Logical Levels Tarot Spread


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Anyone who is familiar with NLP will also likely be familiar with the Logical Levels model. This model, made popular by Robert Dilts, looks at how a person can make changes to their goals, life and dreams by examining 6 levels, or predefined areas that Dilts believes need to be congruent, or in alignment with each other for a person to be able to fulfill their desires and goals.

These 6 levels explore the areas of human thought and behaviour based on beliefs and your sense of self. It’s a seemingly simple model, mocked by some in NLP but hailed by others. I personally think it’s great introduction work into looking at yourself, or your goals and desires. It helps you identify where you are in, or out, of alignment with what you want to achieve. The levels are stacked because it’s believed that those at the lower levels are easier to change than those at the higher levels, ie, changing your environment or a behaviour is thought to be easier than changing your sense of self or identity.*

It’s thought that a change made at a higher level affects the lower levels; though change made at the lower levels doesn’t necessarily affect the higher levels. This is one of the criticisms of this model because of it’s hierarchical nature – some say that all levels should be equal, the sum part of the whole (you). What I have found during the testing phase of translating this into a Tarot Spread, is that this model as a Tarot Spread is in fact heterarchical; that is, the levels overlap and can accommodate multi-directional movement. For example, a change in your environment may indeed affect your behaviour.

Here’s a general image of Dilts’ model:

What’s most interesting, and at first confusing about the 6 levels in this model is that they are presented in a stack (levels), or as Dilts illustrates it, in a pyramind. Spirit sits at the top while the Environment is positioned on the bottom. The confusion comes in when we begin to examine those levels – we begin at the bottom, although our eyes naturally scan down from the top.

Let’s look a little closer at the individual levels

Environment
This level represents where you live, your surroundings, your community, your family, your work etc. It can also represent your inner environment, your thoughts and feelings.

If you were looking to improve your health and fitness, you would look to your environment to see if your family and friends were supportive of your goal. It would also look to see if you lived close to a health club, classes or gymnasium, or indeed if your house itself could accommodate some basic equipment to help you.

Behaviour
Your behaviour is what you do or don’t do, as the case may be. These can be deliberate behaviours or unconscious ones and will include habits, your daily routine, if you are decisive or procrastinate etc.

Keeping with the health example, we could look at what behaviours you already do or actions you take to help in improving your health. Do you eat healthily or do you have a penchant for junk food? Do you even exercise at all? Do you take the stairs instead of the lift at work? Are you behaivours helping or hurting?

Capabilities
This is all about the how in life. How you do the things you do, your skill set and knowledge. Your capabilities will determine whether you can take on a new job or fitness regime, or if you need to acquire the necessary skills. For example, do you know enough about nutrition to make the right food choices? Do you understand the workings of your body so you can get the most out of your new regime?
Beliefs and Values
At this higher level, beliefs and values determine why you behave in a certain way, why you live where you do, why you are employed in the job you dislike. They shape our understanding of why things may appear impossible or possible to us. You make a judgement based on a belief and then follow that with an action, or behaviour and feel justified in your actions and assessment of the situation. This level will show whether you have a healthy attitude to money or if you put others before yourself, based on a ‘moral’ belief that actions like those are the right and proper ones.
Indentity
This level represents your sense of self, the who you are. Many of us take things personally because we feel that who we are is being attacked. If you feel criticised at this level, it’s most likely that you will defend yourself rigorously. Equally, doing something against your identity, or who you see yourself to be, will leave you feeling that you have betrayed yourself. The indentity level can represent you, as a single person, or a relationship, or group etc. It’s also at this level that you will be able to see the other levels at play.
Spirit
Spirit is at the highest level and represents our connectedness to the universe. It can represent the bigger picture of our lives, our higher selves, our mission or higher purpose, our spirituality. I have found this level also represents the ‘truer’ identity, the one we don’t necessarily acknowledge or see. When we look at changing specific things in our lives, this level often delivers a surprise in how we are seen or known by the Universe and the Tarot, not necessarily how we see ourselves – as I found out when I explored a health based question using this model.

