With my trusty Universal Waite-Smith, I pulled the cards below. Let's see how they demonstrate the ways in which our darkness is a reflection of our light.
CARD 1: Your hopes
I've said before that the High Priestess always elicits happiness and tranquility in me. In this position, she speaks to my hopes for a richness in life that goes beyond material satisfaction, and taps into a contentedness that sits deeply in my sense of self. This card also suggests that I would like to get better at trusting my intuition, something I have been practicing pointedly over the last couple months.
CARD 2: What makes you feel pride
I feel like the driver of the Chariot often looks a bit smug, but I can hardly blame him. He is an expert at balancing the opposing forces in his life, and using that energy to create movement. I do take special pride in the fact that my skills often center around bringing together opposing viewpoints, or balancing different ends of a spectrum of values.
CARD 3: What you most admire
Lots of trump cards in this spread! The Empress is the Earth mother, the crunchy granola feminine goddess. Frankly, in this position, I would expect something more like Justice, or one of the Queens. But the Empress reminds me that I am more drawn to the messiness of earth-based spirituality than I let myself admit. This is especially effective when combined with the High Priestess from the beginning; it really is important for me to embrace my "hippie-dippy" side order to manifest my brightest self.
CARD 4: Your fears
I'll be honest. I feel like the Knight of Swords can be kind of a jerk. He loves learning and truly wants to pursue justice, but he trusts his own intellect a little much and may not consider other points of view. I advocate passionately for the things I believe in and am not afraid to disagree with others, but I worry that I can bowl people over with my intensity. I do not want to be the type of person who leaves others too intimidated to disagree!
CARD 5: What makes you feel shame
I know the Three of Cups seems like an unequivocally happy card, but I instantly knew what it meant here. My social anxiety manifests itself in periods of shame after any positive social interaction, especially after parties. It's almost always independent of anything I actually did or said, and I think it's probably a common experience. Usually, I just brush it off as par for the course, but this card suggests that I might need to look a little more closely at that shame.
CARD 6: What you most disdain
Wow, it's pretty harsh to be told you have disdain for.... everything. The World could be signaling the fact that I have the most contempt for people who hold power and perpetuate systems of oppression that cross the entire globe, but that's a bit of a stretch. I think it speaks to the fact that when we are overly critical of ourselves, it inevitably bleeds into criticism of others. This card reminds me to practice compassion for myself in order to be more gracious to those around me.
CARD 7: Your brightest self
It's interesting pulling a Minor Arcana in this prominent position, after getting so many trumps in the rest of the spread. The Eight of Wands doesn't show any human actors, so we don't have facial expressions or postures to look at. There's barely even a setting, just some rolling hills in the background. No, this card is pure, unadulterated, forward-moving energy. Without a doubt, I feel at my brightest and when there is a sense of progress or change in my life.
CARD 8: Your darkest self
Strength is a special card to me, and I pay attention when it shows up in a spread. It's part of a small cluster of cards that I identify with closely. In some older decks, it is called Courage, which comes from the French word coeur, meaning heart. We know, then, that this strength doesn't refer to how much you can bench press, but rather a spiritual or emotional strength. It is kind of reassuring to see it in this position! Instead of focusing on my weaknesses, this card tells me what I can draw on in my darkest moments. Even in times when I am feeling shame, fear, and lacking confidence, I can pull on my inner strength to get me through.
This particular manifestation of the spread demonstrates how the cards can surprise you, or seem contradictory, but still provide a fresh perspective on things. I find this spread to be helpful for self-awareness, and if it appeals to you, I offer it as one of my available readings.
Is this a spread you would try? Do you have any questions about the positions of the cards, or why I read them the way I did? Let us know in comments!