Last-Minute Holiday Gift DIY: Tarot Readings

Posted by – December 23, 2016
Categories: Metaphysics & Unexplained Phenomena

With the new year on the horizon, it’s always exciting to think of what lies ahead. One of my favorite ways to take a peak at what the future might hold—as well as look through a different perspective into the past and present—is by using tarot. My first deck (the Aquarian Tarot, picuted above) was given to me for Christmas about five years ago. Since then, I’ve come back to these cards, as well as my growing collection of others, whenever I’m at a crossroads or would like a deeper understanding of what’s at play in my life.

While some spreads are meant to answer inquiries, there are others that provide readers with a more general overview. In looking at the year ahead, these types of spreads work perfectly. For this reason, I’ve selected two spreads from Benebell Wen’s Holistic Tarot that can do just that.

For those of you with tarot decks at home, doing one of these readings for a friend would make a great gift—timely with the new year ahead, personalized, and easy on the wallet as well as the environment. And while it’s not exactly DIY, for those of you that don’t have a deck or aren’t yet comfortable giving readings, you might also consider sending your metaphysically-inclined friends a NAB gift certificate (which they’ll get right away) so that they can explore all of the spreads in Benebell’s book, or any of our other ebooks or audiobooks!


The Pneuma Crossing

Eleven Card Spread

The Pneuma Crossing is a spread I have been using with great frequency, as I have found it impressively versatile and insightful. Its revelations have resonated with every Seeker for whom I have used it. I call it the Pneuma Crossing because the spread provides a glimpse into the intersection where past, present, probable future, universal qi, personal qi, and the Seeker’s personality all come together for one holistic collage. Understanding the synthesis created by that intersection empowers the Seeker to advance forward positively, to connect to his or her own soul, and to better understand the spirit self. The spread captures and concisely expresses the breath of a Seeker’s life.

The spread itself relies on the number 11 for its efficacy. The number 11 is considered the most spiritually intuitive number and vibrates with the wavelengths of spiritual awakening and inner wisdom. For instance, 11:11 is considered the numerical vibration that can open a gateway between the conscious physical world and the unconscious spiritual world. It is the number most closely associated with the metaphysical realm, of light workers (from any faith) and guardian spirits. Eleven is the number of super-intelligence and higher ideals.

A signifier card is optional. If used, set it down first and place Card 1 to its immediate right. If the practitioner does not include signifiers in his or her approach, then proceed straight to Card 1. Lay the cards into the following spread, in the following order:


Cards 1, 2, 3, and 6 form a linear chronology of the Seeker’s life, a timeline: Card 1 represents the far removed past, providing context for the Seeker’s present trajectory; Card 2 represents the recent past, or what has already come to pass and is still having an impact on the present and probable future; Card 3 is the present; and Card 6 is the most probable outcome for the Seeker’s situation, based on current variables (which, of course, are always subject to change).

Card 4 above represents known issues and what occupies the Seeker’s consciousness. Card 5 below represents latent issues and what occupies the Seeker’s unconscious, what needs to be raised to the surface, or what the Seeker must confront and reconcile with in order to progress.

Cards 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11 represent the five components of circumstance in their respective order: force majeure, karma, disposition, education, and action. These five components provide in-depth insight and analysis into overriding superior forces that profoundly affect the Seeker’s life trajectory (i.e., force majeure); the chain of cause and effect that represents the Seeker’s narrative cycle (i.e., karma); the Seeker’s fundamental character (i.e., disposition); the Seeker’s body of knowledge and experiences (i.e., education); and the Seeker’s expressions by conduct and words that most often determine the Seeker’s success or failure (i.e., action). For more about the five components, see Chapter 18.


Zodiac Spread

Twelve Card Spread

The following spread is a simple twelve-card spread based loosely on the tropical zodiac used in Hellenistic astrology. To be clear, this zodiac spread is not a true horoscope method.8 For the purpose of this spread, the basic astrological interpretation of the twelve houses in astrology are used.

Why astrology and tarot? The designers of the first Rider-Waite-Smith–based decks were strongly influenced by astrology, as evidenced by the rich and recurring use of astrological symbolism in the early esoteric decks. Although the two practices, tarot and astrology, are distinct studies and separate from each other, understanding of one will enrich the practice of the other, especially when reading with the Rider-Waite-Smith system.


The simple twelve-card zodiac spread is an easy introduction to astrological spreads. It is best applied to general readings, to acquire a general snapshot or profile of the Seeker’s life at the moment. For those familiar with astrology, the twelve-card zodiac spread can be likened to a natal chart reading.

The twelve-card zodiac spread is not the most space-efficient spread, so be sure to prepare enough room for the above-illustrated layout. Start by placing the signifier card down at the center. Move left of the signifier card and place down Card 1. Card 1 reveals the Seeker’s prevailing personality trait, attitude, or outlook. This is the card about the Seeker’s disposition, Self, and identity. Card 2 reveals the Seeker’s material situation and delves into the Seeker’s financial concerns, wealth, resources, acquisitions, or fiscal approach. Card 3 reveals the mental development of the Seeker, communication style, mental development, and at times can even reveal matters from childhood. Card 4 addresses the Seeker’s inner domestic sphere, home and family matters. Card 5 is about happiness, the Seeker’s pursuit of happiness and philosophy about what happiness is. It reveals what makes the Seeker happy, or what will bring contentment to the Seeker. It can also indicate progeny, creative projections, any matters relating to creation, recreation, or procreation.

Card 6 is about day-to-day work, the Seeker’s occupation (though to be distinguished from the Seeker’s career trajectory or highest professional potential, which is indicated in Card 10). It reveals the circumstances of the Seeker’s daily work and can also touch on health issues. Card 7 reveals those who balance the Seeker—allies or particular forces and energies. It is often seen as the marriage and relationships card, whom we choose to commit ourselves to. Card 8 is the passion and sex card. It reveals the Seeker’s sexuality. It also indicates issues of power and risk, changes, crises, and transformations. Card 9 suggests the philosophy, spirituality, or the general outlook that the Seeker needs to adopt to ensure success. It could indicate matters relating to higher education or travel abroad. Card 10 reveals self-esteem matters and the Seeker’s ambitions and social status. While Card 6 referred to the Seeker’s present job and day-to-day occupational tasks, Card 10 is about the bigger picture, the greater career trajectory that the Seeker is capable of. Card 11 reveals the Seeker’s hopes and aspirations. It can also indicate matters relating to the Seeker’s relationship to his or her community, or friendships. Finally, Card 12 reveals the latent energies or forces in the Seeker’s unconscious that he or she needs to allow to surface to the conscious if success is to be had. This card can also represent the Seeker’s latent powers or potential. Thus, in that sense, it also reveals challenges and obstacles that the Seeker must overcome to achieve success and contentment. Issues relating to loss and hardship that the Seeker must confront would likely be found here in Card 12.

Tags: Benebell Wen Tarot & Divination DIY

About the Author

Marina is the Marketing & Digital Programs Coordinator at North Atlantic Books. After living in New Orleans and Amsterdam, and exploring a couple of continents, she returned to the San Francisco Bay Area to work at NAB. She's passionate about astrology, nonfiction books, and sustainable living, as well as all things metaphysical.