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Burden into Blessings Spread

This post was written by Barbara Moore
on May 4, 2010 | Comments (10)

Dr. Elinor Greenberg is a psychotherapist and tarot reader and she was one of the Master Teachers at this year’s Readers Studio. During our time with Dr. Greenberg, we learned techniques that help us turn “Straw into Gold” or “Burdens into Blessings.” That is, she gave us useful tools to deal with [cue sinister music] “The Bad Cards.” Now, the idea of bad cards varies from reader to reader and person to person. What might be a bad card to you—say, The Hierophant—may very well be an excellent card for me. Or it can vary by situation. There may be a time when you want the 10 of Pentacles with all your heart. At other times, that might feel boring and stagnant.

Regardless of what your “bad” card is, it is great to have a way to deal with it, particularly if a perceived “bad card” shows up in the outcome position. If that is the case, you can use either (or both) of the techniques Elinor taught. Today I’ll share the first one, the Burden into Blessings Spread. Next time I’ll tell you about her “Be the Card” technique, which I found particularly illuminating as well as practical; I can really see how that will fit into my reading practice.

The first step is to select the “bad card.” If, for example, you’ve done a reading and don’t like the “outcome” card, you can take that card and use it in this spread. Or you can select any card that you consider bad, difficult, or challenging. That card goes in position 1.


  1. The Bad Card
  2. What am I meant to learn from this situation (Blessing 1)
  3. What is the best use I can make of this situation (Blessing 2)
  4. What is the test that I am being given (Blessing 3)
  5. What good thing can come from this situation (Blessing 4)
  6. What is a good thing to do to maximinze the potential of this situation for me?
  7. What should I do or what old of dealing with life do I need to leave behind now?

Let me know if you try this and how it works for you. As for me, by the time my partner and I finished, I was in tears…clearly I was not ready to deal with my bad card. Anyone want to guess what it was? Hint: it is one of my Birth Cards.

Reader Comments

Written By Joanne
on May 4th, 2010 @ 11:50 am

I am going to try this right now. I have had the same stupid card two days in a row telling me what I already know. 😉 You know how those things just slap you in the face with reality, right?

Written By Barbara Moore
on May 4th, 2010 @ 2:44 pm

Let me know how it worked out!

Written By Joanne
on May 4th, 2010 @ 2:51 pm

I sent my response to you in a message in Facebook.

Written By Barbara Moore
on May 4th, 2010 @ 8:35 pm

got it!

Written By Anna
on May 5th, 2010 @ 1:31 pm

Hello Barbara.

I just finished giving a try to the Burden into blessing spread.

The 9 of Swords has been a regular presence in my daily readings, and I wasn’t quite sure why.

Well, I found it a very powerful and direct spread. It hasn’t made me cry yet, but I am still digesting the message.

Thank you for sharing it with us, but I feel it should come with a warning, something like….”Courage required. Ready or not here it comes.”


Written By Gerrie
on May 5th, 2010 @ 5:40 pm

From my experience I feel there are no bad cards. If you use the card to address a current underlying problem it may help. I usually draw a few more cards if I do not like the cards I am dealt. It helps me get more advice from the reading and usually encourages me on ward in life.
Was there a actual spread post, do not see one?
Thank you,

Written By Barbara Moore
on May 6th, 2010 @ 7:13 am

Yes, Gerrie, there should be an image of a spread and the meanings of each position.

Did anyone else not see it? Let me know (I can see it, so not sure what’s up).

Written By Brandie
on May 6th, 2010 @ 10:50 am

Im new to this site, and stumbled on it quite by accident, but i am a reader of the cards, and i find this reading very interesting and im deffinately going to give it a try, and maybe use it for some of my querents readings as well. thank you for the insight.

Thank you;



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