1 - The Situation/Issue 3 - Energy Needed 2 - Desired Outcome
I have often used this layout both for tarot readings and for spell work; it is called a 'bridge' layout, because the card in the middle serves as the bridge to get you from where you are (1) to where you want to be (2).
I decided that what I'd like right now is 'motivation to return to exercise and healthy eating.' We then went through our cards selecting what card best represents our situation/issue. I settled on 8 of Swords, because I reasoned that it is my thoughts/attitude that keeps me trapped in this situation, and that I could certainly get myself out of it -- if I could break free of my self-imposed bindings. (I didn't yet realise what those were, but I was soon to find out!)
For desired outcome, I tried drawing for it, but I got a series of discouraging cards that to me were telling me now is not the right time to work a spell on this topic: Hanged Man, 10 of Wands, Death, Emperor. I gave up on drawing and just went through the deck and selected 7 of Pentacles, with the rationale that a good outcome would be the patience to keep going with a program that is progressive. For the middle card, energy needed, I couldn't select a card. If I knew what energy I needed to succeed, I guess I wouldn't need to resort to magic or tarot to solve this problem! So I decided to draw for it.
I shuffled the cards and fanned them out face down, closed my eyes and moved my hand above them slowly, feeling for that small tug of energy that would lead me to the right card. I drew Ace of Wands and laid it in the middle.
Ace of Wands! Oh! I don't need to 'return' to any program, I realised. I need something completely fresh. This clarified the 8 of Swords to me. I am trapped in thinking that what worked for me before is appropriate now. And believing that, I have become disappointed and discouraged with myself that I can't do the workouts that I did ten years ago, and that I have no interest in the kind of eating program I was on ten years ago. The Ace of Wands told me that I don't need to redo what I did before -- in fact, doing that is the exact opposite of what I should be doing. This also clarified all those odd 'desired outcome' cards. If I tried to do what I did before, the outcome would be unsuccessful, a burden, etc.
This of course meant that 7 of Pentacles no longer made sense in my spell. So I decided to draw for it. I repeated my process for drawing a card and drew -- 3 of Wands. This reinforced my belief that the cards were telling me to open myself to new ways of thinking and new ways of eating and new types of exercise. I must let go of the past and look to the future, see what's out there, see what is right for me NOW, rather than trying to repeat what I did before. This might sound obvious, but I actually never thought of it. I had just been telling myself, 'I know how to do this. I've done it before. I just need to do it again. Why can't I do it again?' And I was trapped in this circle, have been trapped here, for quite some time. So I did need the cards to wake me up to the possibility that there is more than one way to do this!
We were then asked to make a few notes on a ritual and to start a to-do list of practical actions to take in support of our spell. We ran out of time fast! But I came to some illuminating conclusions as a result of this simple exercise. My notes from the workshop:
I've been ruminating about this draw and this spell all week. I'm still pondering my approach to the spell, but my altar is now set up, and I am feeling ready this weekend to continue working on my practical actions list and to take the spell forward.
Today, I thought it would be interesting to draw from the Devas of Creation about this spell. As I shuffled, this card lept from the pack and landed face down on the floor:
I have a to-do list that begins with clearing away the old to make way for new discoveries. That is why I am not creating a dream board before I start this working. The dream board will be created as I discover each new technique and idea to incorporate into my new program of movement and nutrition. But I do have a central image now -- I will start to collect pictures of rainbows.
(ETA: I just found this old post about this very topic -- from two years ago! Examining Influences.)
(ETA again: Thursday 16 July is the New Moon, and a Blue Moon. The New Moon is in Cancer, and its associated is Chariot and Queen of Cups -- so an auspicious time for a spell about new starts, I should think!)