Reading by the light of the moon: the full moon tarot spread

Full Moon Spread - December 25, 2015

Before I start — Merry Christmas, everyone! I had a wonderful day yesterday; I spent it with my grandparents as well as my tante, the animal-loving media studies professor who gave me the tarot deck that started it all. (Technically I bought the Rider Waite-Smith deck in Singapore years before, but I made my first reading with the Introduction to Tarot kit she gave me a couple of Christmases ago.) I hope yours went wonderfully too!

While the full moon reveals itself every month, last night’s full moon was the first to coincide with Christmas Day since 1977, which makes it especially meaningful! And as Beth has said,

This [the full moon] isn’t about being super proactive — the full moon is a time for reflection, rather than starting new things.

The new moon, where all we see in the night sky is a blank canvas ready to wax…that is the time for beginnings, plannings, new starts and proactivity. So this spread is for the ‘interim report’, half way between one new moon and the next.

Which is why, as the moon reached its fullest at approximately seven in the evening, I prepared a spread that’s fascinated me for a while: the full moon tarot spread.

Full Moon Tarot Spread

The spread is split into three phases, so to speak: the waning moon (Cards 1-3), the waxing moon (Cards 4-6), and the lesson (Card 7). And I asked: What should I know, learn, and keep in mind for the next new moon?

Full Moon Spread - December 25, 2015
I have yet to find the perfect spot to take photos of spreads – this is a table on the patio!

THINGS TO LET GO OF: Page of Pentacles, reversed

How fitting is it that the first card I drew made me feel guilty immediately? Upright, the Page of Pentacles is a card about movement — about the chance to experience wealth, abundance, security, and achievement. Reversed, it admonishes you for not taking that path: You have the chance to do more but haven’t taken it.

In my case, the idea came to mind immediately: a freelance job offer that I haven’t acted on. I’ve put off working on my portfolio because I know it won’t look fancy (I’m a copywriter, not an artist!). But working on it would add value to me, so why keep it at arm’s length?

I think this card also talks about being at a physical standstill. It’s Christmas season, yes, but I haven’t been able to say no to temptation in the form of food or drink in ages, especially when doing so labels you as a killjoy at parties or during workday lunches! The Page of Pentacles says, Leave that behind. Leave it all — the laziness, boredom, and the idea that there is nothing waiting for you. Because there is. Just go.


When I was in college, there were times that I would get so overwhelmed and disillusioned that I’d designate the week “Me Week.” (So original, right?) Between classes, I’d slip on my headphones, traipse across campus, nestle into an armchair at the nearest Starbucks, and write. Sometimes I even deactivated my social media accounts and enjoyed the rare, valuable silence.

While I detested the circumstances that led me to need Me Week so much, having time all to myself was perfect. Me Week forced me to put myself first when real life refused to let me do it. And right now, what counts as Me Time is tarot time.

Seeing the Hermit in this spread immediately made me think of the beginning of my journey into tarot, which happened only recently (though it feels like ages!). And true enough, when I checked my calendar, I realized that the eve of the last new moon was the night I read my tarot cards for the first time — the start of something that I’ve grown to love so fast, so much.

If The Hermit is telling me anything, it’s that this new search, this inner journey, is worth it, and I must keep at it. And honestly, I’ve never been more excited to continue something I just began.

THINGS YET TO COME: Temperance, Reversed

Well, that looks ominous. I’ve always seen Temperance as a good card, so seeing it reversed, and in the position of something “yet to come”, worried me until I found Biddy Tarot’s wonderful explanation. It’s simple, really: Something is out of balance. Right now, there’s a lack of long-term vision and/or purpose in my life and I need to right it.

At first that made me nervous. During our Christmas get-together at my grandparents’ place, I spoke to my aunt and felt so, so strongly that, for the first time in my life, I have a purpose. I’m traveling a path she once took, and in that moment I realized that I have a destination. But if so, what did Temperance reversed mean? That my dreams and goals aren’t legitimate after all?

Then I realized that I do have dreams and goals, yes, but not plans. I don’t have dates set in stone, no carefully laid-out schedule — which means that unless I do something about the path I’m on, I won’t get anywhere.

