Tarot for the Healing Heart - Picture the Pain Tarot Spread

I've decided to post a few spreads that I'm trying for myself from the book Tarot for the Healing Heart by Christine Jette. This is a deeply personal journey but personal doesn't necessarily have to mean private. We can all learn from each other, and the more transparent we dare to be with each other, the speedier the progress.

For the exercises in this series of spreads, I'll be working with the New Mythic Tarot.

The spread looks like this:


1. The pain: How does the card image connect with the pain you are experiencing at the moment?
2. Your awareness: What does your intellect/intuition tell you about the pain that you are experiencing?
3. Unconscious hopes and fears (blocks): Something that you are not yet fully aware of that is hindering the flow of energy. If the card is positive it could represent unfulfilled potential.
4. The past: What in your personal history relates to this pain/dis-ease?
5. The turning point: What you need to heal. If the image appears negative it may represent a deeper awareness of the negative influences that are causing dis-ease.

Overview: Looking at the cards, I can't help but notice that they are all Fire (Wands) and Air (Swords). Water (Cups) and Earth (Pentacles) are absent, as are the Majors. 3 of the cards are Fire and 2 are Air. Interestingly both the pain the the 'turning point' are Fire cards.

1. The pain - The Page of Wands

The young boy depicted on the back of the ram is Phrixus, son of King Athamas and the phantom woman Nephele. In this picture he has just narrowly escaped a scheming jealous stepmother... You can read more about the fate of Phrixus HERE.

Just looking at the picture, my intuition tells me that much of the pain is caused by rushing into things without thinking them through properly. I look at the head of the ram and it reminds me both of how angry and stubborn I can get if I don't get my way. The anger aspect places the pain firmly in the region of my liver where - sure enough - I've experienced pain off and on for about a year now.

According to Christine Jette, the Page of Wands carries the following Life lessons with regards to dis-ease: Acting impulsively; refusing to take risks of any kind; being unpredictable; fiery temper; having a feeling of burnout. I feel that all of these key words could apply on different levels.

Once again I am reminded of the lack of Fire in my birth chart. When there is only one planet in one of the Elements, this Element is said to 'fight for survival'. In the case of a Fire imbalance one becomes 'phosphorous' in homeopathic terms. A phosphorous person is easily enthused but burns out just as quickly.

2. Your awareness - 10 of Wands

Depicted in the 10 of Wands we find Jason, having returned triumphantly to Iolkos with the golden fleece. His ship, the Argo, is beached and wrecked. He has been crowned king and should be happy with his achievements but instead we see him weighed down by 10 flaming wands. There is a sense of oppression about the scene.

Christine Jette, the Life lessons for the 10 of Wands are: taking on too much and then being angry with self for doing it, overburdened with responsibilities, not being aware of personal limitations, unable to say no.

The theme of flaring up and overreaching continues in this card, and yes - I am aware of the problem, but have been so much in overwhelm that I haven't been able to discern the best next step. Hence my reason for working my way through these spreads here on the Tarot Healing blog. Note to self: pace yourself and have fun along the way. Take a break as soon as it feels more like a burden than fun!

When it comes to relating to other people this card comes with a warning not to carry the burden for less responsible people. Learning to say no is good, as is delegating. Setting limits and doing things that have a calming, soothing and centering influence is healing.

3. Unconscious hopes and fears (blocks) - Queen of Swords

This is definitely a positive influence with regards to the above. The ability to detach (Swords/Air) while still remaining nurturing (the Queens) is just what the doctor ordered. So all I have to do is tap into this unfulfilled potential, right? Wrong. Looking deeper into the card meaning provides a number of helpful clues.

In the New Mythic Tarot, the Queen of Swords is Atalanta the Huntress. You can read about her HERE. Her name means 'unswaying' and she's best known for killing the many male suitors who weren't able to beat her at a foot race - the challenge she put before the men who came to woo her.

