Two cards – the ‘challenge’ spread

After much pondering about two-card readings, I treated myself last week to a new book – The Heart of the Tarot by Thompson, Mueller and Echolls. It’s based around one two-card spread – the ‘challenge’ spread – as the very heart of the Celtic cross spread. Basically it takes cards 1 and 2 out of the Celtic cross, renames them, and reads them on their own.


1. Situation
2. Challenge

The books suggests that you turn card one first and interpret that before turning card two.

My question? What to do about my work situation – I’m frustrated with the others in the small team I work with, who seem unable or unwilling to grapple with a community project that may be a bit more of a challenge that we are used to. Should I strike out alone?

1. Situation – Ace of Swords

An opportunity – the aces are always offering opportunities. In this case it’s an opportunity to harness the power of intellect, truth, wisdom. And what will I do with it? Like a sword, this kind of power can be used for great good, or it can be wielded to cause harm. Quoting from The Heart of the Tarot, It tells us that it’s time to delve into the truth or ethics that lay behind our issue.’

The book suggests that the Ace of Swords in the ‘situation’ position could suggest…

* We challenge the givens, the ‘rules’ before committing ourselves to the situation;
* before we make a decision, we consult a more knowledgable or experienced person (mentor?) for more information and understanding;
* there may be a hidden agenda (ours or anothers’) in our situation that involves morals or ethics that prevent movement or that are the real issue behind the obvious

All three of these interpretations of the positions make sense to me. I’m concerned not only that my co-workers won’t embrace the challenge of working in this new area, but also about why this is. The area is ethnically diverse, and I think this brings about a sense of fear, an idea that ‘we can’t do that’ in our team. As community workers, we should be ready to include all people in our projects, not only those who match our own demographic or sit within our comfort zones. So for me this is very much an ethical issue – I feel like the situation is held still by something I define as racism. I feel I’ve tried to challenge this unsuccessfully and finished last week with a clear plan to spend next week going out on my own into the community and trying to get things started myself.

2. Challenge – Queen of Cups

Emotional generosity, great creative power, and a sense of everything coming together with a real spirit of love and kindness. Understanding others and using that knowledge to enable them.

The book suggests that the Queen of Cups in the ‘challenge’ position might be telling us…

* to try our hand at expressing ourselves artistically;
* to seek ways to allow divine love to enter our lives;
* we certainly can believe more, and have more confidence, in our own feelings at this time.

I’m not sure that the book’s suggestions are quite what I’m reading here in this card – it seems more to me that the challenge I face is to bring more of a sense of understanding with me into dealings with the team. I don’t think it’s helpful to try to counteract the sort of racism that comes from fear and lack of understanding with anger and disgust…and I’ve started to find myself expressing these things lately, which is what’s caused me to conclude I need to go off on my own. Perhaps mixing solo-work with ‘taking people with me’ might be a healthier approach…if it worked, it would certainly be better for everyone  concerned.

The Queen could also represent the ‘mentor’ I seek…and this suggests I look for someone loving, creative and understanding.

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  1. Little Red says:

    Thanks Chloe! The new ‘I’m totally not annoyed by you people’ approach begins tomorrow when I’m back in work… 😉

  2. Cindy Carver says:

    Thank you Beth, I am a newbie when it comes to Tarot readings, but have always wanted to learn more so I can make it more of my daily routine when meditating. I just ordered The Heart of the Tarot by Thompson, Mueller and Echolls, and can’t wait for it to get here.

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