Breaking and Making Patterns

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I’ve never seen the movie “Groundhog Day“, but I know the plot summary, which is that, through repetition of a single day in his life, Bill Murray’s character learns to be a better person and to take actions to make the world a better place.

We all have patterns of behavior, speech, feeling, or thinking that are helpful to us – we read Tarot for insight, we meditate for calm, we brush our teeth so we have fresh breath and nice smiles. We also have negative patterns which keep us stuck in unhealthy situations and create distress. Some of these unhealthy patterns may have developed as coping mechanisms which served us temporarily, but now the situation has changed and we have moved on, and the pattern, instead of supporting us, now limits our growth.

At tonight’s San Francisco Tarot Cafe, we did two spreads to help us examine negative patterns, and how to break free of them and create a new, positive pattern to replace the unhealthy behavior.

You can do this with one deck, but it works better with two decks. Use one deck for the first spread, and a different deck for the second spread.

The first spread gives an overview of the negative pattern. Think about the pattern you’re stuck in, shuffle the cards, and lay them out so:




Card 1 represents the pattern itself. What are you stuck in? What is going on?

Card 2 represents what is keeping you stuck in the pattern. Why do you keep repeating this pattern? What purpose did it used to serve that is now a limitation?

Card 3 represent how to break out of the pattern. What energy do you need to help you move forward? What needs to change?

The second spread gives detailed information about breaking free.  Keep card 3 from the first spread out, and lay it to your left. Shuffle your second deck, and draw five cards from it. The cards from the first spread are to the left of cards in the new spread:

From first spread
New cards for second spread

First, take a look at the cards in the second spread – are any of them the same as any of the cards in the first spread? If so, examine the link between the card’s positions in each spread. Where did the same card repeat? Is it reversed or upright from the first spread? Are the images similar or different?

The cards themselves offer the following insight:

Card 1 represents the changes you need to make in the physical / material world to break free of the old pattern and create a new one. This might be as simple as cleaning your house to remove clutter and dust, or as involved as revamping your eating habits.

Card 2 represents the emotional changes you need to make. What emotions or emotional responses to the situation no longer serve you? Where do you need to grow, what do you need to let go of? It might be an emotional pattern based on a relationship you left long ago, and you no longer need to protect yourself from that person.

Card 3 represents the creative changes needed to move into a new way of being. We’re all creative in our daily lives, even if we don’t engage in what are usually thought of as “creative” activities. How can you bring your creative spirit into your life more so that you can live more fully?

Card 4 represents the intellectual changes needed to move forward. Our thoughts often keep us stuck longer than our emotions do – our heart knows we need to move on, but our mind persists in giving us limiting thoughts which keep us stuck. Alternately, we spend so much time thinking about different possibilities that we develop analysis paralysis and don’t actually *do* anything to create change.

Card 5 represents changes need on the level of soul or spirit. These are often the changes we are first aware of that we need to make, especially if we have some kind of soulful or spiritual practice which allows us to focus on our higher selves. At the same time that we are aware of these needed changes, these can be the hardest changes to make, as they require us to accept a new image of ourselves as strong, capable, and powerful, and sometimes require what feel like drastic steps to create change.  Sometimes, yes, a dramatic change is called for; often, however, the most dramatic changes are on the inner level, not the outer world, and are invisible and unknown to anyone but ourselves.

I used David Palladini‘s Aquarian Tarot for Spread 1, and the fabulous Wildwood Tarot by Mark Ryan, John Matthews, and Will Worthington for Spread 2.  The final card in Spread 2 was the beautiful and haunting card 10, The Wheel.

Wildwood Tarot: 10, The Wheel

Their summary of the card tells us exactly what we need to know about living in awareness of our patterns:

“. . . on the human level we are the weavers of our own destiny.   Consciously or unconsciously, we make the patterns and possibilities that mark our path through fate. We wear our fate around us like a cloak, carrying with us all the potential and possibilities that the universe has to offer and, although the seemingly random, chaotic nature of the universe always has the final word, we can affect our own life and that of the world by taking control of our own destiny.  Many believe that fate is set, that all things are predestined no matter what we do in this human reality, but the weaver of the cloak can affect this ever-shifting matrix of potential just by recognizing the pattern and making timely decisions.  We can grasp the web of fate and weave in our own special, personal pattern.”

From The Wildwood Tarot companion book, pp. 56 – 57

I hope these spreads are helpful to you as you weave the tapestry of your life.

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