October 2003 Spread of the Month

The Happy Birthday Layout by Christine Jette

Rarely does the tarot give specific instructions, such as "Move to Rhode Island and open a metaphysical shop." But the tarot does offer a sense of what we need, the right direction to go for our greatest good. The Happy Birthday layout can be used any time you want to align yourself with the stars--your unique astrological portrait.

This layout is in the shape of a birthday candle, (I'm afraid you'll have to use your imagination), and it helps illuminate your life path. Visualize card one in a horizontal position as the base of the candle, cards two through six represent the candle itself, and card seven completes the taper as the flame.

Reversed Cards:

It is not necessary to spend too much time on reversals in this layout. If a reversed card means anything, it suggests that it is different from the other cards: Hey, look at me first! Reversed cards may also be the advice cards of the layout, indicating a "need for" the energy of the card. Finally, they can suggest deeply psychological or unconscious energies that are unknown to the seeker at the time of the reading, but are about to surface.

Please don't get stuck in reversals. To me, regardless of how they fall, all cards represent a spectrum of possibilities that range from shadow to light, discomfort to comfort, life lesson to life wisdom. The challenge of interpretation is figuring out where we are in relationship to the cards at the time of the reading, reversed or not.

If you're fascinated by reversals, try Mary K. Greer's The Complete Book of Tarot Reversals. (Llewellyn 2002) It should keep you busy for a long time.

A word about "liking" and "disliking" a tarot card:

When you turn a card over in a layout, do you have a strong feeling about the card? I believe strong responses to a card, whether positive or negative, are clues from our unconscious that we should pay attention to that card.

Cards we "like" suggest that we are going in the right direction along our life path: yes, keep up the good work. They also point to our strengths, talents and natural abilities. And, as an interesting twist, they can mean we are getting too much of a good thing, everything in moderation the old saying goes.

Cards we "dislike" also offer messages of direction that enable us to release obstacles, or shadows, and grow--if we choose to face the challenge.

Now on to the spread...

Choose your Ruling Planet Card, Polarity Card and Sun Sign Card from the list below. Place them face up in positions one, four and seven as shown in the diagram above.

Note: Even though the ruling planet of the the Ascendant (Rising sign) is said to be the ruler of the birth chart, this layout concerns itself with your Sun Sign. Therefore, use the tarot card that corresponds to the ruling planet of your Sun Sign.

For example, you are Aries Sun and Scorpio Rising. According to the list below, you would choose The Tower, not Judgment, because Mars is the ruler of Aries, and The Tower symbolizes Mars. Judgment is the card for Pluto, ruling planet of Scorpio.

If you know your Rising Sign and want to be creative, use both tarot cards in position one: the card for your Sun Sign ruling planet, and the card of your Ascendant's ruling planet, that is, the ruling planet of your birth chart. In the example above, you would place the Tower (Mars, ruler of Aries) and Judgment (Pluto, ruler of Scorpio) in position one.

Then look for any conflicts and compatibilities of the two cards as you do the layout. For instance, how does the Tower interact with Judgment? What is the conflict or complement of energy? Don't old forms have to fall (The Tower) before the karmic slate can be cleared (Judgment)?

I am convinced that it is the relationship of one card to another in a layout that yields the most useful information. But, I'm a Libra Sun in the 12th House, Libra Rising: I view the universe through the lens of relationships.

Shuffle the remaining cards, concentrating on any concerns that you now want answered. (If it is actually your birthday, be sure to make a wish!) When you are ready, randomly select four cards face down and place them in positions two, three, five and six, as shown in the diagram above.

Turn the four cards over and read the layout as follows:

Position 1 My Ruling Planet Card:
(From the list below)

The driving energy of the layout. All other cards are read in relationship to it. How you express the different facets of your personality in the rest of the layout.

