Psychosynthesis Tarot Spread


A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to have a psychological Tarot reading by my good friend Zorian Cross, author of the excellent Tarot blog, the Tarot Quest. I was totally blown away by this reading, and not just the Tarot spread, which probed deep into my psyche, but by the way Zorian reads Tarot. He is amazing, his skills are exceptional and I can’t rave enough about him. Seek him out and buy a reading from him – I absolutely guarantee you will be as astounded as I was.

The reading itself was done on Skype through instant messaging and while I’ve edited out a lot of our conversation – we can talk for England about anything, I’ve kept the format of our back and to conversation to give you a flavour of how the reading developed and, despite this being a very personal reading for me (why am I always bearing my soul?), it remains chatty and lighthearted.

Adapting Psychosynthesis for Tarot

The spread itself is a creation of Zorian’s. He has been studying the work of the late Roberto Assagioli, called Psychosynthesis. It would take far too long to explain his theories and models, and I would probably do a very bad job of it too! However, you can find explanations of his work, there are plenty of organisations on the internet that actively employ his model, but for an introduction to his work, the Psychosynthesis page at Wikipedia is a good place to begin.

The layout of the spread is a loose adaptation of Assagioli’s Psychosynthesis Egg Diagram, pictured above, a visual representation of Psychosynthesis.

My Psychosynthesis Tarot Reading

by Zorian Cross

The Psychosynthesis model calls on 7 levels of consciousness in the “formation or reconstruction of the personality around a new center” (Assagioli) . Those levels of consciousness are listed below, along with the Tarot cards that fell in those positions during the reading.

Zorian used the stunningly beautiful Legacy of the Divine by Ciro Marchetti

  1. The Lower Unconscious – Ace of Swords
  2. The Middle Unconscious – 5 of Wands
  3. The Higher Unconscious – 3 of Coins
  4. The Field of Consciousness – 8 of Wands
  5. The Conscious Self or “I” – The World
  6. The Higher Self – Queen of Wands
  7. The Collective Unconscious – which shall be revealed at the end of the reading

The Lower Unconscious – Ace of Swords

Zorian
It’s interesting because the Ace of Swords represents our mind and intellect at it’s peak, and it’s something you probably pride yourself upon, as well as your ability to communicate through almost every medium. Yet… this card has come in a position that is associated with the experiences of shame, fear, pain, despair and rage associated with primal wounding suffered in life.

Perhaps it could represent on some level you tend to be a bit too harsh with yourself, maybe certain incidents in your childhood made you feel insecure about yourself in terms of ‘intelligence’ or ‘worth’, perhaps you were too strict with yourself, or maybe never really received the kind of positive reinforcement for your achievements from the world around you.

(…am I making sense so far or just talkin rubbish?…)

Catherine
Crikey, you’re making perfect sense, and that last paragraph was a recent conversation with a friend! I often devalue my own intelligence and am insecure around intelligent people, yet I’m hugely attracted to intelligence in a person too. I find the whole intelligence issue a ‘double-edged sword’ because I am intelligent, yet I feel inferior around other intelligent people. I think there’s some Virgo crap in there too – having to be the best at everything and when I don’t know something, I feel shown up. But I cant know everything about everything can I?

Zorian
Lol… perhaps so. Well, along with all that, if you take a look at the entire spread so far, there’s no Water whatsoever. No Cups, not even a ‘water major’, and considering Swords tend to be ‘dry’, and with the Ace coming in Lower Consciousness, perhaps on some level you feel a sense of being unloved since a young age.. not to say you weren’t, but it somehow never did make you feel too close or complete with people… maybe on some level you chose to stay aloof due to your own insecurities about your intelligence, but maybe that was due to the fact that you never received that kind of ‘nourishing love’ from home or close environment that most of the ‘other kids’ usually did.