So in this position, Temperance reversed tells me to be proactive. To schedule. To make a list of universities, their requirements, and their deadlines. To plan. To outline. But most importantly, I need to DO.

HOW THE WORLD AFFECTS YOU: Ten of Cups, reversed

When I first saw the Ten of Cups, portraying a family rejoicing at a rainbow made of Cups, I felt a sense of foreboding… because it was reversed. The Ten of Cups represents joy, fulfillment, peace, and family, and it seemed to fit — this Christmas is the best one my family has had in years — but in the spread it was reversed. Why?

The Ten of Cups reversed doesn’t mean that everything is falling apart, but something is bothering you. And at the time I drew the cards, what bothered me — though in a low-key way — was my father’s distance. I hadn’t spoken to him in days, and I didn’t know if I’d done anything wrong.

But having this problem brought to light through the cards did something. Soon after I read the spread, he went into my room, asked about the cards (more curious than accusing, though he did want to know if my tante had given it to me), and asked if I could read for him sometime. Then I helped him set up his new iPhone 6S, and soon things were back to normal.

In the space of a few hours, we bridged the gap. Was it because the cards had helped put a nagging feeling into words, so I could do something about it? I’d like to think so. I hope that means I can look forward to an upright Ten of Cups in the future!

WHAT TO GIVE: The Lovers

Oh, The Lovers. Honestly, I dreaded drawing this card because even its name represents everything I lack… or, well, everything absent in my life right now: specifically relationships and sexuality. It was seeing this card which made me want to balk and return all of them to the deck, until I read about The Lovers’ other interpretations.

The Lovers represent thought and deliberation, about your life, your personal values, everything. It’s time to think carefully — to make definite decisions even if choices aren’t easy or obvious. The Lovers’ presence tells me to be honest with myself — not to lie or to mislead myself, but to examine my thoughts, feelings, and values. And perhaps not to overthink (or overshare) certain things as well.

WHAT TO RECEIVE: Four of Cups, reversed

The Four of Cups shows a young man sitting under a tree in the summer, three Cups in front of him. A fourth Cup is being offered to him by a spirit in the air, but he takes no notice of it, being lost in thought.

With the Four of Cups, it’s pretty clear that I’ve been keeping people out of my life, and forsaking old and new relationships because of the ones right in front of me — the familiar. Biddy phrases it thusly: “Keep your eyes and heart open to new possibilities, and release some of the focus on yourself to allow new opportunities to appear.”

I’ll do my best to do that — after all, I’m not the only one whose thoughts and needs are important. A tough thing to do, but I have to try! Starting… tomorrow!

WHAT TO LEARN: Three of Swords, reversed

I drew the Three of Swords during my deck interview with the Rider Waite-Smith deck, and what I remember is that Three of Swords has to do with pain. In the near future, then, I need to learn to move on, to deal with hurt, to let bygones be bygones, to be the peacemaker when I can.

When I drew this card, I thought of the office immediately, and how my more soft-spoken ways may have been The Factor that made me a favorite in my department. It’s better than making a fuss all the time, apparently! (Who knew that keeping my head down would make me memorable?)

But it could also have to do with my relationship with my creative director, which is somewhat strained and tense because of how he treats our other copywriters.

The Three of Swords tells me that if I want to thrive, I need to let go of the hurt and fear, and do what I must courageously. Again, easier said than done, but there’s no harm in trying!


During the full moon, on a sacred, holy night, this reading told me:

  • As the year comes to an end, there is a need for renewed focus, not only internally, but also externally, such as on my life plans and even my current career. I shouldn’t lock myself away from the world, but rise up to take on challenges… hopefully without overwhelming myself!
  • As the new year approaches, there is a need to be honest with myself and others, and a need to make the right choices — not those that will benefit and give me pleasure now, but those that will help me in the long run (and note that I didn’t say not only/but also, but simply not).
  • And more than ever, I need to be the peacemaker wherever I am: not create conflict but abate it; or barring that, to choose peace whenever I can.

I love the moon and the fact that it reflects the light of the sun — my inner light. And I needed this time for reflection, so I can move forward more confidently!

Have you tried this spread before? Are there any other spreads you use during the full moon?


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