Tarot Spread for Inner ConflictMar 18, 2022
Several years ago I was hanging out with an ex-girlfriend (as lesbians do) who was telling me about a therapist she was seeing who used the Internal Family Systems (IFS) model created by Richard Schwartz. I didn’t know anything about this model at the time, but I was really intrigued by what she told me about the different parts of ourselves.
She explained that there was the Self, which is the essence of who we are. When we are led by the Self we are connected, compassionate, clear—essentially we have a strong sense of who we are and what is right for us.
Then there are other parts like the Inner Manager who tries to keep us in control and stop us from feeling the emotions that our Inner Exile or Wounded Parts want us to pay attention to. There is also an Inner Firefighter who reacts and attempts to soothe the wounds of the Inner Exile.
As soon as she left my house I got out my tarot deck to find out what these different parts of myself had to say. I’m not exaggerating when I say that that one tarot reading changed the course of my life.
I discovered that my Inner Manager was LOUD. So loud that I wasn’t led by my Self but rather by this Manager. I was also rewarded by allowing this part of myself to run the show. When I let my Inner Manager speak first I was great at ignoring my needs, which Capitalism certainly rewards you for.
I was a high achiever at work and in my life. From the outside it looked like I had it all figured out and was somehow able to keep everything in my life running smoothly. When I did that initial tarot reading I remember that the Inner Manager was pretty proud of themselves.
The Wounded part of myself which I thought of as the Inner Child at that time was very unhappy. They felt unseen, unheard, and so small. I remember crying when I pulled the card out because I knew how much I had been ignoring this aspect of myself and the creative desires they wanted me to prioritize over work and perfectionism.
The Firefighter was exhausted from years of trying to protect the Wounded part of myself by throwing lots of numbing mechanisms between the different parts of myself.
So I had some issues that needed to be resolved.
After that tarot reading I started to let the Wounded part of myself have a voice. I began painting and writing voraciously. I stopped working out for a while. I supported my Inner Firefighter by learning ways to be present with my body and nervous system.
This profoundly healing tarot spread helped me change my beliefs about who I am, what I'm capable of and what I deserve.
Ever since that day this spread has become my go to tarot spread for burnout and feeling stuck. When all of the parts of me are arguing and so loud I can't hear my internal compass, this is the spread I come back to time and time again.
Eventually I ended up pursuing education as a coach where I was able to learn more about Internal Family Systems and have since taught so many of my clients how to use the spread that I’m sharing here with you in this blog post. You can use tarot or oracle cards for this spread, although I find tarot cards to be more useful. I explain exactly how I use this spread inside my free Reading Your Inner Family Tarot Class.
Do you want guidance on how to start using tarot cards to access these deeper feelings?
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Inside this free class you'll learn...
how to use tarot to listen to yourself and express your needs with clarity
the most important framework for understanding tarot
how to use tarot for deep healing
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- How to identify inherited family patterns in your natal chart
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