This started out as a much simpler “monthly card pull” and swiftly became much more complicated and elaborate. It can still be used that way (or with any other root significator, like a year card, or anything else you might choose). I realize there are dozens if not hundreds of other Elemental Tarot spreads in the Tarot-verse. This is simply my ritual take on it. This method works for me, but I encourage you to customize it and tailor it to your own modalities and way of working. The next time I try it I may even change it!
This elemental tarot spread incorporates the four elements (five if you decide to include spirit) have them influence your reading as well as use the Tarot to understand the elemental energies you’ve raised.
Call The Quarters
This can done using elemental energy alone or with Arch Angel intelligences, as well. You can also trace invoking elemental pentagrams in the air or sigils associated with the Arch Angels. Cast a circle and call these energies in your usual way. Your way is the best way!
Lay Down your Cards
Lay down the significator card of your choice, or leave the center space blank.
Arrange the Cards
Set your four cards in a cross shape around the center space or significator card. Place each element’s card in line with this direction. (Earth to the north, Air to the East, Fire to the south, and Water to the west). As you pull each directional card, focus on the feeling and impressions you get from that element, not on the card, itself, or what the card might mean.
Decide on a Spirit Card
If you decide to use a spirit card, lay it across the significator or inside the emtpy, center space.
Reveal the Cards
Now, turn each card over. Start with Earth/North, and work your way clockwise around the circle of cards. As you read each card, keep in mind that the meaning is in the context of it’s elemental direction. For example, in my example photograph at the top to the page, I have the Five of Cups (reversed) in the seat of Air. So, if I read that card as recovery from heartbreak/betrayal or crushing disappointment, I understand it in the context of Air. So, while my heart may be broken, it’s happening in a more intellectual space. Perhaps it’s an idea by which I feel betrayed or maybe I’ve horribly misunderstood something which leaves me feeling that same way. For me, It offers a new way of understanding the cards.
Finally, the Spirit Card
After you complete the circle of your first four cards, turn over the spirit card, if you use it. Since spirit guides everything (in my view) this can help put the other cards in perspective or balance them out. In my example, the Ten of Cups is such a joyous and harmonizing card, I know that overall things will work out and be resolved. This lends credence to the idea that the challenging cards in my spread (primarily the Eight of Cups and Five of Cups, but also possibly the Knight of Cups) might not be so bad, especially since I read Air and Fire challenges as usually coming from within myself and not without.
Relate it to the Significator
In my case, I used the current year card, the Emperor. If this is a reading for the month, how do the events of the month move toward an Emperor realization? What will be the ups and downs on that path? If am reading for the whole year, or even the present moment, what are the combined Tarot/Elemental messages that will move me toward that Emperor realization. If you use a different significator, how do the cards help you realize the intelligence of that significator, or how do they help you arrive at the goal presented by your significator.
After you’ve read the cards, be present with them and the elemental energies you’ve raised in your reading. Absurd whatever else they have to teach you.
Close The Work
Once your work is finished, thank the energies you called at each quarter and dismiss them in your usual way. Close the circle.