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A “Happy Birthday” spread

January 7, 2015

Birthday cakeCurrently I am working on a revised edition of my book about Tarot spreads, Tarot: Get the Whole Story (which, by the way, I will re-title Tarot Spreads: Get the Whole Story). In the process of reviewing it, I came across a simple explanation of a “Happy Birthday” spread. Here is a passage about it from the book:

At the 2002 San Francisco Bay Area Tarot Symposium I presented a workshop on creating spreads, after which, one of the participants asked me if I could suggest a spread she might use to do a birthday reading for her sister. She told me that she had done these birthday readings for several years now, but this year she was inspired by my workshop to create a spread that would be specifically tailored for the occasion and for her sister, so I asked her to tell me a little bit about her sister. The detail that stood out the most was the fact that this woman’s sister was a cook, so I suggested that she create a spread with positions based on the ingredients of a birthday cake. For example, sugar might suggest what is sweet in her life; flour, the main ingredient of the coming year; eggs, new beginnings that she is facing; milk, what nurtures her; and candles, her wishes for the coming year.

That conversation reminded me that sometimes we are called upon to do readings on holidays or special occasions such as birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, Halloween, Thanksgiving, or New Year’s Day. …

From there, my book continues on to present a New Year’s Resolution spread, with which I did a sample reading for Don Juan. Since I only mentioned that birthday spread briefly in the book, I thought I would flesh it out more and post it here on my blog for you all. (Note that I added positions for several other cake ingredients.)

Here is the layout:

Birthday Cake spread

(By the way, I like the way that this layout kind of looks like a three layered cake.)

Here are the positional definitions:

Card 1: What is the main thing you may anticipate for the coming year? (Flour)
Card 2: What good things (i.e., sweetness) lie ahead in the coming year? (Sugar)
Card 3: What is increasing (rising) in your life this year? (Yeast or Baking Powder)
Card 4: What new beginnings are you facing? (Eggs)
Card 5: What will nurture you this coming year? (Milk)
Card 6: What can add richness to your life this year? (Butter)
Card 7: What additional benefit or enhancement can you bring to this coming year? (Icing on the cake)
Card 8: What is your main wish for the coming year? (Candles)
Card 9: How can you make that wish come true? (Candles)

These positional meanings are, of course, just suggestions. You might want to revise them, perhaps based on alternative considerations about the ingredients. For example, you might prefer to focus on the binding properties of butter, which could lead you to a very different meaning for the sixth position.

Finally, I want to make a comment about predictive readings. I don’t do predictive readings (as I say, “I’m a fortune helper, not a fortune teller”), but I realize that many people do (such as the woman whose request for help with a birthday spread stated all this). However, although this spread seems to be intended for a predictive reading, it may be used to show the querent how to create a great year beginning with their birthday instead of predicting what the coming year will be like. You may reinterpret the positional definitions for that intention, and of course, it all depends on how you read the cards.




  1. James, thank you so much for sharing this.

    Your timing is truly Divine. As today (Thursday, January 8, 2015) is my Birthday. And, my chronological age Numerologically reduces to “9,” as in the nine Cards in this Spread.

    I look forward to the revised re-issue of your book, and shall definitely give it to myself as a Birthday gift once it is available.

    Have a great day, and a wonderful weekend.

    • Hi Robert,
      You’re very welcome, and Happy Birthday! If you did a reading for yourself, I hope the spread served you well.
      As for the re-issue of my spreads book, keep your eye on this blog. I’ll certainly post a big notice when it is available!
      Bright Blessings,

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