Spread: Gratitude As A Spiritual Practice

Samurai Tarot 2 Wands
Just the other day, one of my favorite bloggers discussed Gratitude as a spiritual practice. It struck a deep chord in me–one of those that resonates like an astral bell tone from head to toe.

I began to remember my forgotten habit of posting a Thursday gratitude list. Why Thursdays? I can’t remember to be honest. I know it was on LJ (LiveJournal) and I know it was one of those meme’s that everyone was doing. I liked the concept of posting ten things I was grateful for even if only once a week.

Samurai Tarot JudgmentLike so many great things, I let it slip out of my orbit. Then I read JPC’s blog on gratitude. It’s been rattling ’round in the back of my brain for a few days now. I kept coming back to the idea of knowing what I was grateful for but worrying that I might be missing something.

So, you know me, I decided to create a spread that targeted the idea of Gratitude as a spiritual practice. I wanted to acknowledge what I knew as well as locate holes where I was missing things. It’s hard to be grateful in our world. There’s so much to be angry about. The polar bears dying because humans have screwed up their world. The Yellow Eared Conures being threatened with extinction because their rainforest home is being sacrificed on the altar of human consumption. The men and women dying in so many wars for so little reason. It’s hard to focus on gratitude sometimes.

That’s why I developed this spread. Feel free to try it out on yourself and your friends/clients. I’d love for you to let me know how it works for you or what tweaks you might need for it to be that spread you can use.

Star pattern because the star is enlightenment and brilliance. Gratitude as a spiritual practice, to me, should bring brilliance back into your life. It is laid out in a spiraling pattern starting from the bottom left and working inward. These are the gratitudes we need to acknowledge in our lives. The second layer are the gratitudes that we are not seeing. It may be that the other card in this spot (the ones we know) are overshadowing the ones we are not seeing. Use this as a reminder for those things we so often forget.

1 (layer one) — The first card represents something we are grateful for in our home environment.
Samurai Tarot 6 Chalices2 (layer one) — The second card represents something we are grateful for in our work environment.
3 (layer one) — The third card represents something we are grateful for in our mental environment.
4 (layer one) — The fourth card represents something we are grateful for in our emotional environment.
5 (layer one) — The fifth card represents something we are grateful for in our spiritual environment.
6 (layer one) — Add the first five cards together. Distill the number down to a digit that equals 22 or lower. This is your Quintessence card for the gratitudes you know.

Second Layer
7 (layer two) — The seventh card represents something we missed being grateful for in our home environment.
8 (layer two) — The eighth card represents something we missed being grateful for in our work environment.
9 (layer two) — the ninth card represents something we missed being grateful for in our mental environment.
10 (layer one) — The tenth card represents something we missed being grateful for in our emotional environment.
11 (layer one) — The eleventh card represents something we missed being grateful for in our spiritual environment.
12 (layer one) — Add the first five cards together. Distill the number down to a digit that equals 22 or lower. This is your Quintessence card for the gratitudes you missed being grateful for.

13 is the Quintessence of the Quintessence, if you will. Add card 6 and 12 together. This number is the number of the Major Arcana card that represents the overall most important detail. It’s the heart of the matter.

Then I tried it out on myself. I wanted to use my Chinese Tarot deck but couldn’t find it easily. I really do have to get more organized with my cards. grin! So I went to the Samurai Tarot. I got this one as a review deck from one place I do a lot of reviews for. Really love the art work!

