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Tarot Card Layout: Advice and Readings for Motherpeace Deck

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ShyeAnne is a remote camp cook on the spectacular West Coast of British Columbia, Canada.

My deck, wrapped in my late Grandpa's WW2 silk flying scarf

My deck, wrapped in my late Grandpa's WW2 silk flying scarf

Motherpeace Tarot Cards

About 20 years ago, I was shopping in a cool little store in Harrison Hotsprings, a small lakeside town just outside of Chilliwack in British Columbia, Canada. The store smelled like incense. There was gentle spa music playing softly in the background. I spotted a display of tarot card decks and picked up a deck of Motherpeace cards that was calling to me. The cards felt very comfortable in my hands. The pictures on the cards were positive and welcoming, even the 'darker' ones. The Motherpeace tarot deck offers two size options, both round, large or small. I prefer the smaller cards, because they fit more easily into my hand and are not as cumbersome to shuffle as the larger ones. On that fateful day, I bought the small deck and have had them for many years—I continue to get new insights into the tarot world with each reading.

I have played with the tarot for about twenty years or so. I grew used to use decks that included dark and/or negative images and meanings. The Ryder-Waite deck, for example, is a well-known, well-used deck. I find many of the images in the Ryder-Waite deck dark and negative. It was a delight to find the Motherpeace tarot cards. They are adorned with gentle images and gentler definitions. I have used them exclusively for about fifteen years.

Major and Minor Arcana

I read my own cards. I study the cards in their positions in the layout, attempting to figure out the message that is offered.

I do not believe the tarot holds any deep secrets about where we have been or where we are going; I simply feel the cards and meanings have been designed and honed over many years to offer suggestions of a more positive way to look at one's life experiences. These messages can pertain to any circumstance in the seeker's life, and the cards are meant to help gently guide one to a clearer thought process. Hopefully, they help open the mind to the ways in which the Universe helps us find the answers we seek.

I see the use of tarot as a logical and somewhat mystical, magical way to help define how you are and who you are. There are 56 Minor Arcana cards and 22 Major Arcana cards for a total of 78 cards in the deck.

The Minor Arcana cards are said to represent the inner workings and self influence of the seeker. The Major Arcana represent the influence of the Universe at work, helping and guiding us in the right direction.

How the Cards are Read and What They Mean

  • The meaning of an individual card is determined by the picture on the card and the suit it belongs to, whether it is a Minor or Major Arcana card.
  • While the reader is preparing to read a seeker's cards, they will ask the seeker what is the predominant issue they are hoping for guidance with. The seeker can offer up what is in their thoughts or they can choose to keep their question or issue private.
  • The reader will then shuffle the cards.
  • As the reader is shuffling the cards, she (or he) thinks about the seeker, the circumstance, and the issues the seeker has presented. The reader will ask the seeker to focus on a question they want answered. When the reader feels the cards are sufficiently shuffled, she then cuts the deck three times to the left, using the left hand. Sometimes the seeker is asked if they want to cut the cards.
  • 11 cards are then laid out, starting with the center card. Often tarot readers will determine additional meanings of the card by its slant, or if it is placed upside down. For a long time, I did not acknowledge the slant of the cards, believing that the positive upright position was the only relevant meaning. As I became more comfortable with reading my cards, I realized I was ignoring a lot of important and pertinent messages by ignoring a left (passive) and right (aggressive) or upside down (reverse meaning) placement. Over time, I realised the slant of the card changes the translation of the meaning quite significantly, and I felt much more satisfied when including the slant of the card in the definitions.
  • I do touch on the darker side now, if appropriate and necessary, to get an accurate reading and to remind the seeker that sometimes life has bumps in the road—hiccups. Sometimes we need to call upon our endurance and courage to walk through our fears.
A full 11 card Motherpeace tarot reading. layout

A full 11 card Motherpeace tarot reading. layout

a diagram layout with the positions numbered.

a diagram layout with the positions numbered.

Significance of Card Position

My focus when I laid the tarot cards out for a full reading was, "Am I headed in a positive direction in my life?"

1. The card in this position represents the seeker.

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2. The card in this position represents something in the seeker's life right now.

3. The card in this position represents a cross-flow of energy concerning the seeker's issues.

4. The card in this position represents the root of the issue, the problem.

5. The card in this position represents something that is passing—an event, relationship, or circumstance that is currently being experienced by the seeker.

6. The card in this position represents energy coming in, the influences of the Universe, what is coming at the seeker.

7. The card in this position represents something that is going to happen in the seeker's life—an event, a coming or going of relationships, a move, a change.

