Fool’s Journey: A Simple Tarot Spread for Focus

Header by Rory Midhani

Header by Rory Midhani

I don’t know about you, but I have a serious case of the old butterfly mind going on right now. Maybe it’s because I just moved to a new home on this big, wild, beautiful piece of land and there is So. Much. Potential it’s filling up my brain like nobody’s business. Maybe it’s because I’m an Aquarius. Maybe it’s because I have a girlfriend who is even worse than me and every time I try to stop having so many damn ideas, along she comes with a winning smile and a cup of strong coffee and off we go again with the mind maps and the scheming and the dreaming.

I truly love the maxim ‘do one thing well’, but when it comes to living by those words, I confess I struggle. There’s always something exciting to do, never mind if I’m halfway through a project I started last week. Often, that’s a fun thing! I’m happy having lots of plates spinning, I enjoy dipping in and out of my many and changing interests. It’s part of being a multipotentialite and I love my life when it’s filled with diverse projects.

Right now, though, that ain’t working for me. I need to quiet the clamour in my head and get some peace, so I can focus on one thing instead of flitting around in all directions. To this end, I made this super short, super quick little tarot spread to help me zoom in on what I want to be doing right now.


Tarot of the Cat People, by Karen Kuykendall

It’s simple as one two three:

1. Do this!
2. Ditch this!
3. Yeah, okay, but not until tomorrow.

I dug out the weird and wonderful Tarot of the Cat People, and threw down my cards.


1. Do this! Queen of Pentacles

So gardening has been big on my list. Learning from Sandy (the matriarch of the aforementioned land I’ve just moved to, a goddess of permaculture growing and nicknamed ‘head gardener’ by all who hang out here. This isn’t just about gardening though. As the Queen, this is about creating my own garden. A patch to call my own, to sow my seeds and tend the plants I really, really want to grow, with pride and confidence and love.

I’m literally running towards those seeds I ordered right now…

Except, hang on, there are two more cards.


2. Ditch this! Ace of Swords

Dang. I’m thinking this is about the (many and various) books I’ve ordered. I’ve got new books on tarot, on herbs, on seasonal celebrations and on gardening. I’ve got new poetry books written by friends, three novels on my wish-list and Juliet Takes a Breath waiting on my bedside table.


3. Yeah, okay, but not until tomorrow. The Fool

Agh, the Fool could literally be any project I’ve been dreaming of — any new start, any plan to begin something new! So let’s get into the image on this specific card. Looking back over her shoulder, this woman seems like she’s anywhere but in the present — setting forth on a new adventure before enjoying the one she’s already in (I’m projecting here, cos that’s how this tarot thing works.) Meanwhile her cat clings on to her leg for dear life, meowing ‘stay!’

So to me, right now, it feels like this card is about my tendency to go running off towards the next big shiny thing, rather than being present in the moment.

One of my favourite things about tarot is that nothing is hard and fast. You interpret your cards, you feel your feelings, and you’re free to do with that whatever you like. Now I’ve read these cards and I can see my tangled mind down on the table, everything looks a lot simpler. I think I’m going to swoosh these cards around a bit to get closer to what I actually want.

I’ll keep the Queen of Pentacles and creative gardening in position one. It’s a sunny day and I’ve been saying I’m going to create a garden for literally five years. Today is the day! But I’m going to swap 2 and 3 over. I’m going to try to ditch this mentality I’ve gotten into that I have to go running into every little opportunity that comes my way. I’m going to work on being in the present. And tomorrow, when it rains, I’m free to curl up with my gardening books. Bingo.

If you’re brain is doing the butterfly dance too, try this out and share your findings in the comments!

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Beth Maiden is a tarot reader and writer based in Machynlleth, mid-Wales. She has two cats, a hot builder girlfriend, far too many tarot decks and not enough coffee cups. She's really into bread, the colour red, camping and brand new notebooks. She'd love to cut your hair, read your cards or hang out with you on her blog, Little Red Tarot!

Beth has written 111 articles for us.


  1. Love this spread! I’m definitely feeling the ‘butterfly brain’, so I’m not making much progress on any of my projects and just… puttering around, wishing I could get to work on something but not feeling able to stay in one place long enough to actually get to work!

    thanks, Beth!!

