THANKSGIVING ELEMENTS SPREAD
Acknowledging our blessings and overcoming challenges
by Velvet Angel
‘Tis the Thanksgiving season when we all give some serious thought about what we appreciate, what we are thankful for, and how we are blessed. Even a challenge in life can hold blessings in disguise. While it’s harder to be thankful for a difficulty in life while it’s happening, hindsight often provides us with that gratitude at a later time.
This spread is designed to look at our current blessings in life from the perspective of the elements:
- Water/Cups (relationships, emotions, feelings, family, or friendships)
- Earth/Pentacles (money and material resources, groundedness, security and stability, or even matters of physical health)
- Fire/Wands (work, career, business, and active enterprises; passionate interests and active involvements,)
- Air/Swords (ideas, plans, challenges, or blessings in disguise)
- Major Arcana (spiritual element – your current greatest blessing)
Here is how to lay out the cards (and note that you may need to draw an additional card or two from the remainder of the card pack once these initial cards are laid out– which I will explain).
Even though the layout positions have a title that corresponds to a particular element, you do not have to get a card from that suit. For example, Card 2 represents “The Plate” and corresponds to the earth element and Pentacles – but you could get a card from another suit in that position instead of a Pentacles card.
If you DO get the card from a suit that matches the element of the spread’s position, however, this is an indication of stronger balance, strength, and blessing that is there or is available to you. It suggests balance in that area of your life, or the ability to create a better balance if you are currently experiencing a challenge or hardship. It can suggest that you have plenty in that area of your life – or that what you need is accessible to be able to enjoy more of what you need.
Card 1: The Cup – How is your cup filled emotionally?
This card represents your blessings in the area of relationships (family, friendships, or love), emotions, and feelings. This could also speak of your intuitive feelings, as well as some aspect of creativity.
Card 2: The Plate – What sustains you?
This card represent your Thanksgiving blessings in the area of money and material resources, stability and security matters, groundedness, and even your physical health.
Card 3: The Fork – What feeds your passions in life?
This card represents blessings to be thankful for in the area of work, career, business, or active enterprises. This is what feeds your interests or what you actively and enthusiastically pursue. This is an area of your life that contains (or should contain) special enthusiasm, excitement, or action. While it’s a position relating to work and career, for some people, it might point to a hobby instead. From the card that comes up in this position, you can learn a lot about whether your true passions are being fed or not, and you can identify what the blessing is even in the face of any challenge.
Card 4: The Knife – What ideas, thoughts, and truths do you hold within, or what are the challenges you face which could be “blessings in disguise?”
This card can point to some of your best ideas that are within you right now! It can point to strong beliefs, or it can suggest cutting through to the truth. As this position corresponds to the suit of Swords (even if you don’t get a Sword card here), it can bring out challenges that can turn out to be a blessing in disguise – even if you can’t see it just yet.
Card 5: Spiritual Element – Your greatest current blessing!
This card points to the greatest current blessing in your life that surrounds you right now! It could also contain an important life lesson to acknowledge. If a Major Arcana card appears here, this strengthens the importance of the position.
If you don’t get the suit that corresponds to the layout position:
Chances are you won’t fill all the spots of this spread with the corresponding suit elements. And that’s okay! You might not get one card from each of the four suits, plus one card from the Major Arcana for a perfectly balanced spread. Life generally doesn’t work that perfectly in real life either
But consider that a Major Arcana card in any of these spread positions will also signify a great blessing that is there or is possible in that area of your life – even if the position in the spread is tied to another element.
If a particular suit does not show up in the spread at all:
If one or more suits don’t come up in any position of your layout, or you don’t get a major arcana card among the 5 cards of the spread, this suggests that there is work you need to do in that area or element. Those are the areas that represent what you “need more of.” And you will draw for that suit from the rest of your pack of tarot cards to show you how to get more of what you need in that area of your life – even if things are going well already. It will offer advice on how to work on that area of your life — or how to sustain or maintain a situation.
For those missing elements in the spread, you will pick up the remainder of the cards not used and pull for that missing element. For example, if you had no Major Arcana and no Pentacles in your spread, then pull off cards from the deck and take out the FIRST Major Arcana card and the FIRST Pentacle card you come to. Those cards will tell you HOW to work on getting more of what you need or more of what is “missing” in your life with reference to that suit and element. If things are already very good in that area of your life, the advice is still valid to help you reach out for even more or to maintain the positives that you already enjoy.
Examples of what missing elements might mean:
If no Cups cards appear in your layout, it can suggest that you need to turn to your emotional side more than you’ve been doing. You may have some repressed emotions that need to come to the forefront instead of holding them back. It may suggest that you need to think with your heart a bit more than always trying to be so logical or putting things into a “black and white” context. The emotional aspects may be what you need to nurture more in your life.
You may need to listen to your intuition more, and you might need to nurture something creative in your life as well. Consider where you feel held back emotionally. Is it related to a relationship experience with a partner, a friend, or a family member? Look to the first cup card you’ve drawn from the remainder of the deck to help you decide how you can get more of what you need in the area of emotions and relationships.
