If you haven’t seen it yet - the Map of the Universe is a subtle and flexible tarot cloth I created to be a companion to the Golden Thread Tarot deck. There’s a lot of thought that I placed into the cloth, and I realized I never really took the time to explain it.
Create Your Own Tarot Spreads Using the Language of Tarot Symbols
The original purpose of this cloth was to give you a little framework to build your own tarot spread, which is why the symbols are there, but without any overt suggestions of where to put your tarot cards. This makes it so that you, as the tarot reader, will know where to place your cards, without ugly boxes making it hard for the cloth to be anything else than a tarot cloth. It also makes it so that you can choose whether to just create a simple 2 card reading, or do a reading that requires the entire cloth, like a yearly overview spread.
This helps the cloth also be something you can carry your deck in, like the old witches of days past, who carried their decks in silk, or be whatever fashion accessory with just some cool patterns.
Our Inspiration: Sacred Tibetan Paintings
The idea of this was based off of the mandala, which is a representation of the universe in pictoral form - a microcosm, if you will - as well as other sacred depictions of the buddha and eastern religious figures. Until you learn to decipher each image, all of this will probably look only like pretty images to you, but each of them has a structure that is common throughout.
- The Center: Main Figure surrounded by Halo
- Top Center Figure: Figure’s Lineage
- The Middle Band of Figures: Entourage
- Bottom Figures: Guardians
If you understand this structure, you’ll get a lot more out of what each image. This is the same concept we’re going to borrow for our little tarot cloth. It’s going to be best explained however, if I give some examples, which will be what the remainder of this post will be about - some spreads you can try out if you’re starting with our cloth!
Shop Golden Thread Tarot
Gold foil on black plastic deck. Compatible with the Labyrinthos Tarot App.
Choices Tarot Spread
This is a great simple spread to use when you’ve found yourself having to make a decision that you’re unsure of.
- What the mother says - place your card on the female figure, meant to represent the people in your life who give guidance of the heart. Think about this as what you would do to make you happy. Sometimes what brings us joy is not always the same as what we are told to do.
- What the father says - place your card on the male figure, meant to represent figures in your life that are give structure, logic, purpose. Another way to think of this is as what you think you should be doing. What has our culture told you to do? To read more about how I use masculine and feminine archetypes, you can read my post on Jungian archetypes and the tarot here.
- What the inner child says - place the card on the center figure, the same image we use in the Golden Thread Tarot Deck as the world. This represents what your gut is telling you to do. Your intuition usually has it all figured out before you consciously realize it. What is it telling you?
Underworld Overworld Tarot Spread
Another super simple one to use to suss out both our desires and obstacles that stand in our path.
- Our brightest desire - place the card on the sun - what is it that we are seeking today? What would make you happy?
- Our fears - place the card on the moon - what lurks beneath that? What unconscious fears do we have here that may lead us to pitfalls?
- Manifestation - with these two factors in place, how are they intermingling create your circumstances?
Year Ahead Tarot Spread
So…the two following spreads are going to be long, and they are using the same positions in the cloth to tell different stories. I think here, you can really see how adaptable this cloth can be.
This spread is meant to give an in-depth overview to what the months ahead will look like. It’s super simple, each card represents a month / cycle.
- January - Capricorn
- February - Aquarius
- March - Pisces
- April - Aries
- May - Taurus
- June - Gemini
- July - Cancer
- August - Leo
- September - Virgo
- October - Libra
- November - Scorpio
- December - Sagittarius
Astrological Tarot Spread
I don’t claim any credit for this spread, as it’s already a well known one that is commonly used for birthdays, and other large life events. It follows the idea that each zodiac symbol rules a house, which rules aspects of our own lives.
I’m personally not great at astrology, so I think there will be people that use this section of the cloth better than I can. But to give an idea of what that would look like…
- Aries - Persona
- Taurus - Creature Comforts
- Gemini - Social Life
- Cancer - Home Life
- Leo - Creativity / Pleasure
- Virgo - Health
- Libra - Love Life
- Scorpio - Transformation
- Sagittarius - Spiritual Life
- Capricorn - Career
- Aquarius - Hopes and Wishes / Greater Community
- Pisces - Secrets
Putting It All Together: Create Your Own Tarot Spreads
Hopefully now you’ll see how easy it is to make some spreads on this cloth with some basic knowledge of the structure and symbolism! You can even go ahead and just mix and match the symbols to build a spread that is unique to you. I’m really curious to see how you all are building spreads! If you’ve got one, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org