A tarot spread for stating your needs

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As I work through the early days of settling in to a new life in a communal space, a process of stating my needs, having them heard, and hearing the needs of the folks around me is crucial. It’s part of a serious commitment to ensuring that all who work together here are giving and receiving in accordance with what they need, a balance that will be different for everyone.

A few days ago I created this tarot spread, and took a little time to check in with my own needs, in the context of a complex and changing situation. It’s such a simple, adaptable spread, I’m sharing it here so all can use it.

A tarot spread for stating your needs:


1. What I need | What do you need from this situation, person, or place to feel good? What key needs must you have met in order to continue?

2. What [the situation] needs | Looking at your needs within the wider context, this is something to be aware of.  What does the situation require right now, in order to be healthy and to support the people within it? How does this card connect with your personal needs? Do they support each other? Are there conflicts? Who will be meeting the needs of the situation?

3. What I have to give | Your gift to this situation, energy you can bring to help things along.

4. What I must let go | Something you’ve been doing or bringing that is no longer helping you or the situation.

Here’s my reading:


Cards from The Wild Unknown Tarot

1. What I need – Daughter of Pentacles

Where I’m at right now, and the whole reason I’ve come to Skye, is about finding a new connection with earth, land, life. The Daughter (Page) of Pentacles first of all reminds me of this. This is an adventure filled with challenges and moments of real accomplishment and joy, and I need to hold on to this adventuring spirit. An open heart, a willingness not to know it all in advance, and the humility to be a student in this situation are what I really need.

This card also brings up ideas about a new home, about paying attention to my body, my health, my personal space. One of my big challenges right now is that my current home is a communal space, and the Daughter of Pentacles encourages me to explore new ways of defining personal space so I always have that safe sanctuary when I need it.

This card also supports our early-days conversations about building a home (something neither Em nor I have done before)…but that’s another story.

2. What the Rhu needs – Strength

Love, love and courage. Where stress arises, respond with love. Where difficulties present themselves, find the most loving way to solve them. Strength is about working with the beast, not against. Not pretending that difficulties don’t exist, but bravely facing them. Not ignoring our own less desirable reactions and emotions (like anger) but acknowledging them truthfully and working through them with love and acceptance. This is a difficult place, and it’s difficulty is part of its wild beauty. The land and the people here invite me to work in partnership and show me how much love and courage is needed.

3. What I have to give – The Magician

When Em and I met together with Sandy this week, our first meeting to talk about this ‘new era’ for the Rhu, she said that she saw me as the one with all the big energy, and Em as the stable rock. My first reaction was to laugh, because Aries Em has far more fiery energy than I do. But it set a tone of expectation and got me thinking about the fire I bring, the sense of potential and the willingness to make things happen.

I don’t want to be bound by first impressions and the expectations of others. But hearing them does tell me a lot. Perhaps Sandy is right. In these first few months, it seems my gift is to use all the resources I have available to me and to begin what must be begun. There are many projects here that are half-started, many others that have only been imagined. The Magician advises wisdom too – this isn’t all fire, but a careful blend of all four elements as needed, so that manifestation of ideas is real, is done properly, is done with passion.

And of course, the fifth element is here too. The Magician is magic because of her will, but also because of her connection to universal energies. She doesn’t just get cracking on her projects, she enters into a relationship with the universe, setting intentions clearly, asking for what she wants, showing commitment and courage, requesting an exchange. And the universe responds.

4. What I must let go – Seven of Wands

I think of this as an ‘activist’ card – so often for me and for my clients, it represents a fight for what you believe in, the courage to stick to your truth even if you are in a minority, to believe in yourself and to be brave and to fight.

Here, it feels more like ego. Ego is a funny thing. It’s a necessary part of being human and participating in things, and on many levels it drives what we do, the choices we make. A little ego can go a long way in terms of getting things done – some of the most effective community organisations I’ve seen are headed up by folks with pretty large egos who aren’t afraid to grab the wheel and take things where they think they should go.