If you like the card, it means you are comfortable with its energy and know how to use it for growth. If you do not like the card, it indicates an area that needs your attention because it is the dominant energy around you. Best to make friends with it, or at least be attuned to the lessons it has to offer you.

Position 2 My Strengths:
Where you shine, your talents and abilities. Where the energy flows without resistance. What to keep and nurture because it makes you strong.

If you like the card, you are using its energy to its highest potential. If the card makes you uncomfortable, it indicates an area that is blocked and needs work. If you work with the message of this card, it will release its energy and make you strong.

How does Card 2 (Strengths) relate to your Ruling Planet card, the driving energy of the layout? Note any conflicts and complements (compatibilities).

Position 3 My Challenges:
Your life lessons or energy blocks. What you need to face in order to grow. Areas where you get stuck and may keep repeating.

If you like this card, try reading it in its reversed or shadow form. Maybe you are getting too much of a good thing? For example, the Sun comes up here. What could be wrong with that? Well, plenty, if its golden rays are giving you sunburn or burnout. Being comfortable with this card can also mean you are facing your challenges head-on and doing the work you need to do.

If you don't like the card, it indicates an area (block) where you know you need work to release its energy for growth.

How does Card 3 (Challenges) relate to your Ruling Planet card, the driving energy of the layout? Note any conflicts and complements (compatibilities).

Position 4 My Polarity Card, The Sister Sign:
(From the list below)

The opposite of you and it shows your dual nature. What you need to draw towards you and attract in order to feel complete.

Polarity, your opposite sign, is your "sister sign" because the energy is like your own Sun Sign in a complementary way. This is the duality, or balance, of you.

The card may make you uncomfortable because it feels foreign to you. It may even feel like your "evil twin," but rest assured, this card is you--the other half of you. If you like the card, you are incorporating its energy into your life.

The question to ask yourself is: What do I need to learn and incorporate into my life (for balance) from the meaning of this card?

How does Card 4 (Polarity) relate to your Ruling Planet card, the driving energy of the layout? Note any conflicts and complements (compatibilities).

Position 5 What is my birthday wish?
This card gives focus to your deepest desires and hopes, the true direction on your life path because your dreams and desires come from your Higher Self, a sacred part of you.

If you like this card it means you are on the right track for the fullest expression of your Sun Sign. If the card makes you uncomfortable, it indicates the energy that is standing in your way. You will have to deal with its energy (the block) before your sacred dreams can become reality.

How does Card 5 (Birthday Wish) relate to your Ruling Planet card, the driving energy of the layout? Note any conflicts and complements (compatibilities).

Position 6 The Next Step (The Future):
Where do you go from here? The next step on your life path for the fullest expression of your Sun Sign personality.

If you like this card, be glad and look forward to the next adventure.

If this card makes you uncomfortable, it indicates a possible upcoming life lesson. While the life lesson may be no fun, it will offer you wisdom and make you strong.

Remember, the cards, like astrology, impel, they do not compel. Nothing in tarot is preordained. The cards either describe a situation, or give advice about a situation. If you don't like this card, work with the energy of the other cards to see how you can change its direction. You always have the power of choice to change what is no longer useful and create your own future--or, at least, face the future prepared and with courage.

How does Card 6 (The Next Step/Future) relate to your Ruling Planet card, the driving energy of the layout? Note any conflicts and complements (compatibilities).

Position 7 My Sun Sign Card, The Essence of Me:
(From list below)

What you were put here to learn, the focal point of this life time. The Sun Sign card is in the flame of the candle because it shows your true nature and represents your Spirit. It remains constant throughout the year. It illuminates your conscious purpose, your drive to achieve goals, and the "You" you know yourself to be.

Bottom line: Do you like this card? How comfortable are you with yourself?

How does Card 7 (Sun Sign) relate to your Ruling Planet card, the driving energy of the layout? Note any conflicts and complements (compatibilities). Especially note conflicts and complements if you have chosen to use the Ruling Planet card for your Rising Sign (Ascendant), in position one. The Ruling Planet of your Rising Sign is the true driving energy of your birth chart overall.