So how does that relate to Tarot?

As the model of the Logical Levels stand, it translates into a fantastic Tarot spread if you want to examine where you are in your life right now. It provides an insightful snapshot of the here and now, the crux of who you are, what your capabilities are, your higher self, your core beliefs, your behaviours and whether your environment is conducive to your current path or development.

Each level can be seen as a ‘position’ in a spread, and each tarot card that lands in that position is your insight into where you are in relation to that level. Any ‘difficult’ cards can be seen to show a ‘chink’ in your alignment to achieving your goals. Don’t worry if you have some less than pleasant cards in your readings, they are doing you a favour by highlighting where you need to focus your attention. This also applies if you are doing a spiritual or general reading like the one below.

Although the original model is a vertical stack, the Logical Levels Tarot Spread is better presented horizontally as it’s more space conscious. If you want to keep with the original model, then by all means stack the cards in your reading.

We are tapping into your unconscious self with this tarot spread and exploration, which is one of the reasons why it works so well with tarot. When you work with this spread, make sure you use a deck you are very familiar with and one that contains a lot of symbology – the language of the unconscious. This is one tarot reading where you want to read the pictures and symbols as well as interpreting the traditional divinatory definitions of the cards.

The Logical Levels Tarot Spread

To show you the effectiveness of this seemingly simple tarot spread, I did a reading for myself and using the Legacy of the Divine, simply asked the Tarot :

Using the Logical Levels Model, where am I in my life right now?

The cards I drew were:

  1. Environment – 7 of Swords
  2. Behaviours – The World
  3. Capabilities – 6 of Wands
  4. Beliefs and Values – The Hermit
  5. Identity – 9 of Cups
  6. Spirit – Strength

Here’s a brief summary of my reading, using language to help you understand how the tarot cards relate to the positions and the levels they fall in. For a more in depth look at what this tarot reading means for me, please see the end of this post.

I’m living in a 7 of Swords environment where I’m behaving as the World using my 6 of Wands capabilities based on my beliefs as the Hermit. I see myself as the 9 of Cups but am in reality more akin to Strength.

Closing thoughts

The Logical Levels were designed to help you align to your goals, though I have used them here to better understand myself and find out where I am in my life. Join me in the next post, where I will show you just how effective the Logical Levels Tarot Spread is at helping you see where you may be out of alignment with the goals and dreams you are trying to achieve, and indeed, if you are already in alignment with them, as I found out after asking a series of questions about my own personal quests.

In depth analysis of my tarot reading

To see a full size image of the cards in the spread, just click on the thumbnails

Environment

7 of Swords – Well this was a turn up for the books! I really don’t feel that I’m in a dangerously deceptive place, or that those around me would seek to deceive me. I have a rather unsettled situation that I must deal with and I also have a legal matter that is being dealt with regarding one area of my environment. So this card, while not the best, is telling me of a potentially unsavoury situation, or someone, that I need to be very alert to. I’ve got my eye on that Magpie too & am taking stock of my jewellery as we speak.

Behaviour

The World – Are my behaviours all over the place? Or am I acting like I’m on top of the world? My feeling from this card is that my behaviours are many and congruent with my current situation. To help me understand this card better I would ask myself how am I acting in relation to this card. The World in the Legacy deck shows the Fool surrounded by the signs of the zodiac, reinforcing the idea that I’m currently able to behave, or act according to my environment. Thinking about the Environment card, the 7 of Swords, then my Worldly actions are ‘big’ enough to deal with whatever unpleasantness may be around me.

I did this spread a couple of weeks ago and received the 6 of Cups in this position – and interpreted it to mean that I was being sentimental about most things and acting in emotion. I have been doing some growth work since then and am really pleased to see the World here now, seems like my hard work is beginning to pay off.

Capabilities

6 of Wands – I saw this card and wondered what capabilities it showed me – horse riding? I’ve never ridden a horse, so it’s not that. Then I thought, ah, this is a general reading and so I shouldn’t be looking for anything specific here. So with that in mind, this card says to me that I have a lot of skills, capabilities and knowledge to do the things I’m planning, successfully. Coupled with the World card this combination is very reassuring.

