Tag Archives: spread

First, let’s get confused (Rune Cards)

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Here’s my first reading with the Rune Cards.

—1—
2—–3

I’m going to look at the card image alone first and will then consult the little white book (LWB) that comes with the deck. I’m giving the Anglo-Saxon rune names first, followed by the Elder Futhark names (if applicable) in parenthesis, if only so I can learn all names. The images are borrowed from another website that I sadly haven’t bookmarked, so I can’t tell you the source.

1. Where am I in terms of my spirituality right now?Aurochs / Ur (Uruz)

Two big drinking horns lie on a table, together with a die that has the rune of “ur” carved on it. One of the drinking horns has metal decorations at the rim and point, the other is left plain. A male aurochs stands in the background, facing the left and looking slightly to the front. (Actually, the animal looks more like a buffalo than an actual aurochs, but for now I’m willing to accept that as artistic license.)

The opening of the decorated drinking horn is facing the viewer, looking a bit like an entrance to a cave or something. That makes me think of the oft-quoted tunnel-like passage that many shamanic journeyers encounter at the beginnings of their journeys (particularly to the Lower World). From the outside, it’s just a drinking horn, but there’s no telling where the inside passage leads. The fact that there are two entrances also suggests that choosing one (the right one?) might be of importance here. And the die makes me think that consulting an oracle (or, if you prefer that view, making a choice by a random method) might just be the way to go.

The aurochs itself makes me think of wild cattle and the role they played for our ancestors (I’m only referring to what is now roughly considered European territory here because that’s the cultural background of the runes and the illustrations of this deck. That’s not supposed to suggest that aurochs or other wild cattle weren’t present elsewhere.). Aurochs were hunted (I assume that all parts of their bodies were used for food, clothing, and tools)  and paintings of them appear in several prehistoric caves, such as Lascaux or Chauvet. All in all, it makes me think of a very early time in human history, and different ways of connecting to that ancestry (such as shamanic journeying, experiential archeology, scientific research, etc.). And that suggests that there is always more than one method to reach the goal of connecting, and that most likely a combination of them will bring the best (= most useful, most reliable, most respectful) results.

The fact that the animal depicted on the card is not actually an aurochs makes me think that I need to keep checking the “facts” of whatever I’m told is the “truth” about any spiritual path. While a bison or buffalo is probably closer to an aurochs than a Holstein dairy cow, it’s still not the same, and the difference may indeed matter. So this is not about just believing everything, even if it comes from an “expert” but to do my own research and verification process to get confirmation of something.

So, let’s see what the LWB has to add to that. The rune poem given for Ur consists of four stanzas and centers on the value of strength and the will to fight, as well as on the need to temper it with courage, determination, wisdom and cunning. In other words, “Those who have strength but lack strategy will become the captive of others.”

The divinatory meanings mention assertive strength again (not necessarily physical strength, though) and also speak of the need to conserve strength, to rest and recuperate.

All in all, I would say this card is about allowing for some time until I actively go into that cave/tunnel again (that is, before I take any further steps, especially on a shamanic path). Instead, some reflection of whose values and “truths” I want to take on as mine seems to be in order. And that makes a lot of sense, because I’m still busy shedding all the expectations of my former workplace and related environments and reconnecting to my “roots” (mostly of my own life history for now).

2. What’s the next step for me? What should I do?Weapon / Yr

This shows a scene of hands-on battle. There are a lot of helmets, swords, arrows, a few shields, and some faces contorted in yelling. Bolts of lighting strike down from the night sky, ravens (or crows) fly above the battlefield, and a big battle axe with the “yr” rune engraved on it is held up in the foreground of the picture.

I know that thunder(bolts) are associated with the hammer-wielding Northern god Thor, but I’m not sure that the ravens aren’t borrowed from Celtic/Irish mythology here (as related to the war goddesses Badb and Morrígan). However, Wikipedia tells me that “the word [for raven] was frequently used in combinations as a kenning for bloodshed and battle,” so I might be mistaken here.

