Spread of the Month

Article written by Anna Lindberg
Using the Elder Fire spread by Joanna Powell Colbert

October is the month where we find ourselves ending things, Samhain, the last harvest, All Hallows, Halloween. Whatever tradition, or not, that we follow and want to call it. For many of us, it is the last of the harvest celebrations and also the time when the veil is at its thinnest between this world and the Otherworld. 

Unfortunately, for many non-pagan people, this is just a commercial happening, you dress up as a monster or a fairy perhaps, and go trick or treating. The understanding of what it has been and still is have gone lost. I can see that very much here in my part of the world where we haven't had this kind of celebration until the last 20 years or so. 

Here it's become the business for selling all kinds of Halloween stuff as you can along with the Christmas/Yule stuff, money, parties, candy. So there is precious little understanding of the spiritual side of it. When the Halloween celebrations started to get big here in Sweden the merchants decided to move it to be on the same weekend as All Hallows, something that has upset people that follow the Christian tradition a great deal. 

Those who follow the Pagan/Wicca path including myself try to inform as much as we can, explaining that October 31 is the day for Halloween and not November something as is usual for All Hallows. For my daughter and I, October 31 is the day to remember our dearly departed, our ancestors from long ago and friends that are no longer with us.

This is a spread by Joanna Powell Colbert, creator of the Gaian Tarot that I am very fond of. For this spread, I chose to work with Ghost Tarot from Lo Scarabeo. 

The Elder of Fire Tarot Spread.




1 Offering: What or who is dead or dying, that you need to honor?

2. Challenge: What task does the Elder of Fire ask of you?

3. Center: Where do you find your center of power?

4. Opening: What new sweetness is wafting in on the scent of burning herbs?

5. Wisdom: What secrets do the ancestors whisper to you during this season of All Hallows?

October spread bats

The Offering, what or who that is dead or dying that we need to honor is represented by the very traditional Hierophant in this deck. I wouldn’t say that it’s the Pope or Christianity that is dead or dying really, even if that could be tempting, but what needs to go is perhaps teachings and ways of tradition that no longer has any meaning to us no matter what tradition or path we follow. We can be grateful for whatever we have been given or learned along the way, but this is a time for things to start changing in time. Move outside our traditional boundaries and what has kept us stuck and unable to move along and find better ways or widen our perspectives on things.

The Elder of Fire offers us a challenge, and what she asks of us we find in the 3 of Pentacles. Here we see a ghostly figure chipping away on a pillar where there are some details that still need to be properly worked on. In the foreground, we see a woman kneeling and she's pouring water into a pot where there is a tree or bush that grows. So what is it the Elder of Fire asks of us then? Focus on doing what is necessary and important at this time, make sure you finish whatever you are doing, and do it well, but don't forget to keep what is coming with the returning light growing for the future.

In the center of this spread, we find Strength for where we find our center of power. This is represented by a big ghostly lion standing at the side of a woman clad in steel armor. Beside her is a young girl in a pink dress, holding her cat. With great strength comes a responsibility, to be kind and gentle even if we can seem fearsome at times. Our strength is there to protect those who are more vulnerable, no matter if it's a part of ourselves or someone around us. 

An opening, a sweetness that wafts in on the scent of burning herbs comes with the 6 of Swords. A traditional image with a ghostly ferryman holding his stake and transporting a woman and a young boy over the moonlit water. Despite the fact that we are in the times of shortening days here in the northern hemisphere, there is still a chance to move forward even if it's not as fast or as obvious as to where we are going. Trust in that we are heading in the right direction right now, follow the path wherever it leads and let the moon be your guide.


The final card is about wisdom, what secrets our ancestors whisper to us during this time of All Hallows and Samhain. Here we find the Page of Pentacles, a robed and hooded figure holding a coin or a plaque in front of him, but what is the wisdom, what secrets are told here? Be still and listen, stay grounded and hear the words whispered inside of us, the words from the Earth, our ancestors, that tell us about what is important to learn, what direction to take and how to stay grounded in these times of change and seemingly not for the better in some areas. Don’t let others push you off balance, listen and be still, there will be time for action later.

A final message from The Halloween Oracle by Stacey Demarco where we find Werewolf, exploring the wilderness. This is a card that deals with the ‘civilized’ and the ‘magical’ side of ourselves and the world. Stacey says that this can be hard to balance, especially for a Werewolf who doesn’t make the shifts voluntarily and has no control over it. Finding a healthy balance between our animal nature that is wild and free, connected to nature, and our more civilized side that might be separate from, or dominating nature. We should consider this balance and how we live and act on this planet. Perhaps it’s time to move away from our technical gadgets and get some new views, see the nature, run, howl at the moon?

So, we are in times of change and it doesn’t matter if we like it or not. We just have to try and do our best, be our best at these times. Focus on what is important, don't forget our connection to nature, the wild and the magic in everything. Stay grounded, be kind and be the person you would like to see more of in this world. This is a time for reflection, going inside and come out on the other side, hopefully, a better person, making our ancestors and family proud of us, as well as ourselves.


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