’15 Samhain Blog Hop: The Through the Veil Spread

by | Oct 31, 2015 | Blog











This post first appeared at siobhansmirror.com

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A Tarot Round Robin that happens eight times a year. AKA blog collaboration. AKA Variety ftw!!


WHAT IS A Tarot Round Robin???

A group of bloggers + one question or topic + links* to the blog before, master list, & the blog after = Tarot Train





*use the links at the top and bottom of this post to navigate the Hop.


This Samhain Arwen gave us the topic of communing, communicating and commemorating with loved ones who have crossed before us. I wasn’t certain, right away, just what I’d write; but I knew it would involve my grandmother, who passed away last November. The link between my divination and my grandmother is strong. She is my first example of clairsentience and was the one I turned to when it awakened within me. She was the one who first put playing cards in my hand and challenged me to play a game where we would guess the other’s card.

The basis of a lot of my intuitive energywork comes from her and some of the characteristics I value the most, she embodied, especially at the end of her life. It was as if, through her passing, I was able to see her better. It surprised me how much I never noticed about her. Her sensitivity and generosity is expansive. The older I get and the more I explore my intuition, the more I learn about the challenges she must of faced as an intuitive. This year, I’m learning a lot about her.

This fall I’m learning a lot in general. I’m taking an EPIC course with James Wells and during the course, he shared a quote by Thomas Merton that got me thinking about the topic of this Blog Hop:

And the deepest level of communication is not communication, but communion. It is wordless. It is beyond words, and it is beyond speech, and it is beyond concept. Not that we discover a new unity. We discover an older unity. My dear brothers, we are already one. But we imagine that we are not. And what we have to recover is our original unity. What we have to be is what we are.

Communion seems to be one of the themes of my year. Over and over I find myself spiraling into, and creating, mini-communities where I am able to connect with other beings in profound and inspirational ways. It. Keeps. Happening. I live in constant awe and gratitude. So, in honor of that, and in part because of the masterful tutelage of James Wells, I felt inspired to construct a spread that could be a conversation with my ancestors, specifically, my grandmother. The spread matches more closely the spirit of the Day of the Dead, rather than Samhain, due to its suggestion of mediumship and also commemoration.

Before creating my spread, I set up a small altar with items I associate with loved ones that have passed. I lit candles. I burnt some copal that I got in Mexico during a Day of the Dead ritual I participated in a few years ago. The spread uses a sheer cloth and two decks: the Tarot de St Croix and the Osho Zen. I sometimes like to use sheer cloth to remind myself to detach from whatever arises in a spread. I did something similar for the Summer Solstice in my About Face spread. While I didn’t anticipate needing that level of closure in this reading, I liked how the cloth looks like a veil so I decided to use it anyway.


The spread positions

  1. What life affirming qualities did I inherit from my grandmother?
  2. What do these qualities enable me to do?
  3. How am I already honoring her legacy?
  4. What else can I do to honor her legacy?
  5. What does she have to say to me?


I had the cardinal directions in mind when I created the layout. This afforded an elemental association for each card position. Those who follow me will know about my obsession with Elemental Dignities. Elemental Dignities can be used to add an extra layer of context in readings based on the relationships between cards and their positions. I blog a bit about them in my Firework and Prediction post. There’s a breakdown of the elemental associations of both the positions and the cards in the gallery below.


The spread: Through the Veil

As I was pulling the cards I was drawn to a 6th card. Even though I didn’t have a 6th question for the card, I decided to leave it on the right side. On the left you can see the back of the Osho Zen card through the sheer scarf. The message through the veil, as it were. Here’s what the spread looks like with all the layers of information:


Tarot de St. Croix – St. Croix – Devera 2013 – Osho-Zen Tarot – Padma – St Martin’s Press 1995

Before I get into interpretation, here’s a chart from a class I did about what this element stuff means. If you’re curious about elemental dignities, Mary K. Greer does a sensible and succinct introduction to this topic here. Stay tuned. By the time I get rolling with this blog, it will be filled with Elemental Geekery.


The relationships between elements
Fire – Wands Water – Cups Air – Swords Earth – Pentacles  
Fire – Fire Water – Water Air – Air Earth – Earth Strongest
Air – Fire Active air feeds active fire Strong
Water – Earth Passive water feeds passive earth Strong
Air – Water Active air with passive water Neutral
Fire – Earth Active fire with passive earth Neutral
Water – Fire Passive water extinguishes active fire Weak
Air – Earth Active air erodes passive earth Weak


The interpretation…

Rather than interpret, card by card, I decided to focus on a few. I started with the Ace of cups. The cups are associated with water. Lisa de St. Croix’s Ace of Cups is a wave of emotion. In its earth position in this spread, this emotional wave is approaching tsunami status. The Ace in this spread stood out for me because of its elemental and visual commonality with the Queen of cups.

I interpreted the Queen of Cups as my grandmother’s message for me. Even though it wasn’t a part of the spread and even though there was another card/position designated for that message. Why? In part because of my reaction to the card. When I pulled this Queen I was instantly filled from the heart out. Tears welled up and I was bombarded by memories of my grandmother, her emotional nature, and her vulnerability. I was interpreting feelings rather than words or thoughts when I sat with this card. This intuitive and emotion-based response was highlighted by the Ace of Cups.

The wild card, the Queen, somehow ended up being central to the spread. This reminded me of the relationship between chaos and intuition. It’s the little nonsensical and often illogical actions that often lead to intuitive breakthrough for me. The moment I felt my visceral emotional response to the Queen, I knew that the card under the scarf, the one intended to be her message for me, might not hold as much as weight. I turned it and it fell flat, just as I thought it would. I left it underneath. Rather than move the top layer to the side as I had intended when I chose to use the scarf, I focused again on the Queen. She mirrored the message of the Ace of Cups: I honor her legacy by embracing vulnerability, intuition, and emotions even when it seems random, even when it seems illogical. It is as though the Queen, my grandmother, and I ask myself:

What expands my heart? How can I grow the softest parts of myself? What gentle gifts can I offer the world?

These questions bring me back to the Mercer quote, the theme of this year, my life’s work of late, and all the community spaces where I participate. I find myself with yet another question:

How might I discover an older unity?

By leaving the answers to my intuition and, sometimes, trusting the chaos.

[Tweet “How might I discover an older unity? By trusting the chaos. #radicaltarot”]







– Bio –halloweenbio

Siobhan is a NYC-born writer, intuitive, and professional tarot reader living in central Texas. She moonlights as an aerialist, poet, educator, circle facilitator, and alternative relationship coach. She delights in diverse spaces and writes a Radical Tarot newsletter with tarot tools, ritual, and geekery, to foster awareness and empowerment with tarot. Read about her or contribute/subscribe to her freakishly relevant Tarotscopes, where she features a kaleidoscope of tarot readers. Variety ftw!

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