Am I - like Atalanta - guilty of perfectionist and lofty ideals that no one, including myself, can live up to? How would this relate to the stress and pain I'm currently suffering from? Oh my... food for thought indeed!

According to Christina Jette, all Queens are Healers and the Queen of Swords is 'the one who lives, loves and loses -- and lives to love again.' Things we can do to tap into her power are to keep a journal, seek help from a grief counsellor, and to take time out from painful emotions in favour of introspection.

4. The past - 2 of Swords

This card shows us the conflict between Queen Clytemnestra and King Agamemnon. Behind them, their son, Orestes is holding his head in a futile attempt to escape the conflict.

A situation where someone has avoided change in favour of sitting on the fence is definitely found in the recent past. This was extremely stressful and painful to me as I abhor the 'limbo space' found in a stalemate more than anything (the Hanged Man is my Shadow Card, so this is a recurring theme for me). It wouldn't be so stressful if the choice to sit on the fence had been mine.

I find it difficult to relate to the characters in this card. It feels as if I'm on the outside looking in, and if either of the three people in the card would listen, we'd be able to resolve everything in no time. And yet... looking at it from another perspective, I'm all three of them and Orestes is my inner child who is stopping his ears, shouting for his parents to stop arguing at the top of his voice.

The space of the 2 of Swords can only be maintained when someone chooses to bury their head in the sand rather than deal with the issues at hand. Sometimes we aren't able to deal with certain issues because of emotional overwhelm, and that is perfectly OK - provided we communicate this rather than just turn and run away. It's also fair to communicate roughly when we intend to deal with the issue.

5. The turning point - Ace of Wands

The final card is another Fire card - The Ace of Wands, the Root of the Power of Fire - a card of tremendous power and inspiration. This card brings with it the promise of a new vision... a more inspired way of dealing with the things that put me in a state of emotional overwhelm and derail me from the path of my life's purpose.

Zeus, king of the gods, is depicted holding a flaming wand.

I had a couple of aha moments with this reading - in particular with regards to the Queen of Swords...

Let me know if you decide to give it a go!

Blessed be!


Mouse said...

Hi Lisa,

I've not read your thoughts behind the spread yet (remember my laziness :D) but just wanted to post a quick comment ........ looking at the cards from a distance ........ the colours stand out strongly - what a feeling of hot & cold ....... the core heat in the middle ...... the icy blues surrounding, cupping almost ....... strong heat & passion but either hidden away or protected by a cold exterior when hurt or under attack! Wonder too if this would relate to any unconscious barriers? OK better go read the post!

Lisa Lloyd said...

Ohhhh... interesting take, Mouse! Thanks :)

Onyx said...

Lisa, Another great post! I was just reading Tarot for the Healing Heart earlier today! I am still finishing up Tarot Shadow Work and getting ready to explore this book next. I am thinking that Spring might be a great time to engage in it.

Love your blog, keep up the good work.


Lisa Lloyd said...

Thanks, Onyx. I haven't got her Shadow Work book yet but it's on my wish list. Sometimes we choose to work with a book and sometimes the book demands engagement. I've had Tarot for the Healing Heart for a couple of years, and it finally grabbed me by the scruff of the neck and told me to get on with it :P

Carolyn said...

Hi Lisa,

Thanks for sharing this spread and your personal reading. I LOVE how this spread deals directly with pain. Come to think of it, this is the first time I've ever come across a spread that deals directly with pain.

I realize this spread could be applied to any kind of Pain: Spiritual, Mental, Emotional, Physical. But I find it incredible useful for past trauma and emotional blocks. Powerful!

Best to you,

Tarot Reader and Webmaster of http://tarotreadingpsychic.com

Idun Duva said...

Thanks Carolyn. I highly recommend the book 'Tarot for the healing heart' if you want to use the cards for healing. BB )O(

Anonymous said...

Really great article with very interesting information. You might want to follow up to this topic!?! 2012

Lisa Frideborg Lloyd said...

Thanks! I might. I always strive to focus in healing in all my tarot work.