If no Wands cards appear in your layout, it can suggest that you should look at where you need to take more action in your life. Or it could suggest that you need to find your passion that will feed your soul – whether that would mean a new job, a relationship, or participation in something that interests you.
It can also mean that you need to do less thinking and start bringing forward your ideas. It may mean that the planning and thinking stages are done, and now it’s time for some action to make those ideas real. Look to the first Wands card you’ve drawn from the remainder of the deck to help you decide how you can get more of what you need for this element in your life.
If no Pentacles cards appear in your layout, it can suggest that you are lacking in stability or security in some way. You may need to get more grounded or put foundations underneath your plans. You may need to work on money issues in your life – perhaps with spending habits or in creating a budget that will work for you. As the Earth element/Pentacles can also speak of physical health, you might need to take better care of your physical self, too.
If no Swords cards appear in your layout, it can suggest that you may not be acknowledging truths that belong to you. In other words, you may be more of a follower than a leader when it comes to what you really believe. There may be a need to cut through to the truth of some matter to see what is there and what you really have to work with in a situation.
Additionally, you might be discounting your ideas and not believing they are valid or possible simply because you are the one who thought of it. You may need to have more faith in yourself. Or you may need to find some solutions to issues and not just be looking for an easy way out of dilemmas. Recognize any challenges in your life, and realize that they can be stepping stones to greater things. But if you avoid them or pretend they do not exist, you won’t do yourself any real favors.
If no Major Arcana cards appear in your layout, this does NOT mean you have no blessings in your life, of course. But the lack of a major arcana card could suggest that you need to understand a lesson that has evaded you thus far. Perhaps you are not acknowledging and learning from some major life lesson. You might also need more experience in some area of your life. Because it’s the smaller, day-to-day events that lead to the larger picture of the major arcana, you may need to gain more experience in some area.
Additionally, no Major cards in the spread could signify that something is not within your direct control, so you might need to look at the things for which you do actually have the ability and power to control and worry less about that which is not within your own control to change or manage.
Here is an example with the cards I drew for myself in working with this layout:
In my example spread, the Cups and the Swords positions were filled with a card from those respective suits. The Major Arcana position was also filled with a major arcana card. In this spread, I did not receive any cards from the suit of Wands or the suit of Pentacles. So I drew for those cards and got the 3 of Wands and the 10 of Pentacles, which are also explained further below.
This will just be a quick summary of the interpretation — I’ll try to keep it brief.
Card 1: 4 of Cups (THE CUP – Relationships, Emotions) — This is about having opportunity right under my nose, but not always seeing it. There is the desire here to ensure there is not a void or an empty place in the family structure. But Tarot tells me that my family life is blessed. And this is significant since a Cups card fell into place for the Cups position for emotions and relationships. I must, however, acknowledge those blessings even when challenging times come to call.
What fulfills me emotionally is the quiet “alone time” I take to recharge as needed. Additionally, this card suggests that there is an opportunity or a gift in my emotional and family life that I may not be able to see just yet, but once I am able to see that, it can be a true gift and a blessing that I will immediately embrace.
Considering the circumstances happening in the family with court battles to save an innocent, precious small child – I can clearly see the delays happening with the legal case (which naturally effects me emotionally and influences the family unit overall), but with this card, Tarot also shows me blessings – even if I cannot see it all clearly in the moment. There will be a gift to embrace, and I need to have complete faith in that.
Card 2: The Empress (THE PLATE – Blessings in Money and Material Resources) — While I did not get a Pentacles card here, I received a Major Arcana card in this position, so this position is still considered especially significant in the way of blessings. This shows me that my creativity and the love of what I do has been a blessing. Equally, I am richer in inner spirit because of having a family to nurture and love. The Empress is a card that I have always resonated with strongly. So I know I’m on the right track with money and material resources, and with family life, too. The blessing is abundance, and I certainly don’t have to be materially wealthy to enjoy this abundance.
What sustains me in terms of money, material resources, and inner riches is actually the opportunity to be both mother and business woman at the same time. (Technically I am “grandmother” but happily and lovingly fill the role of mother.) With this card, I know I am truly blessed and taken care of, as I also take care of the people that I love.
Card 3: King of Swords (THE FORK: Blessings in work/career/business enterprises, etc.) — This is not a Wands card, so it tells me that while I have made some decisive choices, I also need to find ways to execute more of the ideas that I have. Some of these ideas are mature enough to be expressed and ready to be rolled out. Thus, the ideas are there, but more work is needed on the execution (the action part). It’s time to get serious about decisions and projects. This is an area for me to work on, and indeed I’m doing so. I have stepped up to the plate through discipline and willpower, and self-motivation is truly a gift that I’ve been blessed to practice in my career endeavors.
What feeds my passion is the ability to be in control and in charge of my life. I am independent and enjoy making my living through a self-made career for which I feel very passionately about. I have learned to make decisions through my experience, and I’m always inspired to learn even more. By stepping up, I have the potential to take my career to new levels.