8. The card in this position reveals the fears of the seeker. Things that may be holding the seeker back from living their true destiny.

9. The card in this position reveals the hopes and dreams of the seeker. What they long for, what they perhaps haven't found the courage to do yet in their life.

10. The card in this position represents what others think of the seeker, their opinion. Whether they feel the seeker is doing good, bad, struggling, content, etc.

11. The card in this position represents the final outcome. It wraps up the story. A Major Arcana card is ideal in this position. If a Major Arcana card doesn't fall in this position, up to three more cards are drawn to see if one shows up. If the final card is from the Minor Arcana, there is no conclusion to the seeker's reading at this time. It is still a work in progress.

After the last card in the layout is deciphered by the reader, the reader will then look at the overall layout and give the seeker a summary of messages, advice, lessons, and suggestions offered by the cards in the reading.

Below I have included a brief explanation of the cards and their significance.

The Priestesses

The Priestesses

1. Significator: Seeker

The Priestess (water) of Discs (earth, physicality) is in the first position in the layout, which represents the seeker. This card is a Minor Arcana card.

The tilt to the right is barely noticeable, so I do not give this tilt much significance in the reading.


A creative woman with a sense of well-being, security, and comfort.

The Empress

The Empress

2. Atmosphere Surrounding the Event

The Empress is tilted at a true left in the second position in the layout. The second position represents what is going on for the seeker at this time. The Empress is a Major Arcana card, and the Major Arcana cards represent outside influences that come into play.


The Empress lays in a relaxed state. She takes pride in her hard work that got her to where she is today. The card is tilted to the left suggesting she feels uneasy about something in her life or in her body.

The Seven of Swords

The Seven of Swords

3: Lesson to Be Learned

The Seven of Swords (air, thinking) is a Minor Arcana card. This card is in position three, the cross-current, lesson to be learned position. Minor Arcana cards represent influences controlled by the seeker.


Leaning slightly to the left, the Seven of Swords indicates she is waiting for the strategies she put in place to play themselves out.

The Priestess of Swords

The Priestess of Swords

4. Root and Unconscious Influences

The Priestess (water) of Swords (air, thinking) is in the root position in the above layout. This position represents the unconscious influences at play—the root of the issue.


The Priestess of Swords is lying in an almost completely reversed position. When reversed, it indicates the seeker is unclear about her purpose and direction.

The World

The World

5: Event Passing Away or Recently Passed

The World (Major Arcana, outside influences) in position five in the layout. The fifth position depicts an event that is currently passing or just recently passed away in the seeker's life.


The World card indicates that the Fool has grown into herself. She is beginning a new cycle in her life. The slight tilt to the right indicates she wants to be done with the past and she hastens to move on from it.

Swords and Shamans

Swords and Shamans

6: Sky, Conscious Thought, Spirit Connection

Swords (air, thinking) and Shamans (fire). The Shaman of Swords is in the sixth position, lying at a hard right, almost reversed. I will take into consideration the right tilt meaning as well as the reversed meaning.


Although she speaks with clarity and authority from her heart, when she stands in her truth she is unable to say what she truly sees and feels.

The Ten of Wands

The Ten of Wands

7: May Happen in the Near Future

The Ten of Wands is a Minor Arcana card and is in the seventh position. This position represents something that will happen in the seeker's near future.


The hard tilt and almost reversal of the Ten of Wands indicates she is using discretion and is pulling back her energy, perhaps consciously.

The Son of Discs

The Son of Discs

8: Self-Concept

The card in this position is the Son (air) of Discs (earth, physicality), and it is in the upright position. Number eight position is a card of self-concept—how the seeker sees herself.


The Son of Discs indicates he knows what he wants and is willing to work for it.

The Tower

The Tower

9: Hopes and Fears of the Seeker

The Tower is a Major Arcana card, and it fell with a left tilt. It is in the ninth position in this layout. The ninth position alludes to one's own hopes and fears.


The ways of her life as she knows them are crumbling and changing. She is shocked at how she feels. The left slant indicates she hesitates to embrace the changes.

The Nine of Cups

The Nine of Cups

10: Outside Influences and How Others Feel

The card in the tenth position in this reading is a Minor Arcana—the Nine of Cups (water, emotions) was laid with a hard left tilt.


Her friends, family, and support systems feel she is not fully behind what she wants and desires. They feel she does not trust herself or have confidence in her decisions.

