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The Llewellyn Journal

Tarot: The Four Worlds Spread

This article was written by Llewellyn
posted under Tarot

This reading—actually four short readings done as a group—was inspired by the Kabbalist concept of the four worlds, with their four Trees of Life and the connections to the four suits of the Minor Arcana. You can actually do this reading as a ritual, though it is not required.

Here is how to set up the ritual part:
You will need a room with enough space to lay cards out on the floor in four directions and be able to walk easily to each group. Take a deck of Tarot, not the one you plan to use for the reading, and separate the four suits. Now take each suit and set it down on the floor in the following pattern.

 

fourworldsspread1
The numbered cards, of course, form the Tree of Life pattern, while the court cards act as guardians for the energy. Finally, take the twenty-two Major Arcana cards and set them down  in a pile in the center of the room as the source of spiritual being, the element of light. You might want to wrap them in silk, preferably dyed gold or some other radiant color.

Now take the deck you will actually read with and stand in the center (by that set of Majors you have wrapped in silk and put on the floor). Holding the reading deck in your hand, take a moment to center yourself. Breathe deeply. See yourself in the place where all things are possible. Now imagine that your energy is drawn from this place of light to the world of fire, called in Kabbalah Atzilut, or Emanation. Open your eyes and walk to the Wands suit, stopping just at the bottom (so you don’t actually step on the cards). Now shuffle the deck in your hands and draw two cards for the following two questions:

  1. Who am I in the world of fire?
  2. What is my task?

You might want to bring along a small notebook and a pen to write down the cards you receive, because the next step is to return the two cards to the reading deck. Close your eyes once more and imagine your energy returning to that center of light.

Physically return and then face the Cups cards. Once again, see your energy moving, now to the world of water, called Beriah, Creation. Walk to the Cups and ask:

  1. Who am I in the world of water?
  2. What is my task?

Repeat this process for Swords (the world of air, or Yetsirah/Formation) and finally Pentacles (the world of earth, or Assiyah/Action). At the end of the reading, return to the center and pick up the Major Arcana, then “travel” to each suit and pick up the cards.

From Rachel Pollack's Tarot Wisdom, by Rachel Pollack


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