The Watchword Spread

I’ve been using this spread for at least 15 years since I purchased and fell in love with the book, Self-Discovery the Jungian Way by Michael Daniels. It features The Watchword Technique which I, of course, converted into a tarot spread. You can do your own online Watchword Matrix for free. This is a very deep self-discovery spread so don’t undertake a reading with it unless you can devote some serious time to soul-searching. You need a total of 11 cards but you can do a modified Watchword with only 9 (take out positions for Station and Battle). Here’s the outline for the Watchword technique. You will place a card in each of the positions below. I know that most spreads have a specific order in which the cards are laid down but for this one you may choose whatever order makes sense to you. I generally begin with Giant and Dwarf and then do the other pairs together but do what resonates with you.


The meanings below are the ones I use but read Daniels’ full description for each of these key principles so you have a fuller understanding of their purpose. Daniels recommends examining the key principles in the following order:

Giant = Driving forces and motivation. Strengths. What propels you forward?

Dwarf = Weakness. What holds you back from achieving your potential?

Soul = The real you.

Persona = Personality. The face you show to others.

Guide = Higher Self. Guidance.

Imago = Goals and expectations.

Shadow = Hidden issues, talents or emotions. What is being repressed?

Spectre = Problems. Anxieties and fears.

Station = What’s happening now. Current situation or status.

Battle = Major concern. Pivotal issue. What’s creating inner conflict?

Destiny = Outcome. Transformation. Divine Plan.

What’s interesting is comparing and contrasting the card energies within pairs of these principles. Here are some pairs to examine:

Guide — Shadow = this combo can reveal lessons about the parts you’re hiding from yourself.

Giant — Dwarf = what moves you forward vs. what holds you back.

Imago — Spectre = goals vs. what you fear will happen when you reach them.

Station — Battle = your current situation and what’s crossing you (the first two cards of the Celtic Cross spread).

Guide — Imago = what your Soul wants vs. what your Ego wants.

Soul — Persona = the real you vs. the you others see.

Shadow — Spectre = the root of the problem.

Guide — Spectre = Higher Self vs. lower self. This combo brings awareness to what keeps you from seeing yourself as a spiritual being in a human body.

Shadow — Imago = this combination reflects what needs to be embraced to reach your conscious goals.


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