A Layout for Personal Sustainability


Justice – Tarot

 First off, I must be sure to acknowledge that the essence of this layout comes from my partner John.  His work over the last years has fixated on brining green and sustainable solutions to the practical areas of our lives:  energy use, housing, green jobs, computing, ect.  While there has been a lot of talk about greening these areas, there has been less support for those working in green business to bring their products and services to market, and with this challenging economy, individuals have less to invest in green.  After many years of pushing full tilt on various projects, he is re-assessing how he can best use his energy and skills.  Yesterday, he began reflecting on how the green mantra of Reduce-Reuse-Recycle could also apply to our personal energy.

I was intrigued and the idea just started to call out for reflection questions and a Tarot spread.

On the personal level, a focus on Reducing invites you to look at areas where you just shouldn’t bother expending energy; keep it for yourself!  Reusing energy calls for looking at places, past and present, in your life where there is existing energy waiting to be used more productively.  Re-cycling of personal energy is an interesting concept.  I can’t help but imagine the shape shifting possibilities of taking old, worn out energies and transforming them into a something different that better aligns with the life one would like to lead.

I developed a six card spread for exploring these concepts.


  1. Where should I stop directing my energy in order to support greater personal sustainability?


  1. How can I make this change in how I direct my energy?



  1. What energy is already available to me to draw upon for greater effectiveness?


  1. How can I access this energy?



  1. How can I shift my energy use into a different form to open up new possibilities in my life?


  1. What / who can help me make this shift?


If you have Tarot cards, you might want to try this spread out for yourself.  If you don’t have cards, mediating or journaling on these questions on their own would be valuable.  Or make an appointment with me and we can explore them together!

I’d love to hear what people find.

Leave a Comment

December 11, 2010, 8:45 pm Paris

This is an excellent spread. The principal problem today for many is time management–which is, of course, a subset of “personal energy” management.

I tried the spread asking for “a big picture view” with the following results:

1. Knave of Cups
[Stop spending all my energy on work.]
2. Knight of Cups
[There’s an opportunity RIGHT NOW to make a change, but it is fragile.]
3. Four of Money (rev.)
[Bring the current personal energy usage to a halt.]
4. Ace of Wands
[Force the issue if I must.]
5. Six of Cups (rev.)
[Rearrange activities until balanced and harmonious.]
6. The Lovers (rev.)
[Find a new business partner; spend more time with Linda. Look to relationships for help.]

I could also see this as a good breakfast coffee spread. How can I best use my energy TODAY.

Innovative and creative work, here, Carolyn. Thanks for sharing this, and my thanks to your partner, John, for helping to lead us all toward thinking differently about how to be in the world.

December 13, 2010, 3:16 pm Carolyn

So glad that you like the spread, Paris, and that it is proving you will useful insights.

How wonderful to have The Lovers as a helper (even if it is reversed – for reversals, I still think of the energy as present and available to be accessed).

Hmm, your Knave and Knight in the first questions intrigue me. I’m working on something about how the Majors can be Gateways of Transition for “maturing” through the Courts. The Gateway here would be Justice, which of course, invites us to think of balance. More to come here. Your sharing is putting some energy under getting that blog post done. Thanks!

January 14, 2011, 5:53 pm Beth

Hi, Carolyn! I had fantastic results using this spread in connection with Joanna Powell Colbert’s Time Out of Time workbook, visioning my intention for the coming year. Naturally, I used the Gaian Tarot! 😉

Anyway, this is just a terrific spread, and I will be adding it to my repertoire with your permission! Brilliant!!! Thank you so much!

– Beth

January 15, 2011, 2:02 pm Carolyn

Oh, yes, it is, of course, a perfect spread to combine with the Gaian and how cool that it helped you with your visioning and planning. Yes, please, feel free to use and share. My partner John is rather proud of having come up with concept so in anything public, he’d be tickled to be acknowledged.

April 22, 2012, 12:04 am faerygodmother

I love this concept. I tried it and here’s what I got-
Reduce- 6 of Swords and Strength; I should stop directing my energy away and escaping my feelings and pretending they don’t exist and Strength, just dealing with things will help me do that. I get what that’s about. In short it’s procrastination isn’t it. Why do today what i can put off till tomorrow except that doing that takes more energy then just getting it over with in the first place.
Reuse- 2 of Cups and 6 of Pentacles; I have the love and support of those around me, and I can access it by accepting the love that is offered to me. Again, makes sense. I do have a bad habit of getting my head stuck in the clouds.
Recycle- 3 of Swords and the Hanged Man. Hmm. Trickier. I’d say the Hanged Man makes this about transforming bad feelings or negativity into something productive- about dealing with issues rather then burying them. Which makes sense given I was thinking only few hours ago that my hubby to be and I have a tendency to be too nice to each other sometimes- we don’t want to hurt each others feelings so we go out of our way to be extra forgiving even if that means allowing each other to get away with stuff that bothers us.
Overall a very useful spread that i will certainly be adding to my arsenal.

April 22, 2012, 12:26 pm Carolyn

Ah so glad that spread was helpful. And the 3 of Swords and the Hanged Man are most interesting recycle cards. i actually think of the 3 of Swords as a care of release so it make sense that once we let the emotions flow, that energy becomes available to us in many realms. Fits with your ideas about the Hanged Man energy. May your energy flow well through out this day!

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