A tarot spread for Thanksgiving, Christmas & other family gatherings



I’ve had a whole load of emails in my inbox this past week asking me for a Thanksgiving tarot spread.

You wanted a spread which would help you navigate those tricky times that we all must gather with our families and eat and hang out together. For many of us, [XYZ-family-gathering] is a joyous, fun, or at worst tolerable event. For others, can be painful, oppressive, violent or worse. At these times, we need something to look at the energies around your dinner table and help you deal with whatever is getting you down.

So this one is for Thanksgiving, but also Christmas, Eid and any other holiday, festival, wedding, party or celebration where families get together and you feel like you need a little extra help to get through.

If you’re new to tarot or you’re not familiar with doing full tarot spreads, start with a simple ritual to centre yourself and clear your mind. Light a candle if it helps, say a prayer if that’s your thing, or simply close your eyes, sit comfortably and breathe for a full minute, counting your breaths. No-one can tell you how to approach your tarot cards, but arriving in your body with a calm (ish) heart helps a lot.

Now shuffle your cards, for as long as you like. As you shuffle, think over the last time your family gathered together, and focus your intent on something positive – whether that’s building a better relationship with such-and-such, or getting through Thanksgiving without going nuts, or finding the best way to respond when so-and-so does that thing you find so offensive.

When you’re ready, cut your deck, then lay out your cards in the following positions:

Card positions:

1. You

2 & 3. The *stuff* that surrounds you at family gatherings – this could be people who impact on you, energies which affect you, reactions you feel, or a big messy mixing bowl of all of it.

4. How to respond – this card shows you an energy to channel when you feel those difficult feelings.

5. What not to do – seriously, this ain’t gonna help right now.

6. Hold on to this / your safe place – this is your grounding point, a place, person, thing, internal quality. It can never be touched or taken away by anyone in your family. This is yours alone. Hold onto it for strength.

7. Something to be thankful for – even when times are tough, there is always a reason to have gratitude. Remembering this can be really helpful.

8. If all else fails – make a swift exit and do this instead.

When you’re reading your cards, remember there are no right and wrong answers. The cards mean what they mean to you – whether you’re looking up the meanings in books, thrashing them out with a friend, doing meditation or visualisation or simply gleaning visual clues from the images on the cards. It’s all right and it’s all good.

If you need to, keep a card in your pocket or handbag when you go to dinner. It can really help you to hold fast to that strong, guiding energy if you have your ‘safe place’ or ‘gratitude’ card close by. When grandad makes anther homophobic joke or your sister does *that thing* that makes you feel so small, you can visualise that card and know how strong and awesome you are.

And if you need extra help, try Dori Midnight’s Boundaries in a Bottle to create a protective mist around you!

Thanksgiving Christmas tarot spread
Thanksgiving Christmas tarot spread

Try it out for yourself, and if you want to, share your reading with us!

What’s getting you down, and how are you gonna deal? What’s your safe place this Thanksgiving? How did your reading make you feel?

Like this post? Please share it!


  1. Ellen says:

    Hi Beth! Thank you for this wonderful spread which I am certainly going to try for myself. I always love your spreads. They are so practical and down to earth!
    If I am going to make a blogpost about it I will share this with you 🙂

  2. Potter says:

    Beth, this is fantastic! I’m going to do this for myself (hopefully tonight!) for sure. And I’ll post about it on my tumblr.

    I’m also in the process of putting together a holiday season tarot reading donation drive to help support folks in Ferguson (any donations I get for readings between now and the end of the year will go towards the activists and local orgs). Could I offer up this spread as an option with credit to you? Thanks so much!

  3. Eli says:

    Squinted to see the cards in this spread and had to laugh at how bleak they look. I mean, I do see how 8 of cups can be a safe place (“This hurts, but I can walk away”), but it’s still pretty cold comfort!

    • Beth says:

      Haha! Yes, they were bleak cards overall, I laughed out loud as I laid them out for this photo. If this had been a real reading I would have struggled a little to make it feel like the hug that this spread is intended to provide…!

Comments are closed.