The battle looks like a scene of much chaos, violence and fear to me, and it’s certainly not a scene that I’d happily enter. I’m in no way the type to engage in physical battle (although I believe I would be able to defend myself against a physical one-on-one attack), and even shy away from peaceful demonstrations or big concerts because I never trust “the masses” around me to be on my side when push comes to shove. However, the battle axe with the rune suggests a guiding principle which might just give structure (if not sense) to the chaos. The lightning bolts make me think of divine intervention, for better or worse, and suggest there might be a bigger plan to all of it, even if I can’t see it from my current point of view.

Besides the idea that finding my own guiding principles probably is a good idea before I enter any “battle” I’m not quite sure what this card is telling me to do.

Let’s see if the LWB can shed some light on this. The rune poem praises the use of the axe-hammer as a piece of war-gear and suggests it is a useful thing to have with you on a journey. The divinatory meanings for the card list several verbs that describe violent destruction of a thing or person and state that the “enemy could be an opponent or an illness, or anything that could be harmful to you.”

Right now, this seems to underline the wild aspect of the Ur card, so perhaps my reading of that as waiting some more before action takes place isn’t quite right? I hope the third card will clarify this matter some more!

3. What should I avoid?Ing (Ingwaz)

A big fire burns upon an otherwise snow-covered hill surrounded by a forest in the night. Its flames merge with a Green Man-like face made of what looks like oak leaves.

The depiction of a god or land spirit (I think that Ing is another name of Freyr, but I need to check that later on) makes this card different from the other two that only used things that are on the more material side of things (or symbols for deities like the flashes of lightning). In terms of something not to do as my next step I would think this means I’m not supposed to attempt any direct spirit communication at this point.

Okay, let’s check Wikipedia first. Ing, or Yngvi, is indeed an older name for the god Freyr. From what little I already know about the Northern deities, Freyr is a Vanir god and embodies a fertile masculinity that is much tied to the land and to sunshine and prosperity. Thor, on the other hand, is an Aesir god who is associated more with battle, protection, and physical strength. In other words, there are two different kinds of masculinity that appear as “do” and “don’t” for me in this reading.

That alone is rather interesting, since masculinity has indeed been an issue for me in the more recent past. Not only has my partner transitioned into an everyday life as someone who is almost always read as a “man” (despite his remaining self-identification as a third-gender butch), I have also been read as an “unfeminine” woman, especially in work-related contexts (despite my remaining self-identification as a queer femme). I have struggled (and continue to do so) with how the way his gender is perceived now changes the way my gender is perceived by others (no matter that the changes of his gender as I perceive it away from the rest world have actually been minimal – although that kind of separation is of course an illusion possible only for the sake of the argument). As a result, I’ve come to the realization that outside perception plays a much bigger role in one’s gender reality than I initially thought, and that includes the perception of the gender of the people we’re with. While this is all really fascinating in an academic way, it still means that I’m rather unsure of how to deal with this in my practical life.

I’m also wondering if this emphasis on traditionally “masculine” aspects is just a feature of this reading, or if it is part and parcel of Northern Tradition Paganism as such. I have touched on my own gender issues before, so I’ll just say here that it would be a problem for me if femininity and masculinity in Northern Tradition Paganism were divided along the same old lines of warrior and homemaker/caretaker.

But before I continue to draw the different parts of the reading together to make sense of them all, let’s see what the LWB has to say about the Ing card. Once again, I’m not sure how “purely” Northern the story of the Lord (Ing) and Lady (his sister Eostre) and Ing going to sleep over winter and being roused again by burning holly is (Wikipedia says that Freyr’s sister is Freya, not Eostre, and a superficial Google search finds no relation of Freyr to holly). In fact, the whole “Lord and Lady” business sounds awfully Wiccan to me (although, admittedly, Freyr and Freya actually mean Lord and Lady), and holly is mostly mentioned in relation to the twice-yearly fight of the Holly King and Oak King. At any rate, the LWB rune poem mentions Ing as a hero, and someone who traveled over water. It also lists a lot of positive associations along the lines of hope, optimism, fertility, rebirth, etc.

Well, that doesn’t help me much, I’m afraid. I think I shall continue with my own takes for now.

