I’ve just passed 175 self-created spreads in my personal inventory (see the Dropbox link in the sidebar for the list, which you can explore in the WordPress search function), and I paused a moment to wonder whether I will ever use the majority of these spreads in practice. Although I’ve binned them by category, the challenging thing is to remember what I have out there (and it certainly doesn’t help that I’ve developed a taste for quirky titles). I’ve tried them all at least once, of course, for testing purposes but have revisited only a very small percentage of them for actual reading. This begs the question “Why bother doing it?”
I can think of two answers: 1) I truly enjoy spread development as a practical way to apply my theories about divination; and 2) I want to offer my results to the community for experimentation. I’ve long planned to put them all in a bound book because thumbing through them is more satisfying and inspiring than chasing down electronic files by name and topic area, as well as serving as a memory-jogger. But the more I accumulate, the larger the task of organizing them for publication becomes, and I can’t imagine there is much profit in it to justify all the work after I absorb the self-publishing costs.
A few of you have told me that you value these layouts for your own use; you have my appreciation for letting me know. A reader comment in one of the American Tarot Association publications once called me a “rock star” of spread creation, but such flattering accolades are few and far between. Mostly I get silence, which I’ve come to expect for most of my posts here. The occasional “likes” are usually reserved for my more complex essays, which is a sign that I’m reaching my intended audience, to whom I’m trying to provide a thought-provoking alternative to the socially-driven “fluff” one finds in so much of our present-day “throw-away” culture, divinatory or otherwise. I suppose I’m a throwback to a time when easily digestible and just as easily disposable ideas and the cult of “instant gratification” were largely unknown within esoteric circles. We were on a serious inner mission, not looking to provide popular entertainment, and most of us weren’t expecting to make a living at it.
Reading the cards for other people was and still is a pleasant and instructive side-trip for me, giving me a chance to validate my ideas “in the wild.” More the better if I can actually be helpful to those few who seek me out, most of whom never realize they are under a microscope. It would be great to get more feedback on the predictive aspect of my work, but the pleasure is in the performance – especially in face-to-face reading situations – not primarily in the accuracy of my results or my overall track record. My goal is to give my sitters a complete experience, useful information in an entertaining package. I’m not averse to making a few bucks at this practice, but it will never produce a “living wage” by any stretch of the imagination. Nor would I want the kind of time commitment that would make that possible.