Tarot + Expansion = something new (Expansion Pack lesson five)
How lovely it is to connect with you again. We’re moving swiftly through our Expansion Pack email series as today is the penultimate lesson. In the previous lesson we explored using the expansion on its own. Now we’ll consider using the expansion + tarot together.
In this lesson you’ll learn:
- Practical tips for combining the decks
- How to understand the decks as one cohesive entity
- A spread to try with the whole package
Tips & Tricks for combining the decks
Let’s begin by turning our attention to some details that might seem mundane. But we all know the mundane & the magical are intertwined, right? *wink*
The first matter of business is how to store your decks, which is a question we’ve received quite frequently. We’re pleased to report that the small tuck box which houses the Expansion Pack fits perfectly inside of the tarot deck box.
One caveat for this: you’ll likely want to store the tarot guidebook elsewhere. A few folks have reported they store everything together (including the tarot guidebook) but this would make for a pretty snug fit.
There are SO many different ways to shuffle cards. For an overview of some tried and true methods check out this video from Ethony. Perhaps you already have a preferred shuffling method and can stick with that. But combining the tarot + expansion together gives you 99 cards, and you may need to adjust your shuffling style to (literally) handle this.
For example, I normally riffle shuffle my tarot cards. But when I’m using the tarot + expansion together I switch to an overhand shuffle. Experiment to find out what works best for your body.
Be understanding of card backs
By now many of you have heard this famous tale. But in case you have not, due to printing complications there’s a slight variance among card backs. So if you purchased your tarot deck between August 2021- May 2022 we have a special link for your ‘lighter back’ Expansion Pack version. If you purchased at any other time you can use the main shop link.
This solution has worked quite well, but some subtle color variations among print runs are always possible. We’ve done everything we can to ensure the tarot + expansion blend harmoniously and now that it’s been a few months of hearing from people who’ve received their decks, we’re pretty pleased with how things turned out!
Perceiving the cards as a cohesive entity
A lot of the activities we’ve shared through the earlier lessons feature a ‘mix and match’ approach. That is to say, your tarot + expansion would remain in their own piles and you’d select from them separately even if you’re interpreting them together. These kinds of activities are a good way to wade into the expansion, but what about when you’re ready to work with the whole package, all 99 cards?
Although our Expansion Pack is currently available as a stand alone deck, the minchiate decks which inspired us contained all the ‘extra’ cards in conjunction with the standard tarot cards. Right now the original Spacious Tarot deck is exclusively available as a bundle with the expansion.
We’ve been playing with different titles for the bundle which emphasize that although these can be used individually, they also combine to form something new. Something inspired by minchiate, but not an exact replica. So far the best terminology we’ve come up with is “expanded tarot.”
When interacting with this expanded tarot, it’s helpful to have a framework to contextualize the expansion cards in relation to the tarot cards. There are lots of ways you could do this, but here’s what I’ve been playing with lately:
The element cards play off similar themes to the aces. In the tarot guidebook, I describe the aces as containing the entire potential for the rest of the suit’s cards. When using the decks together, a similar interpretation can be applied to the element cards.
The zodiac cards can form a blended family with the court cards. The courts can represent different personalities or approaches to life, a framework that makes perfect sense with the zodiac cards. Gemini, Aquarius and Libra can find kinship with the Child, Explorer, Guardian and Elder of Swords.
The value cards dovetail naturally with the major arcana. In a previous lesson we shared how our value cards are a play on the minchiate’s ‘virtue’ cards. But tarot decks have nods to the cardinal virtues as well, including Strength (in some decks titled Fortitude), Temperance and Justice. So it makes perfect sense to fold the value cards in with the Fool’s Journey through the major arcana.
An Expansive Universe Spread
Finally, here is a big beautiful spread to try with your expanded tarot, excerpted from the guidebook that comes with the deck. This spread can give insight around any situation in your life. The positions are inspired by the poetic resonance of scientific terms.
1- Big Bang. This card represents the origin of the situation.
2- Expansion. How things are evolving.
3- Sun. What the situation revolves around.
4- Entanglement. Other factors affecting your experience.
5- Gravity. How to center and ground yourself.
6- Observable. What you can know in this situation.
7- Unobservable. What you cannot know.
8- Electrons. Challenges (“negative charges”) of the situation.
9- Protons. Gifts (“positive charges”) of the situation.
10- Dark Matter. Unconscious content being evoked within you.
11- Macrocosm. Spiritual lessons available to you in this situation.
So there you have it - a few bits and bobs that we hope might serve you in working with your expansion + tarot. In a few days we’ll be back with the last lesson in this email series. This one will delve into ways to bring greater playfulness + intuition into your time with the cards!
Until then, take good care.