So let’s go back to whats actually on the cards. One thing that stands out to me is the very similar shape of the Ur and Yr runes. Yr looks like Ur with an extra line down. If I leave everything aside that I have read about the runes/cards during the assembly of this reading, I would say that it could be an extra grounding line. In that metaphor, Ur is the idea, the potential and Yr is the application, the manifestation of it. Nevertheless, the Yr and Ing cards are similar in how they show mostly sky (and spirit) and only a little bit of the earth/ground…

Well.

I think we can safely say that I’ve successfully managed to confuse myself to the point of wanting to scratch the reading in its entirety. I guess that what happens when I mix up research and divination to a point that goes beyond checking a fact that I already have in the back of my mind or looking up the translation of an idiom. The part that confuses me most is the battle scene of Yr as my “do” of this reading because I really can’t relate to that imagery at this point in my life. I don’t want to jump headfirst into any kind of battle, but I want to reflect and heal and go slowly instead.

I did learn a few things about this deck and about the runes as such during this reading, though, and that’s always a good thing. I realized that my usual way of reading cards (or other oracles) probably isn’t working very well with this deck as long as I want to use it to learn the runes as such, because what I see in the images is not what I read about the runes and what I would associate with the rune names, the respective stanzas of the rune poem translations, or the rune shapes themselves. I’m not giving up on the approach of doing both things at the same time (reading with this deck and learning the runes as such) just yet, but if future readings turn out to be equally confusing, I might have to do just that. In that case, I might have to decide whether to take this deck as a paper version of the runes (and ignore the images – which would beg the question why I would then use an illustrated deck) or to use the deck as I use my other oracle decks (and ignore the runes – which would lead me to wonder if it’s possible to learn the runes in some other way and still not get distracted by their presence in this oracle).

For now, I’d be grateful for any input on this reading by any of you. Maybe you know more about the runes and can give me some useful pointers about how to interpret what I drew here? Or maybe you see something in the card images that has escaped my attention? All reading methods are welcome!

After the first date (reading with Shelley)

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This is the second of three readings with Shelley, Bride of Frankendecken Tarot that I got permission to post here. Again, the special feature of these readings is the inclusion of the card backs. Click on the pictures to see bigger versions of the cards.

This reading is for TM. She has this question:

What happened to N? We went on our first date [three days ago] and I have yet to hear from him. I haven’t called/text/email him and neither has he. Is he waiting for me to contact him? Or is he not interested? The date went well (or so I thought). Would like a little insight.

So, what do you need to know about N’s expectations of you? And what else do you need to know about the situation? I think that’s two cards.

1. What do you need to know about N’s expectations of you?Six of Wands (Mythic Tarot)

N seems to be a bit of a show-off. He likes to be admired for his achievements. What he doesn’t realize is that people are a bit intimidated by him and tend to keep their distance if not explicitly invited. So he may have wanted you to contact him and tell him that you enjoyed the date (if in fact you did enjoy it, of course) but he didn’t realize that you wouldn’t do so without an explicit invitation.

There’s also a sense of him being occupied with getting something special (the golden fleece of Greek myth depicted here), so he may be waiting to contact you until he has something special to offer. He might want to get tickets to a special event, or a table at a special place, or a special gift, or even just enough money to take you out again (special doesn’t necessarily mean expensive, just hard to get for him). That mean that you shouldn’t get in touch, only that he isn’t initiating it at this point.

And finally there’s this group of people in the background. I’m not entirely sure who they are – his friends, teasing him or egging him on? Other people who also would like to spend more time with him? Or people who try to keep him away? At any rate, something is happening in the background that distracts him. Which, again, doesn’t mean he’s not interested, just that he’s busy with something else at the moment.

All in all I would say he wouldn’t mind if you contacted him, even if he has reasons not to initiate contact himself.

2. What else do you need to know about the situation?King of Swords (Feng Shui Tarot)

The first thing that stood out about me from this card was the glitter and nail polish that has been added to it by the card’s previous owner. It certainly creates an interesting contrast to the serious king and his white tiger! It also adds emphasis on places that aren’t necessarily the focal points of the card (e.g. the king’s robe, the tiger’s nose, the hills in the background). However, it also makes the sword stand out very much.

