I originally designed this spread with some of my amazing artist friends in mind. Not only are these people talented as hell, they also inspire some seriously thought-provoking conversations about the artistic process and the purpose of art. After trying this out on a few willing guinea pigs (this post consists of a couple of those readings), I realized that this spread could be used for so much more than just writing/painting/etc. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines art as “something that is created with imagination and skill and that is beautiful or that expresses important ideas or feelings.” I’ve used this spread for cooking and tarot reading, and I can’t wait to see what else I can do with it. Where do you focus your artistic energy?
For Z Gervais: writer (working on a novel)
1.) What You Put into Your Art: Wheel of Fortune Rx
The Wheel of Fortune calls to mind karmic cycles, the perpetual movement of time, the ups and downs of life, and the levels of skill and/or knowledge that must be mastered before the next level can be tackled. With the reversal of this card, I’m seeing a very introspective bent to your work. It’s personal, yes, but it’s about your personal take on events, people, and ideas rather than about inherently personal issues. Your work is like a snapshot of a single moment in time, taken out of the larger timeline. You use writing to focus your vision so that you can closely study the elements that intrigue you, the moments that call to you for greater depth of understanding. You are contemplating the consequences of actions, the many forks in the road that lead in one direction or another. You’re seeking to understand the underlying WHYs of life through your work.
2.) What Your Art Says About How You See the World: Ace of Pentacles Rx
The practicality and materiality of the suit of Pentacles is distilled down to its most essential in the Ace. The reversal shows more of the introspective energy seen in the previous card. With the garden at the top of the card in the reversed view, how things are made/what purpose they serve is of more importance to you than the simple fact of ownership. There’s a sense that the material world is a bit suspect for you, that you feel that one must work for what one gets, and that what one possesses should be contemplated: Why do I want the thing? What is the greatest good that can come of having/using the thing? The right hand bears the Pentacle, indicating right brain functions: creativity, intuition, music, art, holistic thought. There’s very much a sense of appreciation of the journey, rather than the destination.
3.) What Inspires Your Best Work: Ace of Swords
Here we see more of the distillation of energy in another Ace, this time in the suit of Swords: logic, analysis, inspiration, and the planning that brings inspiration out of thought and into form. Your best work is based in Big Ideas, high ideals, and Truth with a capital T. This makes perfect sense when we consider the previous cards: what you seek to understand is the big picture, and you seek to understand it by breaking it down into smaller parts to be studied and turned over and studied again. The double-edged sword indicates a need to see and understand contrasting ideas. It’s not a matter of finding balance between these ideas, but of simply giving every side a fair period of contemplation. You do your best work after taking the time to sit with an idea, to feel that you have learned everything you can from all sides, and then cutting the chaff from the grain.
4.) What Your Art Inspires in Others: Page of Swords
The Pages are the novices, the students, the apprentices of their respective suits. They are just coming into the knowledge of their suit’s energy; they are learning to recognize, appreciate, respect, and wield that energy. How beautiful that what inspires your best work (pure Sword energy) inspires others to seek and learn that same energy! With the figure on this card looking left (indicating the past), we see that they are inspired to think about their actions and motivations up to this point. With their hair blowing toward the right (the future), we can see that contemplation of their past carries this analysis into the future. Your art inspires others to contemplate their own words and thought processes for understanding of their past, in order to make the same processes easier and more comfortable when applying it to their present and future.
5.) Message from Muse: Ace of Cups Rx
The energy of the Cups is emotional, and the reversal indicates more of the internalized energy seen throughout this reading. The interesting thing about this particular Ace, is that it is always internalized, but also flows outward, whether upright or reversed. The streams of water pouring from the cup flow into the pool: what you give emotionally feeds the emotional wellbeing of the collective. The droplets around the cup appear as slash-back from the pool, indicating that what you give to others comes back to you in small, refined pieces. This is the magic cup that never empties; the more you give, the more your own cup is replenished. It is the right hand that holds the cup, but it’s at a very awkward angle. This card is indicating the necessity to examine feelings and where they come from, particularly when the feelings are difficult or awkward to put into words. Your analytical mind (indicated by the Swords) is at your disposal for this process, and your practicality (indicated by the Pentacle energy) will ensure that what you discover will be applicable to your everyday work, as well as being fulfilling on a purely emotional level.
