Witchcraft has been a tool used by humans to harness the elements for harm or aid since the dawn of time.
The use of magic has been tracked back to ancient man and originally was used as a way to heal others, ward off evil, and create boundaries between our world and the supernatural.
Villages had healers who sometimes were referred to as witches or shamans and this was a common occurrence that has spanned throughout history.
Sometimes the Craft was welcome because it was used for healing aid and even the simple understanding of nature – such as tidal movements, menstrual cycles, and animal migration was a part of Witchcraft. Almost every culture known to man has stories or myths that deal with the welcoming and warding off of witches.
In ancient times, witches were generally welcomed when they were helping but the people could easily turn on them when natural disasters, plagues, or unexplained death would happen.
Perhaps the most famous of turnings against witches was during the time of Pope Innocent VIII and the Catholic church when as part of the inquisition thousands upon thousands were massacred, tortured, burned or drowned just for being accused of witchcraft.
The violent persecutions for the most part have ended, but even in today’s society the bigotry against those who practice Witchcraft prevails in certain areas, despite the progress made in recent times for religious freedom.
Today, witchcraft is a broad term for magical practice that is open and free in western countries such as America, Canada, and Europe. The practice today is very similar to the olden days but now there is a variety that was not seen before.
Technology and travel have integrated different forms of practicing of witchcraft and the practice itself is not as secret as it once was.
There are countries and tribes that older models of witchcraft are followed such as in Africa, Australia, and South America where practitioners are still feared, respected, and sometimes shunned.
However, in more modern countries there is more tolerance to the practice and it is even often viewed as fake or ignored.
No matter the view of the craft, witchcraft itself is simply working with nature and directing or accepting the natural flows of energy that exist between humans and their environment.
The elements of witchcraft are earth, air, fire, and water. Spellcraft, candle magic, and invocations are often used in the craft and the magic practiced usually is within the confines of a specific religious belief. Typically, because it is understood that there are higher forces at work from whence energy comes from – be it good or evil – religion or dogma is often a component of witchcraft.
It is hard to define witchcraft without discussing magic itself. The two are not to be confused. Magic is more like the energy that is within and the energy that is created, whereas witchcraft is the actual art of manipulating the energies that are around.
The actual craft of the witches is to practice making changes in the world around them. Specifically, witchcraft is the manipulation and working with the energies on an earth based level.
The most famous of witchcraft practitioners in modern day are those that consider themselves Wiccan where the craft of the Witches has more of a religious flair.
They celebrate the wheel of the year and recognize the inner workings of the God and Goddess within the human spirit and journey as well as in the world around us.
Witchcraft is done in a sacred circle with confines and boundaries to protect the magic that is done and to ensure the outcomes of the desired work. Bringing together the forces of nature and the forces of man is in essence the heart of witchcraft.
There are probably thousands upon thousands of different ways to organize tarot cards in a reading. They vary from person to person and are situational. Some spreads are better for love, some for money, and some for general guidance.
Because Tarot is a highly intuitive art, the person doing the reading can either use standard tarot spreads or they may just choose to use a spread that feels right for them given the particular reading. However, with this in mind, there are common spreads for the tarot that are most often used.
The Celtic Cross
The most popular and well-known of all of the tarot spreads is the Celtic Cross 11 card spread. The reason why this spread is so often used is because it provides a vast array of information within the spread to give the querant the most information possible.
The reader draws ten (or 11) cards depending on the querent’s preference and each card describes a different influence over the querent’s life.
(1) The first card is chosen to describe the querant either physically or emotionally using usually a face card (Page, Knight, King or Queen of any given suit that fits the querant) and represents the present moment as well as how the querant is perceiving the situation.
(2) This card is placed on top of card #1 to represent the challenge that the querant is facing at this specific moment. If resolved, the querent’s life would be a lot easier. If this card comes up as a ‘positive’ card, challenge is needed to determine how the card is a challenge to you.
(3) This card is placed to the left of the center of the spread and represents the events which have led up to the present situation that they have found themselves in, which describes how the challenge came about in the first place.
(4) The fourth card is placed directly to the right of the center, ‘in front’ of the querant which represents the future that is probable very soon should all things remain the same as they are immediately within the reading. This card does not represent the final outcome, but merely presents the next step that the querant should take.
(5) This card is directly above the center where the querant is located which reflects the goals or aspirations of the querant regarding the current situation. This represents what the querant needs to work on while they attempt to figure out their issue.
(6) The sixth card is located directly beneath the center of the spread where the querant is and it represents all of the stabilizing forces that exist to help the querant at this time. This is a very spiritual card because it represents the deeper and more core issues of the current situation as well as the underlying emotions involved.
(7) The 7th card is the first card that begins the journey toward the final outcome toward the end of the reading. This card is located to the right of the reading, beginning at the bottom right starting a line that the remaining cards will follow. This card represents advice that needs to be taken into account all that is happening within the life of the querant. Following this guidance will help the querant succeed.
(8) The 8th card is placed above the 7th card creating a row pointing upward. This card is representative of the external influences that surround the querant at this time. This could come in the form of judgmental people or events that are just simply out of their control.
(9) The 9th card is above the 8th in the line and represents the querant’s hopes and fears. This is one of the more difficult positions to decipher primarily because sometimes we are not really aware of what it is that we are afraid of. You may want to consider drawing a clarification card if you are confused about what this card means to you.
(10) The 10th card is the final outcome card. This card represents where the situation for the querant is heading and how the issue will be resolved based on the steps the cards have directed them to take. If the outcome is not a good one, remember that the cards are saying that if nothing changes in your current circumstances this is how it will end. However you always have the power to improve on your circumstances to change the outcome. Follow the advice of the cards.
