Begin now, with what you have: A simple tarot spread

Photo 20-05-2015 11 04 35


“Begin now with what you have”: A tarot spread for building towards a goal.

OPTIONAL: Before you start, look through your cards and choose one to represent your goal. (For example, if you want to bring more balance into your life, you might choose Temperance. If you’re looking for a new career, perhaps the Ace or Ten of Pentacles would be a good choice.) Set this card aside.

Shuffle your cards, think about your goal, and lay them out as follows:


1 – Your goal

If you chose a card at the start, place this here. Otherwise, lay a card as normal.

2, 3, 4 – “What you have”.

Your foundation. Your resources. These cards represent where you are now, and what you have to build on. There are some gems here!

5, 6 – “Begin now”

These are your next steps. How can you best use what you have now?

7 – something you need to know about your goal

It’s easy to oversimplify our goals or only see the surface. This card offers something extra to bear in mind.

I used this spread for a recent ‘where I’m at’ reading.

My foundations were The Empress, surrounded by the Four of Wands and Nine of Pentacles. Visually, this looks sturdy – the symmetry of the two outer cards makes that Empress tree seem even stronger. A solid, trustworthy base.

The Four of Wands tells me that I’m at a point of pride and celebration. It’s true. I tend to get swept along with my many projects and forget to take a break and enjoy what I’ve achieved so far. Right now, though, I am taking a break. I can see the work ahead of me, but I am celebrating. It feels good.

The Empress encourages me to share what I have and use it to benefit others. I did this reading the day before launching the Alternative Tarot Network to my mailing list and was surrounded with a kinda maternalistic, giving kind of energy. I just wanted to gather everyone together and give them something beautiful and nurturing.

And the Nine of Pentacles – one of my favourite cards – reminded me of my personal strength. How everything I have, I created for myself. How independent I am in my work, how confident I feel in my abilities right now – even at this moment of change.

All of these are qualities I can build on.

My next steps are the Daughter of Cups and Seven of Pentacles. Another welcome reminder to pause. To know that, despite the pride, confidence and strength in my foundations, I don’t know it all.

The Daughter of Cups brings me back to my oft-neglected emotional self. Checking in with my heart, learning to listen to my intuition, is a big theme for me at the moment. It’s part of the shift I’m experiencing, part of a longer-term goal. This card reminds me to keep an open heart, and to consciously set out on a new emotional journey.

The Seven of Pentacles tells me to pause for breath. Another big theme for me right now. I tend to have an idea, then launch straight in. This card asks me to step back and look at the bigger position before continuing. It builds on the Four of Wands. Yep, there’s more work to do. Take the time to re-evaluate right now. What’s working, what could do with a tweak?

My goal is The Emperor (I didn’t consciously choose this card). A place of even greater stability. A life more structured, more solid. God yes. Yes please. My business is growing and becoming sustainable. The Emperor represents the culmination of this process: the ability to save and to invest in Em and I’s bigger shared projects. A sturdy foundation not only within myself but surrounding me. Solid ground beneath my feet. A sense of order in my life. Bring it on.

The Two of Cups is my ‘additional information’. Again, coming back to love, to the heart centre. The Emperor is a great card for bringing stability and order, but can be cold and dispassionate. The Two of Cups reminds me that everything I’m working towards at the moment, I’m doing because it feels good. Because it’s part of the plans I have with my partner. Because it works for my soul. I mustn’t lose track of that as I begin this next chapter.

Have you tried this spread? Share your findings in the comments!



Like this post? Please share it!


  1. Joy Waller says:

    This looks like such a cool spread: simple, direct, and packs a punch. I’ll be testing it out later this weekend! Thanks for posting it. : )

  2. Mecca says:

    Just tried this reading for myself and whoa did it hit home. Thanks for this. You rock as always!

  3. NOVA2BKNY says:

    Beth this is great. I may have to try this out as a second step in thinking through my current process of finding the right things to devote my time to this summer. I did my own self-assessment spread (shared on ATN) that ended up centering on the Wheel of Fortune.