To me, this means that things have more than one layer to them. What you see on the surface isn’t identical to what’s below. Things may look more “shiny” than they actually are.
At the same time, I get a sense of a challenge (or even a mild threat) from the way the sword is placed (as if someone else put it there). Something isn’t quite out in the open here, just like the tiger is half hidden behind the king’s sleeve.

N may have some reservations and may want to think about things a bit more before he makes a decision about whether or not to let you look behind the curtains. I get a feeling he isn’t quite sure how much he can trust you.

I have a feeling you may need to bring some patience to this if you’re interested in peeling away the layers. You would also have to show (not tell) that you’re trustworthy. But even then you may not find what you thought you’d find.

The backs of the cards are very different in color, but they are both very reduced in their imagery. The first one is a deep blue with a yellow meandering border made out of tiny square spirals. The second one is a red circle made of four spiralling parts on a parchment-like background. I find it striking that a squarish spiral pattern appears in both of them! This suggests there is a common thread for the two of you, even if it’s expressed in very different ways and even if it’s not immediately obvious. If you manage to find that common thread, you may just have a really good beginning for something more.

I really hope this reading is useful to you. I don’t usually do readings that focus so little on opportunities for action, so I would like to add a bit of a disclaimer: I may have gotten it all wrong, so please don’t base your decision entirely on this reading! :)

Stuck on a project (reading with Shelley)

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I’ve gotten permission from three sitters to post the readings I did with Shelley, Bride of Frankendecken Tarot here on my blog. I will space them out a bit so the other two will be visible in a day or two. Thank you to all my sitters!

Edited to add: The special feature of readings with Shelley is that I include the card backs in the readings. After all, they’re all different, so they probably have something to add.

The first reading is for G. She asked:

What is holding me back in the project I am working on?

Two cards for you.

1. What is holding you back?Nine of Wands (University Books Rider Waite Tarot)

You have just realized that things are not as tidy as you would like them to be. Perhaps you haven’t planned as carefully as you could have, or maybe you only now see how things should fit together. You probably blame yourself for not getting it right from the get-go. And now you hesitate to invest even more energy because you’re frustrated that it didn’t turn out the way you wanted so far.

Maybe you also worry about what others will think about you because of the way your project appears. Especially in terms of drawing lines between here and there. Are you being too unconventional and fear you won’t be understood? Too suspicious of others who may set foot into your territory?

At any rate, something is giving you a headache and making you feel uneasy and defensive.

2. What can help you move forward?The Lovers (Victorian Romantic Tarot)

Sharing. Having someone else look at the project with fresh eyes and point out its wonders to you. Perhaps they will even lend a hand? Or maybe you need some guidance by someone more experienced/knowledgeable?

Getting into the middle of it, surrounding yourself with it, immerse yourself in it. Not considering anyone else’s opinion. (Yes, this is almost the opposite of the bit before. I believe there is a time for both.)

Remember (or imagine) how you want the project to look when it’s done. If it’s too far away from what you are able to make with your current resources (because a fence of irregularly hammered-in sticks will never miraculously transform itself into a Roman-esque stone railing), consider adjusting your expectations to what’s possible – or decide to abandon it altogether. In other words, be realistic about your capacities. Irregular wooden fences can be very charming in their own way…

Whatever you do, it’s time to make a decision. Are you going to move forward with it? Or are you going to let it go? Staying in limbo between these two choices won’t make things magically solve themselves.

A quick look at the first card back shows an ankh symbol (Egyptian for life) on what looks like drifts of sand (like in a desert). The other is a very busy, very detailed arrangement of women, vases, and vines surrounded by red squares. Tiny red hearts stand out in pairs of two.
To me, this emphasizes the need to get the “life force” of the project going again, and the hearts tell me that there are two things you could do to make that happen:
1. Find someone to support you and maybe even practically help you.
2. Determine why you wanted to do the project in the first place and try to find something about it to love. Even if it’s just the prospect of being done with it eventually (and a potential lesson in patience and endurance). ;)

I got a strong sense that this might indeed be about a project related to the outdoors (garden?) of your house. Or something else that’s practical and not so much a matter of mental activity. Also, it’s not some very itty-bitty detailed kind of project that would require a magnifying glass and a pair of tweezers.

