Past Life Spreads I: Focusing
Here is a spread that I use for focusing a more in-depth past life reading and also to answer fairly simple questions such as "Did I know this person in a past life" or "I went to such-and-such a place and it seemed very familiar - have I been there before in a past life?" Before beginning a past life reading, there is often a need to determine how long ago the issue or relationship originated and identify critical lifetimes that affect the development of the issue before doing an in-depth reading on the question.
The focusing reading is done by first removing the Fool (or any other card you would like to use as a significator for the question) from the deck and setting it aside. Then nine cards are drawn from the deck, and the Fool is mixed into them. The Fool represents the point at which the question originated. The cards are laid out into three rows of three. The top row represents the current lifetime. The right-hand card represents the beginning of the relationship or the first encounter with the question in this lifetime, the middle card the middle years or more mature part of the relationship, the left-hand card the end or later years of this lifetime or the relationship in this lifetime. The middle row represents several recent past lifetimes, and the bottom row represents several older lifetimes. The cards move into the more distant past as you move to the right and downward.
When the Fool appears , the next card is placed on top of it. If the fool appears in the top row, that would suggested that the relationship or origin of the question originated in this lifetime, rather than a past life. If the Fool appears in one of the bottom two rows, then the question originated in a past life. Cards above and to the left of the fool represent lifetimes associated with the question, cards to the right and below the Fool can be discarded, as they do not pertain to the question.
Start by determining the position of the Fool, then read the cards above and to the left of the Fool in sequential order, from oldest to youngest, starting with the card that is paired with the Fool. In the upper row, there may be one or two cards that represent things which haven't happened yet (i.e., the future of the issue or relationship in this lifetime, if the person is young or the relationship is a new one). Reading the cards in this order will provide a brief synopsis of the person's experiences with the question in past lifetimes and in this lifetime. Occasionally, this reading will be all that is needed. Usually though, this reading will point out areas that can be further explored - either in this lifetime or in past lifetimes, that will help shed light on the situation. To see a completed example of this reading, click here.
One minor interpretation note - the lifetime in which the Fool appears is sometimes the first lifetime in which they first encountered the person or issue, and sometimes is the lifetime before that, where the soul completed a previous cycle and set themselves up for this experience to happen next. You can usually tell this by the card that appears above the Fool. For example, if it is Judgment or Death, or the 10 of Pentacles, or something like that, there's a good chance that that lifetime was spent finishing up whatever else they were doing, and it was between lifetimes that the decision was made to try to initiate this relationship.