Giving Thanks: A Tarot Spread of Gratitude by Beth Allen

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This is a beautiful time of year to take stock of our surroundings, notice the seasonal changes, and feel joy in being a part of the greater Mystery. Of course, in the U.S. this is the time we gather to celebrate and share good food, good fortune, and love of family, friends, and community. With this focus on being thankful, what better time to use your tarot cards to explore feelings of gratitude in a deeper way.

Below is a simple spread that hopefully gives you a little different perspective on the subject.

Choose a deck and remove the 10s in each of the four suits. I use a Rider-Waite-Smith system deck for this purpose but please feel free to modify to your deck of choice. In the RWS, the 10s represent the culmination of effort or the end of something. However,even though this trek in The Fool's journey has ended, 10s also represent the beginning or start of a fresh, new journey, as paradoxically 10 is also numerically the number 1.

Lay out each of the 10s in a diamond shape by element and direction: Pentacles/Earth to the North; Swords/Air to the East; Wands/Fire to the South; and Cups/Water to the West. Pick up one card at a time and look at what that card represents to you. Starting with the 10 of Pentacles, think about ways you feel a sense of abundance -- food on your table, a roof over your head, a job that provides you with money. Think about security and what it means to you. Do you feel secure? If not, are you ok with that or would you like to make some changes in order to find more security? And what about your health? Do you feel good about your habits or should you look into changing some things to ensure you're treating your body well and with respect?

Next pick up the 10 of Swords -- a bit trickier, right? Life isn't always a box of kittens and that's what the 10 of Swords reminds us. Sometimes life can be tough, sometimes we are down, we feel betrayed by somebody or something. But be grateful because the 10 marks the end of the cycle and an Ace is right around the corner! You can be grateful that whatever the 10 of Swords represents in this spread to you, it's made you a stronger person.

Next go to the 10 of Wands. Remember the Buddhist philosophy that advises us to look at an obstacle or hardship as a lesson we need to learn and to be grateful to that hardship because it is your teacher? What is this card teaching you? Maybe it's teaching you to delegate responsibility, maybe it's teaching you to look up and see where you're going and ask yourself if perhaps there's a better way to continue on your journey at this juncture. Whatever you take from this card that applies to your life, be grateful because if you're aware, you can learn a valuable lesson and as the Wheel turns and you begin the next steps in your journey you will have this experience to draw from.

Now onto the 10 of Cups. Well this one's easy: be grateful for the love in your life, for the love you give and receive, whether it's family, friends, your dog, cat, or goat -- love is love and yes, it does make the world go 'round. But also don't take the love in your life for granted. Be grateful. The Cups are about compassion and grace -- maybe sitting at the Thanksgiving table this year you can feel compassion for that one relative (or the more than one), instead of letting him/her (or them) get to you.

After going through the four 10 cards and sitting with their messages, shuffle your deck and randomly pull one card for each of the 10s. These will be used to clarify or expand upon the 10s. For example, for the 10 of Swords I randomly pulled the Ace of Cups. What a perfect reminder that whatever tough situation is ending, there is a new beginning that holds the promise of emotional fulfillment and happiness. For the 10 of Pentacles I got the Two of Swords showing me that I may have some choices to make or some negotiations that are work-related and to remain open and willing to analyze options so I don't become trapped in indecision. And so on . . .

Enjoy this contemplative spread -- you may even want to keep the 10s out on your desk, table, or altar throughout November (or beyond) to remind yourself of all you have to be grateful for and all the different ways blessings appear in our lives.

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