I took the outline of this spread from Barbara Moore’s Tarot Spreads book, which is packed with plenty of layouts that go well beyond your basic three-card and Celtic Cross.
This spread was originally designed as a seven card affair, with positions based upon the gods and goddesses of the ancient Greek pantheon. To increase its resonance with me I decided to use the gods from my own pantheon, adding two cards (the number 9 is highly significant in Norse myth) and amending some of the positional meanings to better represent the scope and character of the Northern gods.
Tyr – The role will and determination play in your life
The High Priestess – My will and determination play an integral yet somewhat secret and hidden role in my life. From the outside, I am aware that I do not appear to be a particularly ambitious person, but it is there, quietly bubbling underneath, informing and driving my actions and desires. These things do not manifest loudly in what I say, but quietly in what I do and how I choose to live my life.
Odin – The role learning, knowledge and wisdom play in your life
The Fool – New beginnings, always new beginnings. I try to approach life as a perpetual student, always learning something new, something challenging. The Fool shows not only how unwanted ignorance plays a role in my quest for wisdom, it also reminds me that the things we do not know in life will always outweigh those that we do. Regardless of how stern or studious a face we put upon ourselves, there is always plenty of room for humility, humour and the ability to laugh at our own foolish ignorance with lightness rather than embarrassment. The Fool says, relinquish pride and never be afraid to admit what you do not know, it is only in this admission that you will ever be able to learn anything new.
Frigg – The role that sensitivity and intuition play in your life
King of Swords – My sensitivity and intuition shape how I plan my approach to life, events, challenges and people, they are the primary tools I use to make sense of the world. The mind and rationality are important to me, but it is my intuition that leads my thoughts to places where they then seek to create some semblance of structure of order. Furthermore, taken literally from the card image, my intuition and sensitivity inspire my desire to write and share my thoughts on the stranger, and often stigmatised, things in life like divination and alternative spirituality.
Freyja – The role spirit, mystery and magic play in your life
Eight of Wands – In any other deck this might be quite an odd card to pull here with it’s swiftness and speed, in Ceccoli however we see a doll like girl holding twinkling fireflies on strings like balloons that gently illuminate her face. She looks as though she’s listening to their messages and seeing them through her mind’s eye. It’s a beautiful image and I can see myself tethered to spirit and magic in such a way, letting it softly guide my thoughts and illuminate different mystical possibilities.
Freyr – The role that sensual experience, pleasure and joy play in your life
Page of Swords – Yep, totally inevitable that I should pull a Sword here. I often get so wrapped up in the pleasures of my mind – reading, learning, thinking, playing with ideas and communicating them, that I feel quite out of touch with my body. My joy comes from acquiring new knowledge and playing in the mental realms of imagination and I often feel that were my character understood elementally, I would be all Water and Air with a dash of Fire, but very little Earth (do you see any Pentacles in this spread?). Much of my relationship with my body is perfunctory, treating it more as a vehicle for my mind and soul, and I am prone to neglecting its needs and pleasures. Freyr reminds me that I must make changes in this area and do more to enjoy and appreciate my body.
Thor – The role of friendship and family in your life
Seven of Wands – Quite a funny looking card to show up here, but what I think it is saying, quite simply, is that friendship and family keep me in check – they ground me in reality and challenge any tendencies towards selfishness. They give me a reason not to partake in destructive behaviours because I know the consequences will be swift and undesirable – I do not wish to disappoint or lose face in front of those I care about and have a responsibility to protect.
Heimdall – The role of observance, listening and receptivity in your life
Ten of Cups – I find this a really interesting and apt card here, as much as I like to write and create output, what gives me that Ten of Cups feeling of fulfilment is the opportunity to absorb. Spending time people-watching, reading, seeing films and generally observing all of the peculiarities of humanity and nature helps me to feel like a part of it and emboldens me to explore even further.
Saga – The self-constructed narratives at play in your life.
Five of Wands – I think because of where I live and the difficulties I have faced to remain with my family, I have built a narrative of us against the world. I have dreamed of living a life of radical action, but there is no magic flaming sword to defeat this dragon of bureaucracy and violent state politics, so I begrudgingly appease it with my compliance to maintain the status quo. The narrative then is one, not of victimhood or rebellion, but pragmatism, and the knowledge that some dragons cannot be slain.
The Disir – A message from your ancestral mothers on how you can improve your approach to life.
The Magician – Don’t fear the unpredictable, wear the masks you need to wear, use your skills and know your worth. Have magic and be adaptable, know your surroundings and know your audience, these things will serve you well in life. Despite what they say, it is never too late for a leopard to change its spots.