This spread was inspired by a section of In Search of Women’s Passionate Soul (pg 72), where Caitlin Matthews talks about the contract with one’s daimon/genius/animus. I designed the spread based on some common characteristics of fairy tale (ie. archetypal) contracts: Three is a magical number in fairy tales; characters are often required to do or remember or overcome three things. These are the conditions of the contract and they must be done in a specific order, exactly as stated.
In addition, there is almost always one thing that the character must absolutely not – under any circumstances – do. This is usually something deceptively simple that the character has a 50/50 chance of remembering and adhering to. When they don’t remember, it causes the quest to be delayed and further hardships to cross their path. Anyone with less-pure motives attempting to follow in the heroine’s – for it is usually a heroine – success, inevitably ignores the “do not” and suffers horrible consequences.
The top row is laid out to represent the Three Things Which Must Be Done and the bottom row is a single card, representing The One Thing Which Must Not Be Done. I’m using the Wildwood Tarot to demonstrate the reading, assuming one is entering into a contract with one’s creative other.
 6 The Forest Lovers
Marriage is a contract! Step one: enter into the contract, or at least show that you’re seriously interested in a committed relationship with your inner genius.
 2 of Arrows
The second condition is confusing, largely due to the disconnect between the artwork on the card and the accompanying text in the book –
This is sadly a problem with the kit – it happens often. I don’t rely on the book, but I like to read it to see what I might be missing. After all, it was designed with intent and I would like further insight into that intent. When I read gross errors such as – in this card – “Above her head are the uneven scales… skewed by false judgements…” (which would make sense for “Injustice”, but these scales are even) and “The bow is broken and useless through prejudice and misuse” (it is very definitely not broken), it leads me to think there is either a case of sloppy editing or poor communication between the writer and the artist (or both). It’s like a bug in computer code and makes me question the reliability of the cards in getting the right message across. There’s a conflict in meaning, you know? –
Anyway. Going by the art, this is a card of exact and perfect balance; finding the internal still-point. To me, the blinded woman is always a prompt to turn inwards and listen and the crossed arrows pointing in and down emphasise the direction in which the mind should be working -> listen to your heart. The final clue is her foot on the bow – no. action. geddit? Her head is tilted upwards, sensing the scales where it is shown that “the truth (feather) is worth its weight in gold”. This is a card of trust (she has dropped her defenses). I give this one a tentative CHECK for now (I am sure I will be re-evaluated!)
 Page of Arrows
Lastly, the Wren. There is a lot of very beautiful symbolism surrounding the wren and I had no idea what a powerful animal it is in Celtic mythology (ancient and ongoing). Some of what the wren stands for include: shared duties between male and female; daily progress; happy & kind heart; witchcraft; the Oak King and psychopomp. The Druids considered the Wren ‘supreme among all birds.’ It was the sacred bird of the Isle of Man, formerly a shrine of the dead and the dwelling-place of the Moon Goddess who cared for pagan souls. According to the guidebook, “Study and application brings wisdom and understanding …”
13 The Journey
Oh har-de-freakin’-HAR. (This was the week that Morty was making an appearance every day, sometimes twice for good measure!)
I didn’t even get a chance to think about this card (especially showing up as a “do not” when it had been “do do do” all week) before the phrase, “Don’t eat dead things” was in my head. I’m thinking, “don’t rehash the past; move forward”.
And, more simply, don’t give up. Change hurts; success is right around the corner at the point where it becomes most painful.
*Update* to the above idea based on a more recent experience – The crows represent my yuckiest of shadow parts and they are eating the embodiment of wild power (which I should not let happen!) I told certain parts of myself that enough is enough the other night and encountered an angry, flapping, blackness. What’s got two thumbs and needs to do some Shadow work? This guy.
So that is my contract and what it is. Think I’ll check in periodically to see how I’m doing in fulfilling it. Can’t have the label drop me!