It hasn’t been too long since the launch of The Spacious Tarot, a project which used up a lot of creative energy, but it’s been long enough that I find myself sitting with the question…
Someone recently reminded me of a tarot spread I created over four years ago called ‘Unearthing Your Strange Jewels.’ I put this spread together while I was reading the book Big Magic, in which author Elizabeth Gilbert says:
“Look, I don’t know what’s hidden within you. I have no way of knowing such a thing. You yourself may barely know, although I suspect you’ve caught glimpses. I don’t know your capacities, your aspirations, your longings, your secret talents. But surely something wonderful is sheltered inside you.
I say this with all confidence, because I happen to believe we are all walking repositories of buried treasure. I believe this is one of the oldest and most generous tricks the universe plays on us human beings, both for its own amusement and for ours: the universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them.
The hunt to uncover those jewels – that’s creative living. The courage to go on that hunt in the first place – that’s what separates a mundane existence from a more enchanted one.”
Second, when I initially created the spread, I didn’t make a graphic for it and until someone reminded me of it, I’d mostly forgotten it existed. I think it’s quite an interesting spread, and deserves some proper respect, so I’ve created the graphic above!
Last but not least, the aforementioned person who reminded me of this spread’s existence said “I used this when I first started reading tarot and it resulted in one of the most meaningful insights I’ve ever received about my inner landscape.”
That’s some high praise, so I’m revisiting the spread today, and will share my results with you here. And of course, please do try the spread for yourself if it piques your curiosity!
First up I have the Ace of Pentacles, drawing my attention to aspects of my creativity I’m already consciously aware of. This makes sense to me on several levels. Aces can speak to beginnings, and I am quite good at beginnings. I LOVE beginning new creative projects, and in true pentacles fashion, I usually have a strong solid start.
This card also gives me a greater understanding of where I am right now: I definitely sense a lot of potential. There are many things I could do from here, and I’m currently tossing them around much like you might examine a seed before you plant it. I feel a nice affirmation coming from this card, almost like it’s reminding me that it is OKAY to spend time sitting with a seed, contemplating it and examining it before deciding to plant it.
Again, showing me something I’m already aware of: timing is important. Continuing with the seed metaphor, if something is planted too early or too late it will grow poorly. So, I’m called to be intentional not only about what creative work I choose to begin next, but when I choose to begin.
And in a more to-the-point sense, this card shows that I enjoy making things that are tangible, that can be seen, touched, felt. Iiiiiinteresting!
The Ten of Cups reversed hints at ‘strange jewels’ within me that are more obscured, that I am perhaps not as aware of. It stands out to me that this is also the only reversed card in my spread, and reversals sometimes have an ‘obscured’ vibe in general to them. The Ten of Cups can be about sharing joy with others, contributing something to the greater good. I’m having a hard time putting it into words, but here’s what I’m getting from this card:
What is obscured to me is the impact that my creativity has on others. Even when I receive compliments or praise for something that I’ve done, there’s part of me that feels anything I’ve ever created is cringeworthy (in fact, when re-reading the old blog post where I originally shared this spread four years ago, I CRINGED). So my ability to accept praise or to entertain the notion that maybe my creativity could actually make anyone happy…that’s what’s obscured here, perhaps.
Justice kind of ties in to this, and did influence my view on the Ten of Cups when looking at the spread as a whole. Justice represents challenges associated with my creativity. And the first word that pops up for me is IMPACT. I do sometimes have a tendency to get into a nothing matters spiral and overlook the very real IMPACT that my creative output has. Hmmmmmmm.
Another aspect of Justice as a challenge relates back to the Ace of Pentacles, because as I said, I’m good at starting things. But Justice shows that my challenge is with follow through. Because starting something is important, and I’m capable of starting things, but I truly do not have the best track record for actually continuing the things I start. Part of Justice’s message is taking responsibility, honoring what it is you choose to do and thinking of it not as a chore but as a sacred task.
Why is my creativity important? THE MAGICIAN! YESSSS BITCH! Sorry, I’m just really excited to see this card here. The message here is pretty simple. In fact, there’s a quote from Julia Cameron (which I included in the guidebook entry for this card) which says it all: as you are a creation of the universe, you are here to continue the process of creation. BOOM.
The Star continues my streak of three majors in a row, and shows how to express and use my creativity. It’s interesting because I’ve been working my way through Mary K Greer’s classic book ‘Tarot For Yourself’ (side note: HOW had I never worked with this book before, it is amazing!) and in one of the exercises Greer has you go through your deck face-up and choose cards that represent your best abilities, and this is one of the cards I picked.
There’s an openness and a clarity to the Star in this deck. The trees are aligned just so. There are no clouds in the night sky. What this card says to me right now is: you may not know the exact next step, you may get lost in the woods as you move forward from here, but you CAN see the big picture. You know who you are and what matters to you. Don’t get caught up on the minute details of what you create, just focus on expressing something that is true and clear. Then you will always be facing the right direction.
And finally, the Six of Wands gives some more advice on my next step. One of the big themes of this card is confidence, and perhaps it ties back into some of my tendencies to be self-deprecating or to cringe at anything I do. This card reminds me that I’ve already created some pretty cool things and I should be proud of that. And I should tap into the confidence to go on to whatever the next thing is with my head held high instead of trying to hide away. Okay then!
Thank you for indulging me in sharing my own reading, and again, I invite you to try this spread for yourself. Go on, your strange jewels are waiting.