Beliefs and Values

The Hermit – Beliefs and values are inward thoughts that express themselves in our actions – outwardly. It’s interesting to have the Hermit here considering how much growth work I’ve been doing, it seems that on a very inner level I’m protecting, and keeping inward, my beliefs and values. Perhaps I’m even holding onto some very tightly that I should be letting go of?

On a practical level, I believe the Hermit shows a shift in my beliefs to be more spiritually than materially based, despite the Hermit being an earth card. He is very grounding and not flighty at all and represents to me, Sensible Spirituality and ties in with my recent growth work. He also represents Virgo and I am a Virgo sun so I have an affinity with this guy. What’s interesting is what happens in the Spirit Level.

Indentity

9 of Cups – Ah the cutsie, rose coloured glasses remain. I see myself as, or in, the 9 of Cups. It’s a beautiful image in the Legacy deck and speaks to me of abundance, but in a celebratory way (reminds me of the 6 of Wands). It’s still an ’emotion’ card, but is now the more stable 9 suggesting I have a better handle on my emotions and in such a way as to be able to share them freely. I must also remember this is how I see myself – and not necessarily how others see me – this is a reflection I like though and would like to keep it!

Spirit

Strength – And so onto my core and how the Universe and the Tarot see me, who I really am right now under all the layers I’ve placed over myself. Before we go any further though, I want to refer back to the reading I mentioned earlier. In that reading, in this position, I pulled the 6 of Wands meaning it’s all about me! Adoration and adulation – I was horrified! I though OMG – I’m selfish and shallow and all the negatives I could think of. But the 6 of Wands isn’t really like that, not all the negatives, though it was the very card that prompted me to pursue some inner searching and some outward work – the growth work I’ve been talking about.

Seeing the Strength card now fall here is personally very satisfying and suggests that I’ve got a handle on my fiery ego in the best possible way. The 6 of Wands is also attributed to Leo and so to receive the Strength card (also Leo) shows the growth that has taken place within a couple of weeks, going from a minor card to a major archetypal one. From that personal growth work, I have been able to begin to temper my fire and direct it. I see the Strength card as the fire equivalent to the Hermit, grounding, strong and controlled and yet gentle and receptive.

And the interesting tease from the Beliefs Level?

In my natal astrology chart, the Hermit is my Sun Sign and the Strength card is my Rising Sign – which they say is your true face. I’ve often found it hard to temper the Maiden and the Lion, feeling extremes within myself but am now feeling reassured that I’m beginning to find the balance in two very strong archetypal characters – both of whom I resonate with. I think I’m only just learning to assimilate them and appreciate their strength of character and their archetypal nature. It’s so far been quite a journey.

 
Catherine
 

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*There is much debate in the NLP community as to whether this model is sound or, as I have read in many articles, that many believe the model doesn’t fit NLP criteria. It’s an interesting debate and many good arguments are presented. I have taken many of these on board but feel that Dilts’ model is in actual fact a great creation for exploring yourself and life using tarot and its symbology.

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27 thoughts on “Logical Levels Tarot Spread”

  1. I’m living in a Hierophant environment where I’m behaving as the Fool using my Page of Wands capabilities based on my beliefs as the Ace of Pentacles. I see myself as the Lovers but am more akin to 6 of Pentacles.

    Truly an insightful spread you’ve created Ms. Chapman!

    The Hierophant environment is certainly true – learning lots of lessons about self and how I relate to others. The Fool feels absolutely right – taking leaps of faith with innocent trust, while the Page of Wands’s excited curiosity lights up the sky. How I see myself – Lovers – integrating opposites, working with others, blending seemingly unrelated parts but am really the 6 of Pentacles – – that’s the one I must think about.

    Thanks for the marvelous spread!

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    1. Hi Nancy – well don’t you have it going on!

