Relationships form the major part of our lives. Whether it be with our life partner, our kids or the lady who runs the store down the road, co-operation with our fellow humans is the bedrock on which we have built society.
Of course, relationships don’t always run smoothly, and occasionally we need a detached viewpoint or a gentle nudge to change our behavior to heal a rift. That’s where tarot can stand in for your best friend (who might be a tad biased anyway). Tarot can illuminate the dark corners of a problematic relationship, which needs to be examined, dusted down and dealt with, in order that it becomes a treasure worth cherishing.
Here is a selection of my favorite relationship tarot readings spreads. Most of them are short because I like to get to the point without wading through a whole lot of other detail. If I have a question about a relationship I need the answer – now!
This three-card spread gets right to the point to help you determine the real cause of a problem or disagreement. Lay them out in a straight line, vertically or horizontally.
1. What is really going on here?
2. What can I do to mend the situation?
3. If I follow that advice, what is the likely outcome?
Quick sample reading
This is a made-up situation. My partner and I have had a bitter fight that appeared to come out of the blue. It started with a silly disagreement about when to take down the Christmas tree. I’m using the Gilded Tarot by Ciro Marchetti.
1. What’s really going on here? Five of Wands – looks as though this is a typical spat between couples, rather than anything to worry about. Perhaps the pressures of the pre-festive preparations needed to be released.
2. What can I do to mend the situation? Eight of Wands. I think I have backed myself into a corner as we’re not speaking right now. Somehow I have to pick my way out of the argument. I ask myself, do I want to be ‘right’ or ‘happy’. I choose happy and decide to offer my apology.
3 Outcome if I follow the above advice? Three of Cups. Hug and make up, pour a glass of wine and laugh at our silliness. All is well.
This is a good spread to use if you know something is wrong but you can’t quite work it out. It gives a dual point of view and works for relationships of all kinds. There are six cards, laid out in two vertical columns of three.
1. My point of view
2. His point of view
3. How I could change myself?
4. What do I need to accept?
5. Can I be happy with him?
6. Can he be happy with me?
I’ve used this one for clients in the past and it is quite an eye-opener. It enables the seeker to realize that they cannot expect their partner to change and the only behavior they have any influence over is their own.
A useful two-card spread to gain some perspective when you are at your wit’s end with your teenager. It won’t give you all the answers but it just might help you calm things down.
1. What do I need to understand about Billy’s behavior?
2. How should I handle this right now?
This one could be expanded, or alternatively, try using the six-card Viewpoint reading above.
Quick sample reading
This is a real situation. My boy has changed from a bright, outgoing lad to a sullen sixteen. I’m using the Universal Waite, a variation of the Rider-Waite deck, recolored by Mary Hanson-Roberts.
1. What do I need to understand about A.’S attitude? Three of Pentacles – A. Has recently started college, a year earlier than most kids. He has been home-schooled and is, therefore, having to make adjustments and learn to work with others on various projects. This card represents that perfectly. These behavior modifications may be more difficult for him that we, his parents, realise, therefore, we should take an easy-going approach. He may be having problems reconciling college and home ‘modes’.
2. How do I handle this? The Magician. By using the tools at my disposal. I believe strongly in the power of intention so I might ‘script’ a family scenario where everyone is happy and contributing to the whole. This simply means writing and visualizing how I want things to be as if they are in the present. It is non-interventionist and can be done without anyone else knowing. I find this works extremely well on almost anything… why haven’t I considered using it in this situation? I’m on it already.
Should I keep this friendship?
Occasionally we wonder if we are doing the right thing by keeping a friendship going when it feels yucky. It can get out of balance when you feel as you are always the one to provide a shoulder for your friend to cry on, or that she is constantly critical of your decisions or your boyfriend. If it feels one-sided then perhaps you need a short sharp piece of advice to help you make up your mind? Lay the cards out with the first two, one above the other on the left and the third to the right to form a triangle.
1. How do I benefit from our friendship?
2. How does she benefit from our friendship?
3. Is there a satisfactory future in this friendship?
Be honest with yourself when carrying out this reading. You will experience twinges in your solar plexus which can help you. Practice an imaginary scenario where this person is not part of your life. Do you feel relief or loss? Your cards plus your gut will guide you in your decision. If you feel the friendship is too valuable to let go, then do a Viewpoint reading to discover how to improve it.
All these spreads can be adapted and tweaked to your personal situation. Just remember, if you need advice about any difficult relationship, Auntie Tarot is right there and ready to offer her advice.