  2. I really like these simple 3 card spreads. Telling myself over and over again what I need to prioritize hasn’t exactly been effective in practice, so maybe my deck can convince me (/help me convince myself) to stay on track.

    • Right? Sometimes I won’t hear it from myself, I won’t hear it from my partner, I won’t hear it from my friends… and then a damn tarot card tells me and it’s like ‘YES I WILL!’

    • Because there’s a chunk of the readership that finds tarot helpful and interesting, most likely.

    • I guess tarot (in the way it’s used increasingly by the sort of millennial generation, which I think has some important differences from e.g. how my mum used to use it) for me is quite connected to a lot of what Autostraddle is doing. Tarot is increasingly used by the young and somewhat weird (queer, freethinking, witchy and even not-so-witchy) as a tool for meditation and self-knowledge, as well as also by some people as a tool for more spiritual / mystical stuff like divination and in connection with other spiritual practices. I personally tend to fall into the first camp – of people who find playing with pictures and symbols an interesting and useful way of thinking through various situations and moods and supporting (rather than directing or replacing) my own thoughts and will. I do think that other, more mystical / witchy approaches can be completely valid and awesome for the people who are into them to – because you do you! But I see tarot as one of the many colourful, fun, strange, spiritual, non-spiritual things which fill the ole void o’ meaning left since organised religion stopped being such a central organising unifier of people. This doesn’t mean it just replaces religion – at least for most people, I think – rather, it’s part of an ever-shifting, dynamic, self-defined set of practices, beliefs, communities and ideas which people move into and out of and create their own configurations of as they try and navigate through the stormy and wonderful oceans of life. Autostraddle is an internet beacon for people who are figuring out and defining their own sexualities, genders, ways of being as sexual or otherwise people who kiss girls or bois or themselves or no-one and wear nail varnish or not and cover everything in glitter and blaze and are fierce and beautiful and gay and strange and are fighting for it to be recognised that actually everyone is just as blazing strange as they are in their own myriad ways, and we can just come together and hold hands in one great Society of Weirdos and do our own thing and each other and ourselves. Tarot can for some people be part of this weirdness, “oh yeah my cat is such a goddam page of cups, soppy fucker, because to me the page of cups is actually all about just being a proud slut with your heart on your sleeve? I really connect to how it’s depicted on the Rainbow Bastard Tarot deck … I went through such a page of cups phase a few years ago, my wife says I’m still in it actually, but look at Mr Moggoff writhing on the floor, we all just want love don’t we” etc etc.

      • I 100% agree. I thought it was so weird at first, and it boggled me that “people could believe in that stuff”. But I stopped judging, opened my mind, and now this is how I understand it too.

        It’s another act of “radical self-care”, it’s creating spaces to allow yourself to sit back and understand where you come from, what you’re doing, and where you want to g… without resorting to devices still ingrained in the Patriarchy.

  3. Oh wow, this such a perfect spread for this! I’ve had trouble staying focused one thing at a time too. I’m a renaissance soul through and through, but I don’t do well with multi-tasking–so my to-do list gets me to get through by going one piece at a time. I’m in a similar headspace though where the old standby method of just having that list and crossing things off isn’t enough to keep me present and engaged in each task. This is so great, exactly what I needed. Amazing work as always.

    • Glad you liked it! I’m the same – lots of things but no good at multi-tasking. In order to enjoy my many interests, I need to be able to focus in the moment. Hope it works well for you! xx

  4. Argh, where was this spread on Tuesday when I literally could not concentrate on anything? ;)

  5. oh god is it an aquarius thing?!? that makes me feel a bit better about it because i, too, have butterfly brain and cannot focus on the one thing i should do career-wise

    this spread is so great!

    • Ha! I try not to blame all of my annoying personal traits on being Aquarius, but it really feels like my mind is always trying to solve all the problems of the universe. Hope you manage to get some focus @feffie! x

  6. Love this spread. Could I have your permission to include it in my post on Basic Three-Card Spreads at Mary Greer’s Tarot Blog. If yes, I’ll link back to the post here. And what name would you like me to use in my acknowledgement?

  7. Just did this spread and got the World, Ace of Cups & 10 of Cups. My immediate reaction was what I have to do everything right now and then I realised it’s about being more focused and less emotionally messy. I love using tarot to sort through my messy brain.

  8. Can I have permission to share this handy spread on my tarot blog? Your reply would be much appreciated. Thank you in advance.

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