Catherine
I had a wonderfully nourishing childhood. However, both of my parents are very intelligent and I can be a bit dippy and I remember wondering if I would ever be as intelligent as them. My father always felt I was capable of great things and that I would someday pursue an ‘executive’ career. I wondered how I might pull that off seeing how dippy and forgetful I can be and so the complex can come from there. I’ve held a deep seated notion that he’s not proud of me and that one day I will make him proud of me, in my own way.

Zorian
Aaaahhh… could that perhaps represent the insecurity and lack of ‘water’? The fear of not being able to make your Dad proud, and perhaps you perceiving yourself to be dippy and forgetful to really achieve your father’s ‘vision’ of what you ‘could’ be?

Catherine
No doubt. It was only in marriage counselling (that I went to on my own, would you believe..) that it came to light that all my ‘failures’ were ridiculous attempts to be who I thought my father wanted me to be. Once I dropped that notion, things became easier for me, but I still carry all this crap around.

Zorian
Well, if you notice in the Ace of Swords image, eagles are soaring high way beyond the clouds… this also being the sole ‘air’ card so far, shows us that the fears you are holding onto (cause at the end of the day, we all ‘hold onto’ our fears and other icky things that stop us from progressing) are the things that are holding you back. You are way more smarter than you think you are, and you haven’t really been giving yourself your due credit at all… whatever the reason may be for that.. it’s mainly due to inner negative (or not so positive) reinforcement that you’re hindering your actual progress in life. Rather than focusing on your skills and abilities, you’re focusing more on the areas you feel you lack in, and maybe perhaps always tend to ‘wait for the other shoe to drop’ whenever good things come your way.

Furthermore, since Swords are also about ‘communication’, maybe that’s what’s missing, a clear channel of communication between the various parts of your ‘self’ (Body, mind, soul, spirit)… maybe once that’s open, not only will you be able to understand yourself on various levels better, but also be able to heal the so-called wounds that have been left by the past, often self-created. Also, you’ll be able to communicate with the world around you (and the ‘universe’) how wonderful and amazing your intelligence, talents and skills are, enabling you to define your true goals and objectives and realize that your father will always be proud of you, but the person who needs to be proud of you first is you yourself.

The Middle Unconscious – 5 of Wands

Zorian
Take a look at the card image and let me know what you see in it.

Catherine
Holy crap! Looks like the battle for Middle Earth!

Zorian
Lol, yes it does, but if you look closely, the 5 men are part of the very same tree. In fact, you could say, they are the trees branches. Now as we have seen, there is absolutely ‘no water’ within the spread. Now, what happens when a tree receives plenty of sunshine and air, but no water at all?

Catherine
Well it will wither.

Zorian
Yes, now, the Middle Unconscious is the realm where we develop our various skills, attitudes, understanding, and abilities to deal with our day-to-day life, which is why Assagioli felt this is closest to our ‘self’. Perhaps the lack of nourishment we talked about earlier is basically from yourself… it’s almost like rather than motivating or nurturing yourself to move on, your critical nature tends to make you feel as though you’re competing perpetually (either with others, or with yourself) and thus it begins a vicious cycle of sorts, where you tend to criticize to a fault, feel bad about it, but then criticize yourself for feeling bad about it.. going on and on… there by limiting any self-nurturing influences within your life.

Catherine
The internal conflict is a familiar one and I am hard on myself.

Zorian
Do you often compare yourself with others unfairly?

Catherine
Yes, all the time. I’ve even compared myself to you as a reader during this reading and decided that you’re a way better reader than me!

Zorian
Awww… honey, I’m flattered, but again.. please don’t be so hard on yourself. By being so, you’re truly robbing yourself of your own amazing potential to be the best you can be and there truly is a whole lot within you that needs to shine (cards ahead reveal that) but until you stop reinforcing yourself negatively, and stop crippling yourself with constant criticism, you’ll be forever holding yourself back from progressing. Love yourself enough to water the roots of your tree, so that the world can see how beautiful the flowers you bear, and how juicy the fruits you produce.

