreads. A timed exercise proved to be what I needed to "cut back" to the essential parts the spread actually needed in order to communicate the kind of message I wanted to send. I've had a chance to fine-tune it, and here is the result!




  1. The Sun: What we set as our highest goal and recognize as our most essential need. The sun is fundamentally necessary to all life on earth. It's what we need in order to grow, to get started. And ultimately, it's what we reach toward.

  2. The Seed: What we plant and seek to support. When you plant a seed, you enter into a contract. You do what you must to nourish it, provide the sunlight, water, and dirt. And in return, Nature more or less takes care of itself.

  3. The Mulch: What has decayed and now sustains us. You can read this as a fancy way of saying "past influences", but it isn't just about "the past". Our experiences shape us - every part of us. But it's hard to know, at times, what to release, and when. What do you find yourself still clinging to? Add it to the compost; it will serve a better purpose there than between your aching fingers.

  4. The Roots: What grounds us, and what holds us in place. The root is a plant's foundation, built beyond our sight below the surface of the dirt that houses it. The root reaches deeper, and wider, and the longer we fail to attend to our needs the harder it is to move to a new spot that may be healthier for us in the long run. What serves as your foundation? Is it something you can truly stand on? Are we truly flourishing, where we put down our roots in the past? What has to happen, all unseen, for you to then grow toward your highest goal?

  5. The Sprout: Our first sign of success, and the first obstacle we must overcome. Protection can become a prison once we feel ourselves begin to outgrow it. What must you do to break free of the seed casing that holds you? What must break open inside you for you to reach your highest goal? That first hint of green poking above the soil can be so thrilling. A sign our diligence and in some ways, faith has paid off - we did it right!

I like time lapse footage of seeds. I like to think about the tremendous energy and strength it must take for that first hint of green to finally break free of the seed that housed it and start stretching toward the sun. It's the first hint you see that the water and sunlight and dirt you've provided to support this growth are in the right place. As fragile as a seedling is in the physical world, it gives us a truly excellent metaphor to work with.

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