For Dolan Cyr: visual artist
1.) What You Put into Your Art: 5 of Cups Rx
The upright view of this card shows a figure looking at three overturned cups, standing with their back toward two upright cups. The focus is on what is missing (the cups indicate that in this case, it’s an emotional energy), rather than what the figure still has. The reversal signals an understanding that what is given, what is lost or spent, is not all there is at one’s disposal. There is an optimism to this reversal. Obstacles are impermanent, setbacks are simply opportunities to review and learn from an experience. You put a great deal of emotion into your art, and this can feel draining at times. But you never lose your sense of abundance; you are cognizant of the fact that there is always more of what you give to draw upon, even when you cannot see or feel it directly.
2.) What Your Art Says About How You See the World: Knight of Wands
The Knights symbolize an active, outward cast to the energy of their respective suits; in this case Wands: passion, intuition, inspiration. The figure’s visor is raised, showing a willingness to see things clearly as they are, with an unobstructed view, and to brave whatever may be discovered, knowing that it is the complete truth. The prominence and vitality of the horse indicate that you allow your instincts to lead you, rather than relying on step-by-step plans or a solid knowledge of what lies ahead. Your passion for your work is evident, and it is just an example of how you bring your enthusiasm to everything you do. You seek to learn through experience, to see the totality of life by living it fully.
3.) What Inspires Your Best Work: 4 of Wands
This is one of the “stage set cards” of the Tarot: there is a clear division between the background and foreground, and a feeling of moving into the card, into the energy that it represents. As you step through the four wands supporting a banner of greenery, flowers, and fruit (indicating organic growth and fruition resulting from past labor), you move toward the castle and the figures in the background (representing community, family, and other social connections). The two figures toward the foreground seem to beckon you into the celebration. Your work is inspired by the enthusiasm and support of the important people in your life. Through spreading your own enthusiasm into multiple directions (various projects of your own, the work of others, the community as a whole), you ensure that there are many sources from which to gain nurturance. And your enthusiasm is a nurturance for others. There is a sense of reciprocal play and celebration between you and those you work closely with.
4.) What Your Art Inspires in Others: 3 of Wands
This card shows a figure with both feet planted firmly on the ground, surrounded by wands that have been driven into the earth (indicating solidity and stability) looking out at the greater world from the edge of a clifftop (indicating the very edge of what can be attained on one’s own). There’s a sense of the broadening of horizons, of new ideas and experiences, and anticipation of the unknown that lies ahead. If one is representative of individuality, and two is representative of collaboration, three is the result of that collaboration: a balance between separate energies, created by combining those energies to create something that is both entirely its own and also a perfect balance between the two original energies. This ties in with the previous card very nicely. Your art is inspiration for others. Those others then create things that inspire you. The back-and-forth goes on and on, spiraling outward, reaching further and further, with no end to the growth. This is unending expansion.
5.) Message from Muse: 9 of Cups
Sometimes referred to as the “wish card,” the energy represented here is about the fruition of your labors, the happy results that seem to simply fall into your lap when you are following your heart. The nines in Tarot are about the near completion of a phase or project. There is still polishing to do, edges to smooth, final touches to be put into place. The joy of this card is evident, and it shows that you are at your happiest when a project is nearing completion. You find great satisfaction in the work itself, and you have little interest in the accolades that follow a completed project (indicated here by the fact that the figure has their back to the cups on display behind them). The crossed arms of the figure signify keeping your unfinished work close to your heart, protecting it from outside forces until it is ready to be shared. You have honed your skills, you have perfected your process, you have found a way of doing things that works for you. As you move forward with your work, always trust that the Universe will repay the work you have put in, that following your intuition and your passion will lead to joy and fulfillment.