Catherine
I agree, but…

Zorian
It may seem harder than it sounds, you’ve been doing it for such a long time, that giving yourself the encouragement you deserve and ‘water’ you truly need would seem like a strange foreign concept… However.. the slightest step towards it can be the beginning of a whole new life-cycle.. after all, the journey of a 1000 miles does begin with a single step.. focus on each step at a time, rather than obsessing about the 1000 miles ahead of you… and with each step, remind yourself of the beautiful goal that awaits you at the end.

The Higher Unconscious – 3 of Coins

Zorian
LegacyCoins3Okay, the Higher Unconscious, or our superconscious denotes our highest potentials which seek to express themselves but we often repress. This card is the card of Perfected Work… if you look at the image, the goldsmith is taking his own sweet time carving his pentacle, making sure everything is perfect. He’s doing it at his own time and pace, sure it’s time consuming and it’s ‘ageing him’… but the only difference between you and him is he’s not stressing out or freakin’ out about it… he’s enjoying himself as he does it. Also.. if we see this card astrologically, it’s Mars in Capricorn.. it’s only in Capricorn where Mars is exalted, and thus the violent yet incredibly potent energy of Mars is channeled in a productive and pragmatic manner of Capricorn enabling one to achieve even the greatest task in an easy and simple manner, as long as it’s done patiently and most importantly, with pleasure… Capricorn may be the task master, but he derives pleasure from his work. Maybe that’s what’s missing … you need to find the ‘bliss’ and ‘fun and pleasure’ in your work and whatever else you do rather than focus on the stress and worry about all the flaws and things that can go wrong.

Catherine
That’s certainly true of late. With the blog and other projects, its been all work work work. I’ve enjoyed it – but it has taken over life to the expense of everything else, so perhaps a rethink on how I approach things and definitely how I view things.

The Field of Consciousness – 8 of Wands

Zorian
Okay… now this is the influence of your conscious world around you… i.e. how you feel your world (family, friends, society, work, etc etc) influences you. Well… no wonder you feel so tired and all… you’re being chased by everything. Too many things going on, too many responsibilities, too many ideas. Sure, it’s fun, it’s exciting and it keeps you on your toes, just the way you like it, but… at the end of the day.. you’re spreading yourself way too thin to able to truly give the total amount of dedication deserved to every area.. especially yourself.

Catherine
I agree. Things happen thick and fast around me, especially lately, but I’ve encouraged that I think too. Part of that ‘I can do anything and everything’ routine – look how wonderful I am – but feeling the pull of it way too much, being all things to everyone will always take its toll.

Zorian
Hmmm… okay, blunt question.. but are you a commitment-phobe?

Catherine
I always thought I was a commitment-phobe, but I know I’m not. I discovered that recently.

Zorian
Well… maybe that’s why you’re spreading yourself too thin, you ‘think’ you’re a commitment-phobe, hence feel that spreading yourself thin would enable you to tip toe into every area… only to discover that eventually you sink all the way in, and then the ‘burden’ of the ‘commitment’ towards that thing becomes all the more heavier.

Catherine
Yes I can see that. I’m a single parent with a mortgage and all sorts of responsibilities without the ones I add to the mix – I already cover a lot of bases.

Zorian
The best way to solve this out is to follow the message of the 3 of Coins… focus at one thing at a time, and be patient with things, and enjoy yourself while doing the task. Covering all bases all the time in a frantic and hectic manner may get things done, but it’s not really helping you in your own personal development. Plus, it wrecks havoc on the skin (believe me I know). Learning to find your inner ‘zen-self’ and be able to organize and segregate tasks and areas so that you can focus on them one at a time, without taking on too much .. as well as, being able to do things with ‘fun’ (so important for you to have fun), doing so will totally help you avoid the cycle of chaos, and thus enable you to give your full potential within each and every area of your life.

