Story of the Soul Tarot Layout
(c) Cheryl Lynne Bradley 2001
"I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was
no man that would know me:
refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul."
Psalm 142, Verse 4 KJV
"Three things distinguish living from the
soul versus living from the ego only. They are: the ability to sense and learn
new ways, the tenacity to ride a rough road and the patience to learn deep love
Clarissa Pinkola-Estes "Women Who Run with the Wolves"
"'So I said to my soul, be still and wait
Because hope would be hope for the wrong thing.
And wait without love, because love would be love for the wrong thing.
But there is yet faith, and the faith and the love and the hope are all in the
T.S. Eliot "East Coker"
Soul means many things, both to us as
individuals, and in centuries of religious and cultural interpretations,
literature, scripture, doctrines and debates. Almost every interpretation
varies on the same theme, that every living body is made up of visible,
physical matter and an invisible spirit, the soul. The soul is considered by
some to be the conscience or the individual consciousness. It is viewed as the
centre of energy and as the manifestation of invisible reality in people.
"What is the source of this soul power and
how can we tap into it? I believe it often comes from unexpected places. It
comes first of all from living close to the heart, and not at odds with it.
Therefore, paradoxically, soul power may emerge from failure, depression, and
loss. The general rule is that soul appears in the gaps and holes of
experience. It is usually tempting to find some subtle way of denying these
holes or distancing ourselves from them. But we have all experienced moments
when we've lost a job or endured an illness only to find an unexpected inner
Thomas Moore "Care of the Soul"
According to Carl G. Jung, the soul was a link
to the unconscious and a personification of its contents which belonged both to
the individual and to the spirit world. Jung developed the concept of
individuation. Individuation is a process by which we achieve the sense of
being a unique individual actively involved in the workings of our soul. The
more we can embrace the possibilities of life entering into us, the more
individual we are. He felt that only when we embraced our grief could our souls
"Transparent Man, who is seen and seen
through, foolish, who has nothing left to hide, who has become transparent
through self acceptance; his soul is loved, wholly revealed, wholly
existential; he is just what he is, freed from paranoid concealment, from the
knowledge of his secrets and his secret knowledge; his transparency serves as a
prism for the world and the not-world. For it is impossible reflectively to
know thyself; only the last reflection of an obituary may tell the truth, and
only God knows our real names."
James Hillman "Myths of Analysis"
Pythagoras believed the soul was a fallen,
polluted deity incarcerated in the body and doomed to a perpetual cycle of
rebirth. He also believed that the soul could be liberated by ritual
purifications which would allow the soul to achieve harmony with the universe.
Origen, a third Century Christian Platonist, believed there was a kinship
between God and the soul and that knowledge of the divine was a natural state.
He viewed the Virgin Birth as the birth of the divine Wisdom in the soul.
Gnosticism held that spiritual beings had grown
tired of perfect comtemplation of the God who had shown himself to them in the
Logos, the divine Word and Wisdom. They had fallen from the divine world into
physical bodies which stopped their descent. The soul could still ascend to God
in a slow, steady journey which continued after the death of the physical body.
The Apostle Paul distinguished between the soul (psyche) which animated the
physical body (soma) and the immortal spirit (pneuma) which was informed by the
Holy Spirit. The spirit shone through the psyche onto the complete individual,
so that the individual could live and be made whole again after the
I have developed the following reading based on
some of the higher concepts and lower limitations of our souls. This is a 22
card spread and the whole deck is utilized. To prepare for the reading create
your atmosphere as per your typical routine, I recommend a white candle. Close
your eyes and focus your consciousness on your soul space, the space between
your rib cage and your back. Relax and bring your focus inward. Inhale deeply
and release the breath. Formulate the question "What is my soul's
story?" and let it drop into your soul space, visualize or simply feel
this occurring. Listen for the answer and continue holding the question in your
soul. Open your eyes, shuffle your deck and cut the cards in your usual method.
One or two words will float into your awareness. Meditate on these words as you
deal out the cards in the following layout.
1. What is the burden or beauty of my soul's
2. What informs my soul's understanding?
3. What strengthens or weakens my soul's will?
4. What is sweetest to my soul?
5. What is highest to my soul?
6. What is best to my soul?
7. What is helping or hindering my soul's
ability to discern and embrace new ways?
8. What is helping or hindering my soul's perseverance, strength and endurance?
9. What is helping or hindering my soul's patience to learn and accept deep
10. What does my soul feel?
11. What does my soul sense?
12. What does my soul believe?
13. What is my soul attached to?
14. What does my soul know?
15. What does my soul have faith in?
16. What does my soul have hope in?
17. What does my soul love?
18. What is my soul waiting for?
19. What fills my soul with peace?
20. What is helping or hindering my soul to
21. What is helping or hindering my soul to exercise restraint?
22. What is helping or hindering my soul to surrender to pleasure?
I would recommend this as a good reading to
include in your journal in order that you may come back and reflect and
meditate on its insights at a later date. Eat something after you have
completed the Soul Story to ground yourself again. This reading would be
helpful done once a year for insight or on a birthday or anniversary date.
Please use it as required if a genuine soul crisis occurs in your life or
someone else's. Be prepared for a surprising, insightful and genuine story of
the state of your soul. Let self be transparent, send ego to bed along with
your lower emotions, fears, anxieties and doubts. The dark beauty of your
soul's story is calling you, make time to listen.
"So plant your own garden and decorate
your own soul, instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers. And you
learn that you really can endure...that you really are strong, and you really
do have worth."
Veronica A. Shofstall "After A While"
"Bring my soul out of prison, that I may
praise thy name: the righteous shall compass me about; for thou shalt deal
bountifully with me."
Psalm 142, Verse 7 KJV
"For what shall it profit a man, is he
shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in
exchange for his soul?"
Mark 8, Verses 36, 37 KJV
"For most of human history we have
searched for our place in the cosmos. Who are we? What are we? We find that we
inhabit an insignificant planet of a humdrum star lost in a galaxy tucked away
in some forgotten corner of a universe in which there are far more galaxies
than people. We make our world significant by the courage of our questions, and
by the depth of our answers."
"We gaze up at the same stars, the sky
covers us all, the same universe encompasses us. What does it matter what
practical system we adopt in our search for the truth? Not by one avenue only
can we arrive at so tremendous a secret."
Symmachus 384, C.E.
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