The Healthy Self-Expression Tarot Spread

heart full of emotions i wish i had the courage to express

Part Three of the Top Five Regrets of the Dying Tarot Spreads Series

The third regret mentioned by Bronnie Ware in the book The Top Five Regrets of the Dying is ‘I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.’ This regret is about healthy self-expression. She talks about how people often don’t say how they feel to ‘keep the peace,’ but I suspect that many people also don’t say what they feel because they fear rejection or even ridicule. Perhaps what we will regret most on our deathbed is not telling people we know how much we love and appreciate them.

The Tarot spread I have created addresses both of these issues and takes into account that there is a respectful and empowering way of expressing even the more negative feelings – not to ‘keep the peace’ so much as to not burn any bridges with people we wish to keep in our lives.

Take Ownership

The main ‘do’ when it comes to expressing our harsher feelings is to own them and to express this ownership with ‘I feel…’

It then follows that the main ‘don’t’ is to say ‘You make me feel…’

Not only does the latter disempower us by giving someone the power of control over our emotions (which simply isn’t true), it also gets their back up and most commonly leads to a counter-attack.

‘I feel…’ opens up to dialogue; ‘You make me feel…’ opens up to hostility.

Also worth bearing in mind is that if the feeling is rage or anger, it is probably better to wait a while before you try talking to the other person – or it is if you value their presence in your life on any level. Then, after you calm down, you can approach them and say, ‘I got really mad/angry… Now I feel worried/scared/confused…’ Because the truth is that anger points to an underlying fear of some kind and while it is impossible to address anger (which only serves to make us self-righteous), it is possible to address the underlying fear in conversation if both parties are willing to make themselves vulnerable.

Make Yourself Vulnerable

Daring to make yourself vulnerable by opening up takes strength and courage and this is the real reason why so many of us shut down. Sometimes it helps to think ‘If I knew I had 24 hours to live,’ who would I talk to and what would I tell them… The truth is, of course, that none of us are guaranteed a tomorrow. Your voice matters – today.

At the end of the day, we really don’t have anything to lose by opening up. If we speak up without blame and projections, by simply being true to ourselves, the other person has a chance to reciprocate with how they truly feel – especially if we make sure they know we wish to hear what they have to say too. This can then become the beginning of deep healing and taking the relationship to the next level of trust and intimacy… But yeah, it can also spell the end of the relationship if the other person is not willing to engage or if it becomes evident in dialogue that there is fundamental incompatibility, in which case going separate ways also creates a win-win.

The Healthy Self-Expression Tarot Spread

the healthy self-expression tarot spread

1. Your openness levels – Shows how open you are and how secure you feel in expressing your true emotions. A card like the King of Cups would show that you have pretty much arrived. The 3 of Swords is a tell-tale sign that you have let yourself be defeated by heartbreak and abandonment.
2. Main challenge in opening up – Shows an issue or emotional block that needs to be cleared.
3. How open others perceive you to be – This card indicates how you come across to those around you. Do you dare to show vulnerability? In that case, the Page of Cups may show up here. Is what you are thinking deep down anybody’s guess, expect something along the lines of the 4 of Pentacles.
4. Expressing hostility – main theme: Here we are can see where/how you struggle with expressing feelings of anger or extreme disappointment.
5. Expressing love – main theme: Here we discern where/how you may find it difficult to give expression to your feelings in your closest relationships.
6. Past trauma/hidden fears – Something that happened in the past that could have tripped you by causing you to have negative expectations. If it’s a court card, it could point to a specific individual and the impact your interaction had. In that case, the remedy is forgiveness.
7. Action advice for resolving the main challenge – self-explanatory.


Frideborg Tarot Sample Reading for the Healthy Self-Expression Spred

1. Your openness levels – 5 of Swords. Negative expectations create a pattern of cutting my losses before things get too emotionally taxing. Many a bridge has been burned this way.
2. Main challenge in opening up – Self-righteousness as emotional armour. The Page of Pentacles can be a moralising prude and because she tends to be hard on herself, she finds it quite easy to harsh it up with others too…
3. How open others perceive you to be – Knight of Swords. While there is an ease of verbal connection with this Knight, I’m in danger of being seen as someone who cares more about ideologies than people.
4. Expressing hostility – main theme: High Priestess. Passive-aggressiveness.
5. Expressing love – main theme: 2 of Cups. Not too shabby actually! Phew, one ‘pass’…
6. Past trauma/hidden fears – 7 of Swords. Being lied to.
7. Action advice for resolving main challenge – 3 of Pentacles. Establishing a foundation of trust through working together with others to achieve a common goal.