Catherine
I’m not very organised, never have been, or been any good at time management. But have made a business plan and outlined the things I need to do become more productive with my time while still having time for things outside of the blog and so the 3 of Coins is a bit of a lesson even in this position. The 8 of Wands is what I’m doing, the 3 of Coins is what I need to do.

Zorian
Indeedy. Now remember, Mercury (your ruling planet) is at it’s weakest in Sagittarius (8 of Wands is Mercury in Sagittarius) while Mars is strongest and most organized and potent in Capricorn (Mars in Capricorn)

Catherine
Wow – doesn’t that all just fit in perfectly!

Zorian
Totally right?

Catherine
Totally

The Conscious Self or “I” – The World

Zorian
Okay… now the “I” is basically the direct ‘reflection’ or ‘projection’ of the Self. You’re like Superwoman, helping everyone in need. You’re everywhere whenever needed, every time; always got the right answer, always got the right suggestion, always helping everyone; putting everyone’s need before your own, zipping zapping here and there. No wonder the field of consciousness is 8 of Wands… you’re so eager to just do everything and anything that comes your way, that you actually tell the universe..’bring it on, I can handle it.’

Catherine
Yes, and how much of that is a vain attempt to show my Dad he can be proud of me, which in turn shows myself that I’m worthy?

Zorian
Exactly!… Which is why, this is a ‘projection’ of yourself.

Catherine
And when I fail, because I’ve taken on too much, I’ll berate myself and reinforce my insecurities.

Zorian
Isn’t that so very Saturn-like of you (Saturn – the World)?

Catherine
Yes, and it’s also a totally ridiculous way to see things and do things!

Zorian
Look at the card – it may seem like a Triumphant one, but if we take another look… the figure is ‘trapped’ in the Zodiacal wheel of life.

Catherine
He’s also run out of time.

Zorian
Exactly. Not so Super-woman like now is he? So in a way, in the vain hope of being ever so ‘super’, you’ve in a way become a ‘slave’ (Saturn) to your own circumstances (Saturn again)

Catherine
And the irony is I did all of this myself.

Zorian
Indeedy. All because you wanted to prove you’re worthy to Daddy, and prove to yourself you’re smart enough.

The Higher Self – Queen of Wands

Catherine
I love the Queen of Wands – she rocks!

Zorian
Totally, hence she’s your Higher Self. Look at this queen… she’s smart, sassy, confident, bold, ballsy, sexy, mysterious, fit, and fierce all in one. This my dear is the ‘true you’, this is the higher self. The only difference between ‘you’ and ‘her’ is that she treats herself like the goddess she is.. and refuses to let herself believe otherwise. Can you imagine this Queen being a slave to circumstance? Never! She’ll make circumstances her slave!

Catherine
And therein lies the problem – she refuses to let herself believe otherwise. Somewhere inside I feel there’s an arrogance to that and it sits outside of me. I would pin that on my Catholic upbringing; that its not spiritual to be so into yourself.

Zorian
Well, some might call it arrogance.. she calls it a healthy dose of self-esteem.

Catherine
It’s a fine line between her self esteem and a rampaging ego.

Zorian
Let’s go back to astrology: the Queen of Wands is Aries, Aries is ruled by Mars, Mars is exalted (at it’s peak) in Capricorn.. Mars in Capricorn is 3 of Coins, which is your Higher Unconscious, hence the reason why the Queen is a total rockin’ goddess Queen is because she does the things she loves and while doing so, she appreciates her divinity and herself!

Catherine
The astrology has played a big part in the reading hasnt it?

Zorian
Well, this is why I always encourage people to know at least a basic level of astrology while learning tarot.. it helps the readings, and as you can see, it can be pretty intuitive 😀

Catherine
I agree. My astrology is a little less than basic, timing is about my limit and of course the zodiacal associations.

Zorian
Now now now… don’t go about 5 of Wanding yourself.

Catherine
Lol, I hear you.

Zorian
Okay, remember card 7 is a surprise?

