My favourite in-depth relationship spread is the Heart of the Relationship spread I created a while back but after giving the Relationship Spread by Nikki Mackay from the book Tarot for Understanding Love and Relationship Patterns (also available on Kindle), I now have another useful spread for doing in-depth relationship readings.
The layout is clear and I like the symmetry of it. The shape of a spread is important to me – it has to make sense and the energy has to flow in the right way (hard to explain!). Placing the unconscious fears/challenges cards sideways to form an obstacle to the flow of energy makes a lot of of sense. I also like the ‘How he/she saw her/him when they first met’ positions, as they can be used to verify the truth of the reading.
1. What she is bringing to the relationship – 3 of Pentacles: She is willing to work hard to make things work, especially with regards to practical matters. She’s assuming a lot of responsibility.
2. Where she stands now, in relation to him – 4 of Pentacles: She feels safe and contained in this relationship. (I’m considering the preceeding 3 of Pentalces as the 4 of Pentacles is a perfect match for what she is striving for. In another reading, the 4 of Pentacles could point to stagnancy or lack of intimacy.)
3. What she is hoping to achieve or get from the relationship – 9 of Staffs (Wands): She’s hoping to establish a bond of trust. There may have been boundary issues in the past, especially with the 4 of Pentacles preceeding. The 4 of Pentacles and the 9 of Wands are the two ‘boundary issue’ cards in the deck.
4. What he is bringing to the Relationship – King of Staffs (Wands): He’s bringing inspiration, as well as a sense of fun and lightheartedness.
5. What he is experiencing or stands within the relationship – Page of Cups: He’s allowing himself to be vulnerable, which means he feels safe.
6. What he is hoping to achieve – The Magician: He’s hoping to create something completely new and unique. Communication is important to him.
7. How she sees him – 7 of Wands: In a wood full of trees (men), the only ‘tree’ she has eyes for is him. He has won her heart, well and truly. However, she may feel that he is being selfish at times.
8. How he sees her – 4 of Swords: If this was a passionate/stormy relationship to start with, the passion has now been replaced by quiet contentment and relationship harmony.
9. How she saw him when they first met – 2 of Staffs (Wands): The ultimate man (Mars in Aries). Sparks would have been flying!
10. How he saw her when they first met – The Devil: As a temptation. Possibly also as quite demanding and/or controlling.
11. Her fears or unconscious anxieties – The Hermit: She has a fear of abandonment.
12 – His fears or unconscious anxieties – The Ace of Staffs: This could concern fertility issues.
13. External influences on her – 8 of Cups: Big changes and challenges that deeply affect her emotions. (You could pull another card here to find out more.)
14. External influences on him – 6 of Swords: He may be forced to move, travel or change locations. (Again, you could pull an additional card to gain more information.)
15. Where the relationship will go – 9 of Swords: Anxiety follows from the combination of the last four cards. The 9 of Swords is most likely not the final chapter of this relationship as it foretells only of worries and not of how things will work themselves out. Another reading to clarify the challenges and the best approach to deal with them is recommended.