Hope you enjoy using this Tarot spread for self-reflection, even though it may reflect some harsh truths back at you… but that is how we grow and make the necessary changes before it is too late…

love raven liora

Comments 10

  1. Thank you so much for this spread! How would the Lovers be taken in the advice position? I’m not in a relationship at the moment…

    1. Post

      Hi Candice, glad you like the spread. The Lovers is rarely about a love relationship. As action advice, I would take it as being about the importance of making a choice that aligns you with your heart’s desire. Blessings, Lisa

  2. Hi Lisa <3
    I did this spread and would love to hear what your thoughts is.
    I used Archangels Power of Tarot (it was the one that I have in the living room where I sat)

    1. Ace of Raphael (cups).
    I have started to express my real feelings more deeply then before even to my family. Instead of "I have anxiety" I tell them how the anxiety feels inside and how I think.
    2. Page of Ariel (pentacle). Hiding behind an armor and beeing hard to my self, you expressed it perfect in your own spread.
    3. 8 of Ariel. I am a master in hiding my inner thoughts but because I share some parts other thinks I'm soo open with my life. Well, practice makes perfect. For 6 or seven years nobody could see how I suffered in my lifem I was always open and happy.
    4. 10 of Gabriel (wands). I carry my one burden and try not to get in conflicts because I will explode. A thing that was totally opposit during my childhood and teens when I was angry and hostil to almost everyone.
    5 Queen of Raphael. I follow my heart and I am a real caretaker, If I love somebody I have never problems to both tell people I love them or to show it with hugs.
    6.Ace of Ariel. Well turn everything in that card to not have. No luck, no money, dysfunctional years where I stand totally alone, lied to everyone to keep my dysfunctional relationship to people I love hidden for the world.
    7. Seven of Ariel. Work on open up more and you will see a good harvest. Have patient with my self. Review my progress and make goals.

    Do you have any other thoughts or see thing I missed?
    Kind of hard spead because the card is telling me the thruth. But to see your self in the right light is the first step to change what you don't like.
    Blessed be and big Hugs

    1. Post

      Hi Jess, so sorry for the late reply. Not sure why this comment didn’t make it to notifications in my inbox… Maybe it happened for a reason and perhaps you were able to make sense of it yourself…? I don’t really have anything to add unless you have a question about a specific card… seems you have it figured out 🙂 Love, Lisa

      1. I think I figured the spread out. I have started to work to change…Not always easy but I keep on.
        Hope you are well in this dark and rainy days. Here in Sweden the sky has been grey for weeks and it is rain rain and more rain. But I guess the sun will shine again someday

  3. Hi Lisa! I really appreciated your spread!
    I tried it out, these are my cards (some were not clear for me):

    1) Page of Cups: I’m still learning to open myself, maybe I do it too ingenuously sometimes?
    2) 10 of Cups: Maybe I’m afraid to be too much oversentimental?
    3) The Tower: Do people think I’m too much closed in my own “tower”?
    4) 4 of Pentacles: Yes, when I feel disappointed or angry I tend to hold back, but then I explode
    5) Death: Hard one to understand, maybe I let my true feelings die?
    6) 8 of Swords: Just paranoias and fears of mine
    7) Ace of Wands: The solution is looking for new and more fullfilling opportunities to come, I need to just enjoy myself in giving and receiving love

    Do you have any idea about the more unclear ones?
    Thanks so much in advance Lisa 🙂

    1. Post

      Hi Helen, sorry for the late reply. The Page of Cups can be a bit shy so overindulging is not very likely. 10 of Cups as the main challenge is probably caring too much about how others perceive you and possibly also lacking boundaries/not being sure if what you feel is yours or if you empathically are picking up on what friends or loved ones are feeling. The Tower could mean that you sometimes surprise people by ‘overreacting’ because it is not normally how they perceive you… This would be especially true with regards to anger and how you handle/express it. Death (Scorpio) speaks of extreme intensity and a need to change/be changed by love. Hope this helps. Blessings, Lsia

  4. Dear Lisa, thank you, it’s an inspiring spread!
    Not easy to interpret for me though. My try ☺
    1. The word : sometimes I communicate a bit too openly?
    2. Seven of wands: courage is needed to open up and speak about inner questions
    3. Two of pentacles: when relaxed I communicate openly and with attention for the other. When I’m worried or stressed I withdraw myself from the communication.
    4. King of cups: communicating hostility is difficult. Ween I feel hurt I withdraw and act as if I have everything under control.
    5. Ace of swords: expressing love verbally is easier for me than non verbally.
    6. Queen of wands:adult drama queens in my youth
    7. Two of cups: express myself in a loving way with lots of attention and time for the other.

    If you would find the time to take a look at position ons I would be grateful, Lisa. And I would certainly understand it if you wouldn’t have the time.

    All the best,

    1. Post

      The World corresponds with Saturn, so no… but perhaps you are a bit too serious sometimes? Mars in Leo (7 of Wands) really is the perfect antidote in the combination of the Mars ‘fuck you, why should I care what you think?’ and the playful Leo energies… 🙂

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