Catherine
Yes

The Collective Unconscious – The Fool

Zorian
See the image?

Catherine
The same guy as the World, but not chained – he’s liberated.

Zorian
Indeedy. Here, the World is your Oyster; and look at his Jack in the box that’s open, all the majors are flying out. Particularly, the Magician showing you can manifest anything you desire.. the High Priestess showing you your true inner powers.. The Empress reminding you to nourish yourself.. the Emperor to tell you that your approval matters more than Daddy’s and the Hierophant, reminding you to have faith in yourself and the Universe and everything will work out fine and dandy 😀

Catherine
Thank you Zorian, you are an angel 😀

Zorian
Thank you (((((((((((((((((HUG)))))))))))))))))))

Closing Thoughts

Some psychology will naturally unfold during a Tarot reading, especially the predictive type. We may be looking for certainty, but we also examine the reasons why we find ourselves in such a place. A Tarot spread and reading such as the Psychosynthesis spread doesn’t seek to find any outcome and so removes the predictive element leaving it purely psychological, exploring ourselves and our motives – hidden and acknowledged. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole process even though it delved into some very personal stuff, it was more ‘lightbulbs’ than ‘daggers’ in looking at myself.

Despite being very good friends with Zorian, we have never met. Our friendship began on Facebook, and even though we chat regularly on Skype, there are many things we don’t know about each other. It’s testament to his reading abilities and skill as a Tarot reader that produced such outstanding results. Not to mention his Psychosynthesis Tarot Spread – I will be adding this one to my own library of Tarot spreads, such is my faith in this spread.

I’ve long been a fan of self-exploration and self-development, and this spread certainly goes deeply into those areas, exposing misunderstanding, lack of understanding and shining a light where previously there was only dark corners coveting the secrets of inappropriate behaviours, thought patterns and reactions.

This Tarot reading has been a defining and enlightening experience to the extent that I have changed many aspects of my life because of it – it’s that good.

Catherine
 

See more of the gorgeous Legacy of the Divine (Llewellyn) in the Tarot Deck Gallery
 

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17 thoughts on “Psychosynthesis Tarot Spread”

    1. Hi Doug,

      I found it a little disconcerting to see how quickly, easily and accurately Zorian interpreted my reading. I learned a lot that day, and not just about myself 😉

      Thanks for stopping by, nice to see you here again.

      Like

    2. Hi Doug,
      Thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed reading the post. Catherine was so lovely to allow me to read for her. It was an experimental spread, and I hadn’t used it on anyone before. Catherine bravely (and lovingly) volunteered, and the results were magickal.

      Thank you for your comment.
      xoxo
      Z

      Like

  1. What a great reading! I like the spread and in fact may well try it out for myself – now can I be objective enough for myself, that is the question? 🙂

    Zorian has a great reading style.

    Like

    1. Hi Helen – the Psychosynthesis Spread is fabulous isn’t it?! I was a little nervous about revealing such a personal reading, but, in order for people to see how deep this reading can go, I felt it important for them to see that first hand.

      Zorian is a terrific Tarot reader, and friend. I feel very privileged to have connected with him, as I do with all my global, online buddies – yourself included. What a wonderful world this really is 🙂

      Thank you for another lovely comment Helen 🙂

      Like

    2. Aw, thank you Helen, I’m so glad you enjoyed the post.

      Personally, being objective during a personal reading is an area that’s a lil tough for me. However, over the years, I learned that whenever I write about a self reading, addressing myself in the ‘second person’ narrative, it automatically becomes all the more objective. This way, it feels you’re writing a reading for another sitter.

      Thank you for your love and support
      xoxo
      Z

      Like

  2. Dear Catherine,

    Bless your heart for sharing your personal experience for the benefit of all of us. Thank you for your courage and generosity. A reading really can complement the deep exploration that counseling provides. I loved the fact that the collective unconscious card was The Fool. It is as if you have a direct line to cosmic energy and awareness. Do you work with your dreams? Based on this card/position, dream work could be a powerful resource for you.