    • NOVA2BKNY says:

      Instead I used this spread to think about my goals for being on the Board of the LBGTQ student group at my graduate program using the Gorgon’s Tarot. And wow did some things come up as I aimed for goals related to the High Priestess as card 6. The spread reminded me that I have companions in this process who will test, aid, and strengthen me (the 5 of Wands at card 1 leading to the 7 of Wands at card 5) and that I have lots of information to work with (the Blind Gorgon at card 3) that will push me towards my goal with a little extra insight (4 of Cups at card 7). Seeing the 4 of cups tied it all back to five months ago when I drew the card while feeling under-motivated and lost in multiple projects. I found the insight I needed then, and this time I have my friends from the 5 of Wands to help me figure it out.

  4. Samantha says:

    I was saving this for the right day, and tried it out just now. VERY powerful result! My base cards were the battle-hardened 9 of wands with Temperance and the 5 of wands opposing one another on each side. Definitely felt that, as I am trying to reach a balance with my life and health right now, and prepare for what’s to come, even as stupid distractions keep feeling like they’re getting in my way. My “begin now” cards were the 4 of swords and the Hanged Man, so super reinforcing the importance of taking time to think things out first and be patient before I leap into the next phase of my life. I definitely have been feeling impatient lately, so I took those cards to heart. My goal card (also not picked out ahead of time) was the 2 of wands, which I almost started crying about when I saw, because what I really want and have been working towards in my life right now is gaining some real independence in every meaning of the word, and getting back some personal power and fierce confidence, reinforced by the Knight of Wands charging across that goal card. So many wands in that reading!

    Basically I really want to move already and start working and living on my own in a big city again, and I’ve been going crazy knowing that I’m not there yet, so this was a great reminder both of the resources I have that will get me there, and that it will happen even if I have to be patient a little longer.

  5. Susanna says:

    Wow Beth, just reading the title of this post inspired me to “begin now, with what I have” and make some changes with my offerings that feel really good and fresh!

    I haven’t even done the reading yet 🙂 I’ll get to it tonight!

    Thanks a million.

  6. Saricchiella says:

    I just tried it, and I agree with Samantha: VERY powerful results!

    I’m taking baby steps with a new project about teaching programming to children, which was my main resolution this year (thinking about working on my own). My base cards were the 3 of swords, the Fool in the middle, and the High Priestess. The Fool was the leap of faith I’m ready to take for this. The 3 of swords shows the thorn of my past jobs, where I didn’t fit in completely, and always felt misplaced somehow (this came with heavy impostor syndrome and destruction of self confidence). And the beautiful High Priestess, as I read this very evening in your blog, talks about finding my true self, discovering and accepting what I am and finding a job that makes me felt complete and valid.

    The two action cards were the Magician, pushing me to do something, telling me that I already have the tools and I only need my WILL; and the six of pentacles, telling me to share my ideas so they can blossom (I used the Shadowscapes deck, and it’s just that!). I’m recruiting a dear friend for the project, and now I know that it’s the only way I can make it work.

    My goal card (not chosen) was the king of pentacles, the mentor of pentacles (PERFECT fit for a programming teacher, if you ask me!), and it was reinforced by the queen of pentacles, the artist, which reminded me that I will find the creative part I’ve been missing in my jobs, and that I can be nurturing and cheerful and caring without being seen as weak or unprofessional.

    Thanks a lot for sharing this spread, Beth, it was very enlightening, and I love the results 🙂

  7. N says:

    Wow. Seriously powerful, and I’m just a novice at this reading for only two months now!

    I used the Wildwood Tarot, asking if dream work was a path I should follow. I got the following cards:

    1. Four of Arrows (reversed); 2. 15 The Guardian; 3. Seven of Vessels; 4. Eight of Arrows; 5. King of Stones; 6. Queen of Bows; 7. King of Bows.

    I haven’t even started interpreting yet, but this spread feels heavy but interesting and gives me chills in a good way. And talk about a theme – two bows and two arrows cards, as well as three court cards and death/Guardian.

    If you have any insights, I’d be pleased to hear them! Thank you so much for so freely sharing this spread 🙂

  8. Rosie says:

    I have never done a tarot spread before. Where would I even purchase a deck of cards and learn to use them?

Comments are closed.