Well, I hope this is useful and I’m curious to read your feedback! :)

Taking stock of the transition

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It seems a good time to look back on the past years during which my partner’s transition took place.  (Perhaps I should point out that drawing a finishing line here is a bit random since there really is no clear start or end to this process. Just some landmarks to attach meaning to.) At any rate, I also wanted to try out the spread I developed this week. I modified it a bit to better suit my current situation.

Note: I’m not going to explain everything the reading touched upon for me in depth, so please don’t assume that I thought of the same things as you do when you read it.

—–8—–
—6–7—
2–3–4–5
—–1—–

1. This symbolizes my partner’s transition seen through my eyes.Heart

It really hit me hard/heart. It put my love to the test. Emotional rawness.

It just went on and on and on, seemingly without end.

It was all about cutting open the chest – that’s where it started (with his desire to get rid of his female-looking breasts) and that’s where it ended (with this desire fulfilled).

It brought up the question of where my heart leads me many times. There has been a lot of pressure. And I (re)visited some places I’ve been at before, in a quasi-circle.

2. How the transition affected my sense of identity/how I feel about myself.Batter

I was practically put through the blender… Parts of me got broken open and reintegrated in new ways, other parts got discarded. I know the bees in the picture are supposed to symbolize sweetness, but today they rather feel like the flies from the Housewives Tarot’s Death card to me. And yes, there were parts of me that died, and not always a gentle and easy death.

The batter in the picture will probably end up as a delicious dish, but for now it’s in a preliminary, in-between state that’s neither here nor there – and that’s exactly how I feel (and have been feeling for a long time). So the real frying pan is still to come? And if so, should this make me feel hopeful or fearful or both?

3. How it affected how I feel about my partner/our relationship.Clean out Closet

Oh yeah, I really went through the whole damn thing, looking at every single item trying to decide whether to keep it or throw it away because it doesn’t fit anymore. The clothes rails have become rather empty at times when I felt there really wasn’t much I/we could still wear! As the heap of clothes on the floor indicates, this work isn’t done yet. The next step will be taking stock of what’s left, and deciding what “pieces” we need to replace with an updated version, which ones we need to exchange for something else entirely, and which ones we don’t need anymore at all.

For me, this card also already implies the issue of erotic attraction since clothing has had major symbolical value for both of us in that area. And I did literally change the way I dress and how I feel about clothes. Let’s just say that I didn’t exactly end up in a happy place with that, but I’m still hopeful that I can change that again. Possibly by literally going through my clothes.

And finally, there’s the closet as a metaphor for being out as whatever non-majority thing one is… I certainly had to change what I could truthfully come out about, and doing so became a whole lot more complicated than it ever was before (there just isn’t any short way to explain who I am and what we are together anymore). In this context, the untidy heap of stuff on the floor is all the messy and complicated things that I usually just left out of conversations. But not talking about them didn’t make them go away, and they kept (and keep) burdening me. Sometimes I really wish there was a simple way to tell the truth about us…

4. How it affected my sexuality/desire (for my partner and/or generally).Swimming

At some point I stopped trusting that the waters would carry me safely. I thought I had to conform to certain patterns (like the synchronized swimming that’s happening here), and that didn’t work well. And just as we never went swimming together (to be fair: this wasn’t entirely due to the chest situation), there wasn’t much desire/sexuality happening for me in the past few years.

There was very little playing around in an element that I both enjoy being in tremendously and that also scares the shit out of me. I definitely spent a lot of time being scared and therefore avoiding even the smallest kind of exploration. To be fair, I can’t even tell how much of that loss of libido was really caused by the transition and related issues, because life isn’t so cut and dry. It still happened around the same time as the transition, so I have a hard time separating the two occurences.