    Dear Zorian

    I resonate with your Psychosynthesis layout and see the profound value in the components and synthesis of this spread. It would be very interesting to exchange and compare our two similar spreads and styles, mine being the “Transformative Tarot Counseling™” layout. It is based on the work of Drs. Arnold and Amy Mindell and Process Work, a Jungian derived psychotherapy.

    Blessings and appreciation to you all,
    Katrina

    Like

    1. Hi Katrina – thank you for such a warm and appreciative comment. I was nervous about publishing such a personal reading, but as I said in my reply to Helen’s comment, I felt it was valuable for people to see how great this spread is and how much can be gained from it. It’s also important I feel, to show that it wasn’t at all painful. There were pennies dropping every where!

      The original conversation was a rather large one and I had to really do a tough editing job to bring it down to publishing size. There were some unfortunate casualties to that, namely Zorian and I discussing the imagery on the cards. The Legacy of the Divine is a beautiful deck with more depth than is apparent on first looking.

      I don’t do any dream work, though I meditate and channel well. In my book, Beyond the Celtic Cross, we included some of the visions and meditations I had during that time. I’m sad to say I’ve been so busy lately that I have neglected that side of my spiritual life. I have a singing bowl which I love to use, if for no other reason than to simply drift away. I often wake up with a start having found myself having visions and dreams. Perhaps I should keep a journal of them?

      Thank you for stopping by Katrina, it’s lovely to see you here again 🙂

      Like

    2. Thank you Katrina, I’m so happy you enjoyed the post.

      However, the true credit goes to Catherine for trusting me enough to be so candid during her reading, that too on an experimental spread. Catherine is such a lovely and supportive friend, and has always been a source of inspiration in so many ways,

      I would so love to exchange and compare our spreads and styles. I’ve visited your site and have always been fascinated by your work.

      Thank you so much
      xoxo
      Z

      Like

  3. Thank you for sharing such a deeply personal reading. I really enjoyed reading the exchange between you and Zorian – not to mention the insights he tapped into. This is a great spread!

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    1. Hi Theresa – I’m glad you enjoyed this reading. Zorian is fabulous, a total natural. The spread he adapted is a great reflection of his ability to bring higher ideals to an easier understanding, something he does with ease and aplomb 🙂

      Thanks for you comment 🙂

      Like

    2. Thank you Theresa, I’m so happy you enjoyed the reading. The true credit goes to Catherine for being such an amazing ‘seeker’ and trusting me so much. One of the biggest elements to an amazing reading is when you have a seeker who trusts the reader and keeps an open mind. In Catherine’s case, her love made it all the more amazing.

      Thank you so much
      xoxo
      Z

      Like

  4. Hey everyone,

    Thank you so much for all your wonderful comments. I’m truly blessed you all enjoyed reading through our reading.

    However, the true credit definitely goes to Catherine. She has always been such an amazing source of love and inspiration. Always trusting my vision, and encouraging me to reach for the stars.

    When I created the spread, Catherine was so kind and enthusiastic to try it out (even though I hadn’t experimented on it with anyone else), and the fact that she trusted me enough to help make the reading so deep by sharing such candid details, made it all the more a joy to read for her.

    The connection we felt the day of the reading was truly magickal, and I’m so happy you all enjoyed the results of our endeavor.

    Thank you all so much once again. And thank you Catherine for everything!

    xoxo
    Z

    PS: I apologize for the super-late replies. I took a sabatical from all things blog-related as I was focusing on some aspects of my personal life.

    Like

  5. Hi
    I only discovered Catherine’s wonderful blog this week. I have tried this spread and it is SO REVEALING. (I dealt the 9 of Cups, The Devil and 4 of Cups into the first three positions using the Thoth deck and they have ‘explained’ so much that has been going on at a subconsciouos level for me!)
    Thank you both.

    Peredur

    Like

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