In her healing classic, You Can Heal Your Life, Louise Hay lays out a system for diagnosing the underlying spiritual/emotional/psychological reasons for physical ailments. I have referenced this book many times and find it to be accurate in most cases… In other cases, I have found the outlook too simplistic. The Tarot can be used to bring more of the complexities to the fore. The Healing Key Tarot Spread aims to do just that.
Looking at the correlation between the energy of emotions and their physical manifestations, I find that there is more scope for a correct understanding of what is happening emotionally if we allow for the full spectrum of possible sources of dis-ease contained within each zodiac sign. Each sign of the zodiac corresponds to a body part as well as the full range of spiritual and emotional issues connected to the part of the body ruled by that particular sign.
Sometimes it can be very straightforward. Let’s say you have a sinus infection (which I happen to have right now). According to Louise Hay, sinus problems are caused by ‘irritation to a person.’ If I were to pick a card to describe this, I would choose the 2 of Wands, Mars in Aries, where we often see two people engaged in combat/conflict. As it happens, Aries rules the head and therefore the sinuses. Simples.
However, what if the underlying cause goes a bit deeper than that? Could that be possible? Heck yeah! There could be issues of suppressed anger going back to specific events to which Aries issues are only secondary. This is where the Tarot can really shine. Not only are each of the 12 Zodiac signs contained within this little deck of cards – the full spectrum of elemental and planetary components are found here.
After many years of contemplating the many uses of Tarot for healing work, I have come up with a ‘diagnostic’ Major Arcana Tarot spread, The Healing Key Spread, which allows you to look at both the underlying issue as well as the most helpful approach in easing the dis-ease on the emotional and intellectual level (i.e. don’t stop taking the medicine your doctor prescribed!).
Please note that the Healing Key Spread is not intended to replace traditional medical treatment. It is a self-help tool to help you get to the very core of any underlying issue, in case your gut tells you there might be one. Don’t overuse this spread. Not every sniffle is sent as a karmic lesson. I know people who live as if this is the case and I find their approach less than helpful. You might have come across one or two ‘navel gazers’ yourself.
Use this spread for ailments that are difficult to cure, that are recurring, or where you just know that there is an underlying issue.
This is how to do the HEALING KEY SPREAD:
Separate your Majors out from a full deck or use a Major Arcana deck. Shuffle and randomly pick three cards. Turn the first card over. This card represents the underlying issue. The second card is turned over and placed to the left of the first card. The second card is something you need to avoid right now. The main point of pulling this second card is to sharpen the focus for card three which is the key to your healing. Place the third card to the right of the first card.
Allow both your head and your heart to guide you in your interpretation. It’s helpful if you know a bit about astrological correspondences and their health implications. However, you can do this spread guided by your psychic senses alone too. Allow the card images to become portals for your imagination and write down what you access psychically.
This step is helpful in terms of giving you a specific action/step to focus on in the healing process. You will separate out the Minor Arcana cards that relate to the Major healing key you just pulled. Let’s say you pulled The Devil. This is Capricorn, so the cards that you will separate out are the 2,3, and 4 of Pentacles as well as the Queen of Pentacles (the Capricorn court card). I’m using the Golden Dawn system of correspondences. Feel free to use a different system that you are more comfortable with. From these four cards, you will randomly pick one card.
You can keep using the full Minor Arcana and just pick the first corresponding card you come across by pulling cards off the top if you feel more comfortable with that.
If you get an Elemental Major such as Judgment (Fire), it could be an indication that the key to your healing is found in balancing the Elements. This is where the contrast between the second and third card comes in extra handy to hone in on what can be done. No Minor card needs to be picked if you get an Elemental Major in the third position.
What if your Major has a planetary correspondence rather than a corresponding zodiac sign? Let’s say you pick The Wheel. The Wheel corresponds to Jupiter. The Jupiter cards are 4 of Swords (Jupiter in Libra), 9 of Cups (Jupiter in Pisces), 6 of Wands (Jupiter in Leo), 2 of Pentacles (Jupiter in Capricorn). In some Tarot decks will find the symbol of Jupiter in each of the cards influenced by Jupiter. These types of decks can be very helpful when you first start learning the correspondences. Alternatively, you can set one deck aside for learning and mark the zodiac symbols on them yourself.
Healing Key Tarot Spread – Sample Reading with the Faerie Tarot
This is what I got for my very stubborn sinus/ear infection:
The underlying issue is represented by The Hierophant, indicating that I’m feeling rebellious against authority. The Tower represents what I need to avoid. This very strong Martian energy card tells me that anger aggravates my condition. Justice (peaceful Libra) provides the remedy. The Libra energy Minor Arcana card I received is the Queen of Swords.
The most helpful thing I can do is represented by the Libra Queen of Swords. So what would she do? Peaceful, truthful and diplomatic communication is the way forward. I need to cut through the crap and be honest with myself… Only then can I be honest with others.
This Queen would probably detach as much as possible before making her point. She makes sure her heart and mind are aligned before opening her mouth. Life has taught her that sometimes necessary sacrifices have to be made and that now is probably the time to choose what to sacrifice. She will live with the consequences and not cling to childhood dreams of fairy tale romance. She has no need to suppress anything or to close her ears to the truth because she trusts in her own ability to discern right from wrong.
(This spread was first published on Tarotize.com in December 2011)