At any rate, I practically lost all of my libido, with few exceptions to that rule. And this wasn’t just about my partner and the ways he changed. I also rarely felt any attraction to anyone else (real or fictional) and basically stopped being interested in sex generally (which is quite a big change for someone who used to basically study sexuality only a few years before).

I hope that I can find a way to change all this because it doesn’t make me happy.

5. How it affected my relation to the queer community.Grandma’s Handbag

It made it something that didn’t belong to me and that I couldn’t relate to (my grandmother never had a mysteriously-exciting Hermione-Granger-ish handbag with all sorts of things to take care of small emergencies). Instead, I often felt like I was the “old” woman who kept telling stories about how much better the butch-femme past had been, when there wasn’t such an emphasis on transitioning and femmes still were considered a fundamental part of the community instead of being shoved to the edges of the new trans(masculine) scenes. I couldn’t identify with the concerns of the new generation of queers who in turn couldn’t care less for my concerns. It just made me feel inadequate, unattractive, outdated and out-of-touch. That resulted in me not going out anymore and even leaving an online community that had been my virtual living room for many years, which in turn didn’t help with feeling as if I belonged to the queer community.

6. What I can do to best take care of my own needs from now on.Kitchen Table

I obviously need to find me a community again. I’m sick and tired of being isolated and alone, of never feeling included, and of also thinking of myself as a horrible host and a not much better guest. Maybe I even need to consider ways to live that aren’t limited to two people in a relationship sharing a tiny apartment that is located somewhat outside of everything.

At any rate, I miss cooking together and spending hours sitting at the kitchen table, talking about anything and everything. I miss having guests, especially spontaneous ones.

I miss being part of a group that works together on creating something important to all its members. I have no idea where to find all that again, but this card really speaks volumes to me about the need to seriously look for it and help create it.

Of course this is also about having someone to talk to about all of this (which I have, and I’m tremendously grateful for those people), so that’s something I’ll definitely continue!

7. Where I will find support as I continue to deal with the changes that the transition brought.Hairdye

I’m grinning here because this reminds me of the joys of dying my hair in all the colors of the rainbow (although not usually at the same time) and the excitement because you never knew how it would look before it was done. It also makes me think of spending time on one’s outward appearance (including hair, clothes, make-up, and jewelry) and not considering that a waste of time at all. It’s been a looong time since I felt like that! So yeah, I can see how I would find support in front of my mirror, transforming myself into this or that or that.

Perhaps there really is a spiritual element to these kinds of transformations, as the halo-like glow around the hairdye suggests. It might be interesting to explore the intersections of spirituality and outward appearance (which really never is about how you look but how that makes you feel)…

Either way, this card suggests that I need to change myself, possibly with the help of others (try coloring hair that is nearly waist-long with henna on your own and you’ll see why you’ve been provided with some fellow human beings who can wield a dyeing brush!). I believe the goal is to both make apparent who I am “inside” and to help me enjoy my body and the many different ways to make it look again.

8. Summary of where his transition has taken me.Truck

Somewhere else! It has put me in a possibly permanent in-between state. It has put me in a situation where I had to pack up the essential things to take with me and leave the rest behind. There may be a new home waiting for me somewhere else where I want to settle down, but I may also end up being permanently “nomadic” – always changing locations but still having my own space to withdraw to when I need to.

I’m heartened by the fact that the truck has a winged heart on its door, which to me suggests that love needs to be free to go where it needs to. It also means love will be with me, whereever I go. And since I can’t drive, I’m probably not going alone here. ;)

Which brings me to the U-Haul theme of moving together, symbolizing entering a committed relationship. Well, we’ve moved together already several years ago, but there may be another level of commitment to each other that the transition has made apparent. If we can handle that kind of crisis together, we can probably handle a lot of other potential crises as well (not that the transition was the only major crisis we already went through together!).

The truck also speaks of carrying a heavy load from one place to another. And it has been a heavy load to carry at times.

Finally, the heart on the door ties the reading back to the heart in the first card, suggesting that it may have been the experience (the path) that was important, not the goal.