      You seem pretty in alignment to me and your 6 of Pentacles I feel is right on the money (yes, pun intended!)

      To see an image of the 6 of Pentacles from the Original Rider Waite-Smith deck, just click this link.

      This card isn’t just about money itself though, the gains or the lack of. It’s actually a card of balance – check out the scales in the standing man’s hand – remind you of Libra? I know there’s no direct link other than that, but it’s often talked about. Libra is also an air card, so is the Lovers – both cards about balancing. Currently you’re very productive, you have a lot on the go. You’re not doing this all by yourself as I know you’ve been sharing projects – acting like the standing man sharing the money. I think your 6 of Pentacles is closer to you than you realise.

      Glad you enjoyed the spread Nancy – there’s more tomorrow…. 🙂

      Like

  2. ah so is this based on the model of maslo’s hierachical needs sorry for the spelling will look at this in depth psychology involved here then

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    1. Hi Colin – the Robert Dilts’ Logical Levels Model is completely different to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, though I can see why you think they may be similar, the shape of the model for one. There is of course some deep psychology involved in the Logical Levels and that remains when we convert the model into the Tarot Spread. The similarities pretty much end there though. Does exploring psychology through tarot interest you Colin?

      Thank you for your comment – lovely to see you here again 🙂

      Like

  3. Thanks for the feedback, and already looking forward to tomorrow’s missive 🙂

    I did this a second time for a specific issue and hoo-laaaa!! Swords, swords everywhere, including 5, 9 and 10! It’s about a situation I need to release – – the cards were all sitting there saying “duh, no kidding.”

    As for your 7 of Swords. I wondered if it was telling you that there were some things that you could lose if trickery and deceit is afoot. But, definitely not a loss of all that’s precious.

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    1. Hi Nancy – I’m glad you’re having so much fun with this! Every reading I’ve done, be that a general ‘where am I in my life?’ to a very specific ‘where am I with dieting?’ (you’ll see the answer to that in the next post….) has been on target each and every time, with nothing to misinterpret, no grey and no BS. Hearing the truth is a prerequisite for using this spread, without question!

      As for my 7 of Swords, I had a certain situation at the forefront of my mind when I did that reading, I think I know exactly what the 7 means. If I did it today, I’m quite sure it would be a different flavour. I’m not saying I would have all hearts and flowers, far from it, but the deception element was so prominent that I believe it could have only meant one thing. Thank you for you insight – I think the Universe has dealt with losing the trickery and now all is well 🙂

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  4. Interesting spread, I tend to shy away from introspective spreads, as when I was learning I did these till they came out of my ears. Nevertheless, this spread, if one feels brave enough to do it, would I feel, be of great benefit… now the question that remains is, do I feel brave enough?…..

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    1. Hi Helen – I never really saw this spread as introspective, though I know it does have some inner questing to it. When we apply the Logical Levels Model to a goal we want to achieve, it actually helps us to become proactive in our response to levels that are out of alignment. I’m sure you’ll find the next post fun as I share some personal questions and the readings I did with them 🙂

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  5. Catherine –

    Wonderful post, great spread! I like that you put this into sentence form, as well as lookng at this through the individual cards. Tarot is, at its best, teh story of our lives.

    I am not sure that I agree that changes at lower levels do not affect higher levels – I think that they do.

    Keep them coming! 🙂

    Blessings,
    Bonnie

    Like

    1. Hi Bonnie – One criticism of the Logical Levels Model is it’s hierarchial structure. As you know, a hierarchy displays levels of importance – the top being the most important and the bottom being the lowest. I agree with you about changes moving through the levels and found that the model for me at least, is hetrarchical – allowing multi-directional movement. I believe changing any level with have an effect on all the others and I think it makes for a much more exciting model – though I’m not sure if you Robert Dilts and his supporters would agree!