1. The two of Wands: A woman gazes into a pond. The moon is over head and there is one lotus blooming in front of her. A menacing figure is behind her. For me this is about my gratitude for the silence I am afforded in my home. I can have an environment without the tv on constantly or music or the mindless chatter of folks at work. I can reflect. (note: I will not go to the LWB for this reading)
2. The Knight of Wands: A man rides a dragon. I am able to work with someone others see as a difficult person. I am learning to ride the dragon while staying aware of the potential dangers he represents.Samurai Tarot Lovers
3. The Five of Pentacles: Two women in a garden sharing a note or poem. Five chrysanthemum blossoms are in this card making me remember that I may be not where I want to be in terms of my location but I still have friends here who support me. This is my reminder to be grateful for who I am near rather than where I am.
4. Temperance falls in the emotional environment. I know this one very well. I am so grateful that I am able to maintain my emotional balance these days. I went through some very very dark times in the past that required medication. I learned the lessons and I still use those tools today to help my brain stay in a temperate environment.
5. 10 of Swords : Oh dear! A samurai is preparing to commit HariKari (ritualized suicide is a simplisitic answer here). What an interesting gratitude for my spiritual position, eh? It does make sense to me because on some levels I feel as if I have erased myself from the spiritual community here in Denver. There were too many battles going on. Too much drama so I removed myself. That doesn’t mean I don’t miss it, but I am grateful to myself for leaving that situation.
6. Add up the first five cards. I have a 2, a 10, a 5 and a 14 (court cards and the fool have no numbers) so my intial number is 31. Because that is over 22, I add the 3 and the 1 arriving at the 4 card which is the Emperor. Here is a samurai not in his armor but his sword is very close by. He is ready to defend if necessary. So the highest piece I take away from my known gratitude is that I am Emperor of my world. As a single woman, I am able to come and go as I please. I set the rule of my world. To me, that’s a pretty fabulous thing. 🙂

On to the second layer. I toyed with the idea of shuffling the cards back into the deck then decided for this first time, I would not do that. It might be intriguing to use a second deck altogether just to see if anything repeated though. If anyone does that, please let me know how it worked for you.

I did not even reshuffle the deck at this point. I did pull the Emperor out though.

7. Queen of Pentacles: A lovely woman in a beautiful kimono uses a fan to express herself. There is an odd shaped cloud above her head that seems to be other people. I wonder if I am not missing out on being grateful for the people that do come into my home environment. That makes sense to me because it is over the card that I saw as solitude. How interesting!
8. King of Cups: A determined man makes his way through a rocky environment. Well just hit me upside the head. I am not grateful for my own ability to navigate the increasingly rocky territory that has become my working environment. DUH
Samurai Tarot Death9. 6 of Cups: Moon bunny! This makes me remember a poem I wrote that invoked a moon rabbit. I’ll post it if I can find it. but this is about my memory I think. I need to be more grateful for what I bring forward from my past. This is a rather personal 2×4 so I’ll leave it at that.
10. Ace of Wands: A fist clutches a staff. Grin, I am not grateful for the the creativity my emotions allow me to have. Yeesh–not sure I like spread. It seems to enjoy this layer too much.
11. Death: A ghost warrior cradles a dead or dying samurai. Wow. I have a connection to the other side that I keep ignoring. I need to be more grateful and acknowledge my ability to communicate with death. And I need to be grateful to the changes that have brought me to the spiritual place I am in.Samurai Tarot Emperor
12. Quintessence of the second layer. 6+1+13=20 is Judgment. A figure stand on a high pillar waiting for another spirit that is rising up through the clouds. Judgment is a difficult card for me but I think I need to be more grateful for my ability to rise above things that seemingly “kill” me or end some part of my life.

13. Add card 6 and card 12 for the overall quintessential meaning of this spread. So I add 20 and 4 which is 24 which boils down to 6. The Lovers resemble the two figures from Judgment. How odd. They are in the same yellow robes. They are flying above the clouds. I need to be grateful for the love in my life.

So I think this spread has some possibilities. It is a bit overwhelming with all the information. I wonder if distilling it down to only three cards in each layer might not work. If I did that, I’d leave out home and work and stick with spiritual, emotional, and mental. I’d still do the three quintessence cards though.

What about you? Too much or just enough?

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Author: TarotByArwen

Arwen is the editor-in-chief and owner of The Cartomancer. This print and digital magazine is devoted to divination. You can learn more here: http://www.thecartomancer.com. Arwen is also the author of The Fairy Tale Lenormand, Secrets of the Mystic Grove, Bianca Niero Tarot and more (all USGamesInc publications.) As the past president of the American Tarot Association (2007-2014), Arwen worked with an actively engaged board to rekindle that organization. Her true calling is as a Professional Joy Seeker. She co-creates with her clients to help them find their joy again. "Seek joy, y'all" is her motto.

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