Putting It All together:

Look at cards one, four and seven. Do you see relationships or conflicts between the driving energy of your layout (Ruling Planet card), your Sister Sign (Polarity card), and the essence of you (the Sun Sign card)?

How can you use cards two (Strengths), three (Challenges), five (Wishes), and six (The Next Step), to align yourself with the essence of your Sun Sign personality for its fullest expression?

It may help to make an entry in your tarot journal. You can also leave the cards out for a while, or program a dream, for more insight. Use your favorite three-card spread for more information on any card in the layout.

For added depth, read a description of your Ruling Planet, Polarity Sign and Sun Sign in a basic astrology book. The relationships of the specific tarot card meanings and their corresponding Signs and Planets are amazingly similar.



Ruling Planet, Polarity: Your Sister Sign, and Sun Sign

Dates vary slightly depending on your reference. Your birthday may fall on a transition day of one sign to another. If so, please refer to a basic astrology book for information about being born on the cusp.

You can also learn more about the cusp at my web site: From the home page of www.findingthemuse.com, click The Age of Aquarius. For more detail on combining the entire tarot deck with astrology, please click The Stars In Tarot from my home page. Thank you for your interest in my work!

ARIES (March 21 - April 19)

Ruling Planet Mars (The Tower)
Polarity: Libra (Justice)
Sun Sign Card (The Emperor)


TAURUS (April 20 - May 20)

Ruling Planet Venus (The Empress)
Polarity: Scorpio (Death)
Sun Sign Card (The Hierophant)


GEMINI (May 21 - June 20)

Ruling Planet Mercury (The Magician)
Polarity: Sagittarius (Temperance)
Sun Sign Card (The Lovers)


CANCER (June 21 - July 22)

Ruling Planet Moon (The High Priestess)
Polarity: Capricorn (The Devil)
Sun Sign Card (The Chariot)


LEO (July 23 - August 22)

Ruling Planet Sun (The Sun)
Polarity: Aquarius (Star)
Sun Sign Card (Strength)


VIRGO (August 23 - September 22)

Ruling Planet Mercury (The Magician)
Polarity: Pisces (The Moon)
Sun Sign Card (The Hermit)


LIBRA (September 23 - October 22)

Ruling Planet Venus (The Empress)
Polarity: Aries (The Emperor)
Sun Sign Card (Justice)


SCORPIO (October 23 - November 21)

Ruling Planet Pluto (Judgment)
Polarity: Taurus (Hierophant)
Sun Sign Card (Death)


SAGITTARIUS (November 22 - December 21)

Ruling Planet Jupiter (Wheel of Fortune)
Polarity: Gemini (The Lovers)
Sun Sign Card (Temperance)


CAPRICORN (December 22 - January 19)

Ruling Planet Saturn (The World)
Polarity: Cancer (The Chariot)
Sun Sign Card (The Devil)


AQUARIUS (January 20 - February 18)

Ruling Planet Uranus (The Fool)
Polarity: Leo (Strength)
Sun Sign Card (The Star)


PISCES (February 19 - March 20)

Ruling Planet Neptune (Hanged Man)
Polarity: Virgo (The Hermit)
Sun Sign Card (The Moon)


Christine Jette (pronounced Jetty) is a registered nurse and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology. She is a therapeutic touch practitioner, member of the American Holistic Nurses Association and professional tarot consultant. Christine specializes in health readings combined with hands-on (energetic) healing. She works part-time as an RN in a traditional long-term care setting, and lives in Cincinnati with her husband and three cats.

Christine’s Llewellyn books include Tarot Shadow Work, Tarot for the Healing Heart, Tarot for All Seasons and Professional Tarot. Visit her at  her website.

Spread © 2003 Christine Jette
Page © 2003 Diane Wilkes