Here, it’s about letting go of that. This isn’t a battle, and that ‘fighting for’ energy isn’t helping. There is no battle to fight, nothing to ‘win’.

It’s easy to come into a situation with fresh eyes and a ‘rescuer’ mentality. ‘I can see what needs to happen here, I’ll save this place, I’ll make these changes’. It’s bold and active, but this idea that you can ‘save’ a place or a person or a thing is really unhelpful, disempowering and unsustainable. I’m not here to ‘rescue’ anything or to make sweeping changes. I’m here, as the Daughter of Pentacles shows me, to learn and grow and to keep my heart open and my spirit curious and adventurous. I’m here, as the Magician shows, to commit, to put in passion and energy, to work in partnership with this place. I’m here, as Strength says, to add love and courage to a situation that is already filled with love and courage and has been for well over 20 years. So I need to get my ego out of the equation right now, let go of any ideas of a ‘battle’, and let this place teach me how to go forwards in a way that is open and loving and brave.

I also found that as I laid my cards, the Emperor jumped out, demanding attention. I’m still ruminating on this card. This is a chaotic place, and I (secretly and deep down) love organisation, structure, even rules. I like to know where I stand at all times and feel unstable, even unsafe, when I don’t have that. When I look at the Emperor, I’m drawn to the eclipse, and I feel like it’s telling me that this is all still to emerge. This card makes me feel heard, makes me feel like my needs are being witnessed, and that patience and strength are required.

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I did this reading in Knoydart, a remote peninsula in the Scottish Highlands with a view back to the Rhu. Like the land itself, it brought perspective, a sense of calmness, and a sense of smallness. It’s good to remember that we are tiny specks on a huge planet full of mystery. And it’s good to be reminded that meaningful work is centred around adding more love to any situation. This reading has renewed my focus and given me an anchor point to come back to when practical work begins.

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  1. Erin Marie says:

    This spread came at exactly the right moment for me. So far this year, basically every sign has pointed towards me needing to know, understand and accept my needs better. I’ve been working on this, but today felt like I’d hit a roadblock with it. This spread got right to the heart of where I’m at, and confirmed what I knew I needed to do (but was resisting because, you know, human). Thank you!!

  2. Niju Mohan says:

    Hi Beth,

    It’s love to read this. I was interested in Cartomancy and yesterday, my bestfriend gifted me a pack of Tarot cards. So I am looking forward to do some readings 🙂

  3. “I (secretly and deep down) love organisation, structure, even rules.” — Well hello, fellow Capricorn Moon! Haha.

    Also: yes, Em is a fiery Aries Sun, but don’t forget that you are a fiery Leo Rising! You’re basically Leader Rising, Community-building Sun, System-building Moon — which sounds like great energy for this new home and lifestyle you’re taking on.

    I really like this view of the 7 of Wands as the ‘activist’ card; that’s definitely gonna stick with me. Also, I sometimes see a correlation between the Magician and Capricorn. I know it’s not the traditional association, but both know all the tools they’ll need to accomplish something, both are ‘organized’ and ‘successful’.

    So what stands out to me in this reading: What Rhu needs – Leo. What you have to give – Capricorn. What you need to leave – Aquarius(activist). Seems like you have a lot to offer this place, but not working in the way you normally would or have in the past. Like, this place, these projects will pull forth a newer, deeper part of you – this student of earth taking your efficient airy approach and transforming it into a practical grounded approach.

    Also also also, it would be hella epic if y’all built your own home!

    • Leah says:

      Omg, Tango, I LOVE your reading of the reading!! It is awesome!
      What if the Emperor does represent putting down roots, reigning in chaos, making order out of nothing, and building your own home there, Beth?

  4. Heather Gillispie says:

    I just did this reading for myself and it’s perfect for poly relationships!

    Funny, my card to let go was also the Seven of Wands, which I saw as my need to set myself apart from or in opposition to other people, sometimes anticipating a conflict or challenge when maybe there isn’t one.

    Thanks for this awesome spread!

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