July 2004 Tarot Passages Spread of the Month

Crossroads Transformational Spread by Sandra A. Thomson, Certified Tarot Grand Master

If you are alive (check this premise before continuing further), then your life has been, and will be, filled with crossroads experiences, situations in which you are called upon to make choices and changes regarding your next life direction, which decision, to paraphrase Robert Frost, may make "all the difference."

A number of years ago in a workshop presented at the Philosophical Research Society (PRS) in Los Angeles, Caroline Myss defined sin as the occasion "when you absolutely know the power an act has to engage you in spiritual alchemy and you sabotage it."  The opportunity (pathway?) for alchemical change presents itself, and you fail to take it.  This suggests to me that whether or not to "sin" involves the decisions you make about looming "crossroads" experiences.  It is integral to your personal history of roads taken and not taken.

In mythology, crossroads are the province of the crone goddess Hecate and the trickster god Hermes, who is also the god of travelers and wanderers.  Statues called Herms were erected at crossroads in his honor.  The Mythic Tarot's Magician depicts Hermes standing in the center of where four roads meet.  Most often, however, crossroads in the tarot are represented by Major Arcana cyclic cards (The Chariot, the Wheel of Fortune, Death, Judgement), by the Minor Arcana nines, or by cards showing a St. Andrew's cross, which forms an X.  When such cards appear, they refer to choices needing to be made, chances to take, and the need for communication between upper (conscious) and lower (unconscious) worlds.  They may also refer to information or material seeking to emerge from the unconscious.  Such a cross appears on the breast of the Light and Shadow High Priestess, suggesting she is the mistress of reconciling opposites.

In the Rider-Waite Smith (RWS) Two of Wands and Six of Cups cards, a St. Andrew's cross appears on the left side of each of the cards.  Their presence raises the question of whether there is a "hidden" issue behind, or included in, the more obvious meaning of each card.  I believe its presence calls for the figures to awaken, and attend, to higher, inner truths (look behind and see what is hidden).  Esoterically, the flowered crest in the RWS Six of Cups also represents the crossing or meeting of the mystic path (the lilies) and the occult path (the roses), or the paths of purity (lilies) and passion (roses)—and the need to make a choice between them.

In the Haindl Two of Wands, two crossed wands are superimposed over the painting, forming a St. Andrew's cross, which Haindl associates with the ancient paintings of Osiris, where his arms are crossed over the chest.  This hand position represents the deceased Osiris, whom according to Egyptian mythology, was murdered by his brother Set.  With great endeavor, he was "resurrected" by his wife Isis (often associated mythologically with The High Priestess), which may represent the archetypal crossroads/transformational experience (for both Isis and Osiris).

When you draw one of the "crossroads" cards for your daily draw, or in a spread, you may subsequently want to delve further, using the Crossroad's Transformational Spread.  Of course, any time you experience yourself at a transition (a road to take or not take), the Crossroads Transformational Spread may give you additional information to consider in making your decision. 

Shuffle and prepare your cards in your usual way.  All cards are read upright.

                                                   10                                                    5

                                                            9                                      4

                                                                            3   &   8

                                                            2                                      7

                                                      1                                                    6

 1  -     What will begin my crossroads/transformative experience?

 2  -     What am I ignoring?

 3  -     Lay down the third card but do not read it at this time.

 4  -     What's one event from my past that I have failed to consider and which now needs attention?

 5  -     What must I release to enhance the crossroads/transformative experience?

 6  -     What attitude is problematic?

 7  -     What needs strengthened?

 8  -     Lay down the eighth card and consider it and the third card as a pair designed to answer the question, "What is the paradox (tension?) I need to consider and accept?

 9  -     What new approaches are now available to me?

10  -     What is the final key for opening myself to transformation?

Sandra A. Thomson is the president of the American Tarot Association. She is the co-author of three tarot books and the sole author of Pictures From the Heart.   She is also the author of Cloud Nine: A Dreamer's Dictionary.  A California licensed psychologist, Sandra is interested in the many ways that the Tarot can be used to express and prompt personal and spiritual growth.  She will be presenting on Tarot Noir: The Shadow Side of the Deck this coming August (August 21-23) in Calgary at a meeting of the Canadian Tarot Network.

Spread © 2004 Sandra A. Thomson
Page © 2004 Diane Wilkes