The 11th card is the final outcome.

The 11th card is the final outcome.

11: Final Outcome

The card in the 11th position speaks to the final outcome of the reading. Ideally, a Major Arcana falls in this position. If a Major Arcana does not show up, up to three more cards are pulled to see if one of them is a Major Arcana. If not, the outcome is not clear at this time.

The first card laid in the 11th position is the Daughter (earth) of Swords (air, thinking), with a soft left tilt. She has the knowledge she needs to move forward but is holding back her power.

The second card laid is the Priestess (water) of Cups (water, emotion), with a slight left tilt. The Priestess is deeply aware she is ready to merge but is not yet anchored to anything.

The Nine of Swords (air, thinking) is laid third and is a Minor Arcana laid in reverse. A woman has a series of bad dreams and wakes up to face them. She looks at her fears one by one in the process of turning them into allies.

Then we come to the fourth and final card in this reading, the Magician. The Magician is a Major Arcana and depicts the final outcome of this particular reading. The Magician is laid with a very hard left, almost reversed. The Magician indicates the seeker has self-doubt, and this is holding back the energy she requires to move forward with her transition.


Now, the reader will study the cards and the layout in order to pull the reading together for the seeker. Four Major Arcana cards in the reading indicate there is a healthy amount of outside energy that influences the seeker's decisions and actions. Two Priestesses laid in the reading (water), the Priestess of Swords (air, energy), and the Priestess (water) of Cups (water, emotion) indicate the seeker has a balance of thought and heart to help her determine her path. Six feminine cards indicate she has a strong support system.

The seeker has a sense of security but is uneasy about her health and whether she is capturing her life lessons. She is waiting for strategies to present themselves to help her find her way. She sometimes is unclear of her purpose and wavers in her decisions. Her friends and family help her build her self confidence and awareness. The seeker speaks with clarity and purpose, but in her heart she is unsure. She uses discretion and pulls back from making clear choices. The seeker needs to work on her confidence to help her eliminate her life-limiting self-doubt.

Lighthearted Insights

Each card of the tarot, depending on where it is laid in the reading, has many meanings and is influenced by the tilt when laid down. The cards offer insights that hopefully aide the seeker in their search for clarity, awareness, and an understanding of their journey and self.

Thanks for reading. Make it a great day!

© 2011 ShyeAnne


ShyeAnne on August 02, 2018:

Hi Wendy McMahan, sorry I missed the comment you left months ago. Thank you so much for your kind words regarding my article. And Bebe, there would be no cost for a reading if you lived close to me. I would not be able to do one through social media streams, I don't think I would be able to get enough of a sense of who you are.

Wenda McMahan on January 29, 2018:

I like the site and the article a lot!

I read the 8th position as "Self-Concept" (rather than "Fears"), and contrast it with the card in the reading's 1st position (how the person sees his/herself vs how they actually are now).

The 9th position I read as "Hopes and Fears" - I have always found there to be reasons we hope for things we fear, and reasons we fear things we hope for.

ShyeAnne (author) from Qualicum Bay, British Columbia, Canada on September 08, 2013:

Thank you so much, Jean and Julie, for your comments. A bit long on the thank you to you Julie, I see you left your comment some time ago. I love the Motherpeace deck, even the dark cards have a light energy, and that's what it is all about, energy, how we feel it, our ability to let it flow. Livin' in the Light!

Jean Bakula from New Jersey on September 08, 2013:


It's so nice to see someone else writing about Motherpeace! I was pretty new to HP when I wrote about each card, and never got around to showing anyone the layout for the readings. Every time I changed the hubs, I had a devil of a time getting the right card to line up with my text!

I've been amazed at the interest in it, the group of hubs have always been among my highest 7. I just finished complying with all the new rules, and had to revisit them again. I love the deck, its so different. I recently got interested in the Revelations deck. Zack Wong is the artist, and he puts the Reverses in so that you don't notice them when the card is Upright, yet if you turn it around there's a whole different scene! I've been using them on my blog, but some are kind of dark, so I switch around and compare a Rider-Waite card to the same card, but in another deck. I think that's good for beginners, since each artist sees it differently. Well, enough from me. Take care.

julie58 from Fareham, UK on March 30, 2011:


I've seen this deck in one of our local stores, it's so unusual - especially the shape.

I agree with you about the Rider-Waite cards, I know a lot of people are fans but I find them slightly old-fashioned and, as you say, some of the cards are quite dark and negative. I prefer something I can relate to and feel comfortable with ...

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