Card 4: Six of Swords (THE KNIFE: Blessings that come from ideas, thoughts, truths, and challenges) — This was indeed a Swords card, so it lets me know that I am taking ideas forward and moving with them. As noted above, it seems I still need to do some more work in that area – and I am doing so with the gratitude of knowing what to do and how to move forward.
The Six of Swords is a card of movement – moving away from challenges in life to enjoy more peace of mind. And while this card naturally suggests that there will be some more challenges ahead, the blessing now is smoother sailing to appreciate.
My thoughts and ideas resonate with the King of Swords, showing me the blessing of being able to move forward with my ideas in the Six of Swords. Swords can represent challenges, but some challenges do end up being blessings in disguise.
Card 5: Strength (GREATEST CURRENT BLESSINGS – spiritual element) – Because a card from the Major Arcana filled this position of the spread, it suggests a significant blessing as well as balance in my spiritual life. This card can go beyond just spiritual components, but with Strength showing up here, this shows me that my inner strength is my greatest blessings at present.
Certain events of this year, in 2011, have definitely tested my inner strength and faith. But the Strength card suggests that I have control over things. I don’t have to force anything to achieve what I am aiming for. Gentle control and strength are the keys to my success. What a lovely blessing for this card to be presented as my greatest current blessing.
It is a blessing to stand true to my personal convictions and to be willing to support what I believe in. Strength suggests growth and evolution on a personal and spiritual level, and I genuinely feel that in my life at this time.
Strength is also about conquering inner fears that can limit or prevent our growth and development. So while this has been a year of challenges on the personal front, it has also been a year of growth as I look back and reflect at this time of Thanksgiving.
The card of Strength also heralds an important Karmic period, and it reminds us that love conquers everything, somehow, some way! Love has a way of working precious magic in our lives. I find that message to be one of great encouragement to enhance my own inner strength as well.
I am stronger than I realized. This year has shown that to me. My faith has been tested almost to the point of no return . . . but despite that, I held on. Even if by a thread, that measure of faith allowed me to rise above. And with that blessing of gentle strength and conviction which can be very powerful, I am deeply grateful to the Universe and to the Heavens!
The Missing Elements:
In this spread, I did not get a card from the Wands suit or the Pentacles suit. These suits point to what I need “more” of in my life. The Wands suggest that I may need to become more inspired to take action and perhaps execute the ideas I have. I need to take action in some area of my life. The missing element doesn’t have to point specifically to the Wands/Fire position of the spread, although for some, it can. In this case, the King of Swords came up for the position of Wands/Fire/”The Fork” . . . and this suggests to me that I have some great ideas that need to be executed. So that is something I am working on.
The other missing element for my spread was the suit of Pentacles which suggests that I may need to establish more grounding in some area of my life. It doesn’t have to relate to just the Pentacles or “Plate” section of the layout. I should look at any area of my life that needs a stronger foundation.
I drew the 3 of Wands as one of my additional cards to show me how to get more of what I need to feed my passions in the area of active interests. This particular card points to new horizons, and after having set one’s ships to sail, one is in a position of waiting for the return of those forthcoming rewards. I definitely feel that is where I am right now.
The 3 of Wands asks me to be patient for a bit longer and to know that if I’m putting forth the effort, results will come! Thus, I need to more fully reconnect with the passion of my projects. This is not to say I am not excited about those things, because I really am. But sometimes, when things can’t come together immediately, we can easily get distracted from our course and question whether we can or will accomplish what we’ve set out to do.
The Tarot tells me that I must remember that I hold a lot of control over the ultimate results, and thus, it is my responsibility to put things in motion when the time is right to do so. Sometimes I might be required to wait a bit before something can be successfully launched, but quality is far more important than quantity. So this helped me to see that I am on the right track, and I just need to continue actively pursuing my plans – executing them at the right time . . . and not do things in haste.
I drew the 10 of Pentacles to show me how to create more grounding in my life – since no cards from this suit appeared in my initial spread. I always think of family with this particular card, and the area of emotions was a “challenging” card in this layout with the 4 of Cups. I can definitely see the importance here of keeping my emotions grounded and not letting them get out of control . . . and also the importance of keeping my family close and letting them know I love them and appreciate the support that they offer when I am running my business.
As Pentacles can relate to money and material assets, I can see how the Tarot is also indicating that I should be looking to the future – which means I need to evaluate how I spend money and how I save it, etc. I want something to be left for my grandson in the future, so between the King of Swords in the Wands energy position (that suggests I need to be more active or execute my ideas more fully) and the 10 of Pentacles legacy card, I can see that, on some level, the Tarot is telling me that I have the capacity to build my own little empire that will sustain me and my family for years to come.
I had not actually thought of it in those terms until consulting the Tarot through this spread. I feel greatly empowered and blessed to have this powerful awareness of the possibilities in my life!
I created this spread to share the blessings and gratitude of Thanksgiving love with my readers. If this spread strikes your fancy, please use it and enjoy . . . and feel free to share it with others. Have a blessed Thanksgiving holiday!