For those of us who work with the Tarot, “spreads” are various card patterns that are used to intuitively obtain information. This is done by divining the meanings of the cards according to how they are ‘spread’ in the pattern.
I first learned about the Planetary Spread about 6 years ago, when I purchased the Sacred Circle Tarot, the primary deck that I use. It was suggested in the companion book, and I immediately felt a connection to it. I try to avoid over-used spreads (such as the Celtic Cross), and prefer instead to use spreads that are less known, or something I devised myself. (I developed a ‘Lightning Bolt’ spread that calls on the wisdom of the Three Realms, but I will share that in another post).
There are other versions of the Planetary Spread, but what I love most about this one is how it works with the seven classical planets of ancient astrology. Another wonderful thing about this spread is it’s simplicity. Each planet has it’s own magickal association that can be added to the meaning of each tarot card in it’s position. For example, if The Magician is in the Moon position, it can indicate an increase of psychic awareness and a revealing of hidden knowledge.
The cards are laid out clockwise in a circular pattern, with the first card at top/center. Their positions in order are: Moon, Mercury, Venus, Sun, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn. I’ve posted a photo below as an example.
Let’s examine each of the seven planets and their magical associations. There are many more, but we’ll look at the basics.
MOON: The Moon is linked to Goddess energy, Divination, Psychic Awareness, Intuition, Meditation, Magickal Ability, Arcane Knowledge, Occult Mysteries, The Shadow Self and Introspection. It is Feminine and associated with the element of Water.
MERCURY: This planet’s energies affect all forms of Communication, Travel, Creativity, Writing, Conversation and Self-Expression.
VENUS: Venus is associated with Personal Relationships, Love, Intimacy, Family, Friendships, Affection, Romance, Passion, Emotional Attachments.
SUN: The Sun lends it’s energy to Success, Achievement of Goals, God Energy, Connection to Divinity (both without and within), Power.
MARS: This fiery planet often indicates Aggression, Force, Masculinity, Male Energy, Lust, Rivalry, Competition, Ego, Assertiveness, Determination.
JUPITER: This planet is linked to Prosperity, Abundance, Career, Finances, Money, Employment, Growth, Business, Expansion, Increase.
SATURN: Saturn is associated with Conflict, Restriction, Protection Magick, Banishing, Binding, Removing Harmful Influences, Barriers, Obstacles.
(For more information about the planets, and how to use them with other correspondences, I recommend Book of Witchery, by Ellen Dugan).
Once you learn the magickal qualities of each of the planets, your tarot readings will take on a deeper meaning when you use the Planetary Spread. This spread is very simple, and can be used with any tarot deck.