The Golden Dawn Spread (one of many)
This is a ten card spread laid out in the symbol of the tree of life. The cards are laid down starting with one card on the bottom in the middle and then another card placed above that card, a card to the left of that and another to the right.
Three more cards are placed on top of those four starting with the left, then middle, then to the right. You will now have kind of an upside down house shape. Last you will add three more cards to the top this time placing the left card, right card, and then center card.
Each card relate to each sepheroth of the tree of life. If you are not familiar with the tree of life or sepheroths you will want to get to them before using this reading method as the cards have their meanings, the placements (as listed below) have further importance, and the sepheroth themselves can lend even more detail to the reading and understanding.
The placement of the cards is as follows:
These bottom four cards directly talk about the querant and what is going on with them specifically. The next three cards talk about the world around the querant or their environmental influences. They also relate to the issue in depth as it gives perspective and meaning in here and now.
If you are looking for a general outlook for what to expect in the coming year then it is best to use an year-spread involving 12 – 13 cards. The most common approach to this is to lay out 12 cards either in a full circle – beginning on your left and working the circle clockwise with a card placed for each month January to December.
In the center of the circle place a 13th card which acts as a signifcator for the year overall. Sometimes the middle 13th card will also represent your overall lesson for the year and shows you the focus. The 12 individual cards represent each month of the year and the main lesson for that month.
The cards for the months will indicate issues that will come up or what to expect for this month. It is often recommended to not use reversed cards for annual reading in order to ensure a clear and direct response from the deck.
Love readings vary depending on the purpose. New relationship readings can easily be done with a few cards whereas often more complex or long standing readings need a few more cards for clarification. Here are a couple suggestions for love readings to get your started:
When considering a possible relationship or simply seeking love in general it is good to put feelers out there to see what the prospects are like for you. Whether you have someone in mind or you are looking for someone new you can use this reading to direct you to a good match for you based on the path you are on now using 7 cards. This reading is a monthly reading and if you do not get desired results on month – wait at least a few weeks before looking again.
The new relationship reading has 5 cards simply placed in a straight line. They can be from the left to right or top to bottom depending on your desire. It’s completely up to your preference.
For an established relationship, it is often good to check in and see what is coming in the future or how to fix any problems. This reading focuses on both. The spread is 10 cards with the first four placed in a triangle fashion with the meanings are as follows:
(1) card on the top representing you in the relationship.
(2) card is placed beneath that card, representing your partner.
(3) card is placed to the left and represents the past between you and your partner.
(4) card is placed to the right and represents the future. The next 6 cards are placed in 2 rows on top of each other starting with the top left, middle, right and then bottom left, middle right.
(5) What is right about your relationship or strengths.
Issues within the relationship now. This will indicate strains within the relationship that you may know about and want more clarification about or those that are looming and can be avoided.
(6) Areas in the relationship that need special care that you may be overlooking. These can be for example, if you are noticing that your partner has been very distant and you pull the 4 of coins card then the issues that you are facing are regarding work and perhaps you should consider work the issue and not you. It can also be an indicator to be careful with spending money so you don’t stress your partner our further or to be more supportive to them about their job.
(7) The outcome over the next month based on the current path with you and your partner.
(8) The outcome over the next 3 months based on the current path with you and your partner.
(9) The outcome over the next 6 months based on your current path with your relationship.
Bear in mind that the path dictated in the reading about any direction (in a relationship or otherwise) will reflect current choices. If you change your mind on something after a reading then the outcomes could change. For example, if you ask about fertility in a relationship and wanting to have a baby and the cards say yes, this will happen soon… but then you decide, well, I don’t want that and you take a measure to prevent pregnancy or even more drastic, tie your tubes or get a vasectomy… then of course the outcome will change. Readings are based on your position now and actions you have been taking to get to where you are going currently.
There are other kinds of readings used specifically to untangle a situation for the querant. Say for example the querant is feeling completely stuck in their life circumstances around love and doesn’t know what to do.
The Pyramid Spread is a less formatted reading that helps to spiral itself outward starting with a card that details where the querant is in the moment.
From that point the reader begins to lay out row after row in an upside down pyramid fashion that will detail all of the issues that are currently happening to the querant as they try to work through their difficulties in love. By the end of the spread, the querant should have an idea of what to do about their problem and how to get out of it.
3 Card Spread
Of course these reading can take some time, because they unravel slowly like a story. There are spreads that are used to make matters move quicker. For example if you would just like some basic information about a question that you have, you can ask a question that is designed for ‘yes or no’ answers.
You would then draw three cards, and if more than one card is reversed, the answer is no and then you can decipher which the illustrations in the cards so that you know what is influencing the no answer. A yes answer would appear with all cards or the majority of the cards being right-side up.
If there is one card that is upside down, you can consider that card the influences that may be working against the situation, which will nonetheless pan out as you wish.
The One Card Spread
Many on-the-go readers, or even those simply interested in daily divination will chose one card per day to tell them what influences they can expect to experience during that day, or about a particular experience that is up and coming so that they know if there are any obstacles either internal or external that they should be aware of.
When doing so, what is important is that you are not just being random about the spread, you must accomplish a task that is known as ‘linking up’ to your higher source energy. All that this means is that you approach the cards (as you should always) in a reverent manner and you ask for your higher power, or higher source energy, mental teachers and the like to guide you to an answer that is succinct and helpful.
Doing so creates a respectful environment which not only will help you feel more secure about the answers that you are receiving in the reading, but will also ensure that the answers you get are divinely inspired.