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  6. no psychology i always found hard when I was at College some years ago it was the model that I looked at and I just did’nt read your post to start with ah well thats assumptions for you, am definately going to do that spread looks very interesting I have certain issuse that I need to explore on a spiritual level will let you know how I go with this one Catherine looks very good.
    By the way I have ordered your book, beyond the celtic cross after listening to you on storms and donnaliegh’s show very impressed hope this will give me even more insight.
    yours
    Colin

    Like

    1. Hi Colin – Psychology can be tricky but it’s often the most interesting thing – because it centres around us as individuals, that’s why I think it’s so popular – because for each of us it’s ‘all about me’! More psychology coming later….. but for now, onto a certain book 😉 I hope you enjoy it, if you need any help at any time, just holla and I’ll be happy to help 🙂

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  7. Hi Catherine,

    Love this! I’ve been working with a spread around Maslow’s Hierarchy, but this one seems to have this extra.. ‘ umph’ I’m going to try it later ! For me, it’s exciting to see this spread, as I think it could be a true asset for my clients! Thank you for sharing! 😀

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    1. Hi Chanel – thank you for such kind words! I’m glad you liked the look of the Spread and I’d love to know how you get on with it.

      I’ve also just posted Part 2 of the Logical Levels Tarot Spread – In Action! Check it out as I’ve done 3 full tarot readings using the model and 3 very specific questions.

      Thank you for stopping by and welcome to Tarot Elements 🙂

      Like

    1. Hi Robbin – I hope you like it!

      Thank you for stopping by the blog to read this post and welcome to Tarot Elements 🙂

      Like

  8. Great post. This spread just jumped out at me when I saw it. I can’t wait to give it a try. Unfortunately, I haven’t had the time to do so yet, but I will make it around to it eventually.

    As for the Legacy of the Divine Tarot cards you used for this reading. Well, they’ve been on my wish list for a while now. After reading this post, I gave in an ordered my deck. Thanks for that push. 🙂 My cards will be here by the end of the week. I’m excited, can’t you tell?

    Like

    1. Hi Cher – glad you enjoyed the post and that you finally ordered Legacy! It’s one of the most beautiful decks around. It stays very close to the Rider Waite-Smith but has much more beautiful imagery – which is a win-win situation in my book 🙂

      I’d love to hear how you get on with the Logical Levels Tarot Spred – I’ve just posted a new spread called the Grow Model Tarot Spread, you might want to take a look at that also 🙂

      Like

  9. Hi Catherine-
    Add my admiration and thanks to the list for both the Logical Levels and GROW model spreads. Both are wonderful and incredibly insightful. I was just passed over for a promotion by my company and discovered the Logical Levels spread here while surfing. Had to apply it… Just what I needed to hear…Super Stuff! You could nickname it “the smackdown” spread, lol.

    Sylvan

    Like

    1. Hi Sylvan – I like the sound of the Smackdown Spread! It does seem there’s no hiding from Tarot and the Logical Levels or Grow Spread – they’ll tell you things you think you’ve hidden well, from yourself! I’m launching another new spread this week called the Tarot Elements Vision Spread – it’s in a similar vein to Logical Levels and Grow, think you’ll like this one…

      Thank you for your fab comments, and welcome to Tarot Elements 🙂

      Like

  10. I’m living in a Justice environment where I’m behaving as the 7 of Cups, using my High Priestess capabilities based on my beliefs as The Heirophant. I see myself as the Ace of Swords but am more akin to 6 of Wands.

    Fascinating! This spread was very enlightening. Thank you so much for sharing it!

    Like

    1. Hi K,

      Glad you enjoyed the post and the spread. Love that you’re more akin to the 6 of Wands, it’s not an Ace, but it’s a kick-ass card that has triumph written all over it – you rule!

      Thanks for your comment, and welcome to Tarot Elements 🙂

      Kate

      Like

  11. This spread is so helpful! I’m currently in an Ace of Swords environment where I’m behaving as The Star using my Wheel of Fortune capabilities based on my beliefs as the Ace of Cups. I see myself as the Knight of Swords but am in reality more akin to the 7 of Wands.

    If you have the tie I’d be very interested to see if you have any insights on this reading for me. Thanks (:

    Like

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