—–

Well, that was an interesting rollercoaster of a reading alright! I still think there’s more depth to the reading than I could access right now, so I think I’ll leave out the spread for a few more days.

I’m very happy to see that the deck reads wonderfully for me (especially since a reading I did for someone else this week was completely off), and that it works well in a bigger spread, too. It seems to be a deck where going down more than one path in reading each card actually helps instead of confusing matters. It seems to be extraordinarily suited to accepting contradictions and weird associations. And I still love, love, love the artwork!

Tarot spread for partners of transgender people

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A while ago, I found a tarot spread for transgender people (designed by nami) that dealt with their transition. I was immediately inspired to create a spread for partners of transgender people so they can check as well how any changes might impact them. Now I’m finally sitting down to do just that.

At first, I wanted to make one huge spread that included all potential steps and aspects of a transition. But that quickly seemed overwhelming and not very useful, especially since we’re talking about quite a long period of time here (let’s face it, transitioning is a rather drawn-out process, even if you’re lucky, and how we feel about things may well change during the process). So I decided to make a general spread that can be used for whatever is the next step someone’s transgendered partner is considering/going to take. You could still use it to read about the transition in general, though.

I strongly suggest not mixing this spread with questions about how to best support your partner, but to do a separate reading on that after you’ve clarified where you stand yourself.

This is because I’m operating on the assumption (drawn from my own experience and observations) that partners of trans people are most often cast only in the combined roles of supporter, sounding board, caretaker, cheerleader, main gender identity confirmer, and general safe haven (if we are cast in a positive light, that is). There is often very little space for us to talk about our own issues with our partner’s transition, especially if we feel less than cheerful about certain aspects of it. In fact, if we voice the slightest question or criticism, we often find ourselves being accused of being transphobic and unsupportive.

Therefore I would like to acknowledge that trans partners often find ourselves in a position where we decide to stay with a partner through their transition (or at least start out the process with them) and then are subject to a whole list of unforeseen side effects of that decision, not all of which are fun and easy for us (even if they are a reason to celebrate for our partners). We may have doubts or fears or even plain old stupid prejudices, and we need to work through that in our own ways for the sake of our own health and sanity (and also occasionally for the sake of our relationships). Even if we are wholeheartedly supportive of the transition and the changes it’s bringing, we may still have things to say goodbye to and grieve about. I hope this tarot spread is one more resource that is useful for doing just this kind of work.

That said, I believe the spread can easily be adapted to be of use to a trans person themselves. Of course it could also be adapted for friends, family, or other people in the trans person’s environment who want to reflect on their own role in the process (in that case, you might want to change position 5 to something else or leave it out altogether). All it takes for either adaptation is a few changes to the wording of the spread positions.

So, here it finally is. The spread for dealing with your trans partner’s next transition step.

The layout is shaped like an arrow to emphasize that transitioning is a process, not a fixed state.

—–9—–
—7–8—
3–4–5–6
—–2—–
—–1—–

You could also lay it out sideways:

——-3——
——-4–7—
1–2———9
——-5–8—
——-6——

  1. This symbolizes the next step of your partner’s transition (e.g. dressing differently, name/pronoun change, taking hormones, having surgery) seen through your eyes.
  2. How you can best prepare for the next step.
  3. How this step affects your sense of identity/how you feel about yourself.
  4. How this step affects how you feel about your partner/your relationship.
  5. How this step affects your sexuality/desire (for your partner and/or generally).
  6. How this step affects your relation to the community (draw more than one card if there is more than one important community/family/group that is relevant here).
  7. What you can do to best take care of your own needs while this next step is happening.
  8. Where you will find support as you deal with the changes that the next step brings.
  9. Summary of where the next step is going to take you.

I’d love to hear what you think, even if you’re neither transgender yourself nor a partner or loved one of a trans person. Is this spread useful to do what I meant it to do? Is an important aspect lacking? Are there spread positions that could be renamed or removed? Is this applicable to a wide range of trans people’s partners (because a lesbian whose girlfriend transitions into a life as a man will find herself in a different situation with different concerns than a married woman whose husband transitions into life as a woman)? What do you think?