My Go-To Spread (II): Do / Stop / Continue
I've written before about how I'm not really a "spreads" kind of tarot reader. I stick to the basics pretty much—the Celtic Cross, which isn't the most popular spread among modern readers; the spreads within my Wild Unknown Spirit Cloth (mostly because it helps to have a visual to help me recall positions and meanings); and your garden variety three-card spreads.
I've taken a lot of online tarot courses where we're trained to design our own spreads and come up with exactly the right questions for very specific situations. I'm a huge fan of Kelly-Ann Maddox, who I think, designs some of the smartest spreads I've ever seen. (She's read for me several times too and she always manages to come up with really effective, well-thought out questions). I'm also a follower of Ethony, whose super relevant full moon and new moon spreads have been keeping me on track and in sync with the lunar cycles for the last couple of years. But, I don't know. As far as reading for myself and my clients goes, it just doesn't stick. I can pull up a certain spread for myself, have it written on paper right beside me, but instinct always propels me to freestyle it and pull card after card and just say whatever comes to mind.
At the very least, I have a couple of three-card spreads that always seem to do the job, no matter what the circumstance is. Do / Stop / Continue is one I pulled up from the Spirit Cloth (it's the "Three Gems" spread) and is pretty useful whether I'm at a tarot event and need to give super quick five-minute readings, or just feel the need for self-reflection but haven't got a lot to journal about.
Do provides you with an actionable step. This becomes the "homework"—the follow through someone needs after all the self-reflection and catharsis that comes up at a reading. The 9 of Coins, for example, could be an indication to indulge oneself a little—be more independent, travel solo, and in Parks & Recreation terms, "treat yo' self."
Stop sheds light on behaviors that someone needs to quit. After all, we find ourselves in sticky 10 of Swords situations because of these annoying behavioral patterns that come up again and again (and again). The Page of Wands in the "Stop" position could indicate a person's need to quit experimenting already. Ever meet someone who passionately dives into a new "life-altering" hobby every week? It can be kind of annoying (LOL). Sometimes, commitment can be cool.
Continue is a nice reminder that you're doing something right. When you end with a "Stop" card, you can feel a little demotivated and put down. Continue cycles you back into the positive sphere and assures you that not all is lost—that you do know how to navigate your way through life (even just a little). The Hanged Man in this position, for example, could mean that you're doing pretty well in tough situations. You might feel like you're cracking on the inside but you're keeping it together. Hang in there just a little while longer and the transformational change (and sigh of relief) that Death brings is coming soon.
I don't really know why, out of all the spreads of the Spirit Cloth, that this is the one that stuck with me, but it's remained to be a semi-old faithful this past year or so.
How about you—do you do spreads or are you a freestyle reader? Which spreads do you favor and why? Comment below and let's start a discussion, fam.