This is a four-card tarot spread I picked up from The Crowley Tarot by Akron and Banzhaf. I think it is an excellent spread for self-discovery, and I think it deserves more attention that it has received.
The spread is based upon the Johari Window concept in psychology. This concept divides the personality into four quadrants.
1. The Persona is visible to both self and others; it is the part of ourselves we consciously present to the world for others to acknowledge and interact with.
2. The Shadow is visible to self, but invisible to others. It is what we hide from the world, aspects of ourselves we prefer to keep private or even unacknowledged.
3. The blind spot is visible to others, but invisible to oneself. These are aspects of our personality and behavior that we are unconscious of, but that others can see.
4. The great unknown is invisible both to self and others; it represents the hidden, unconscious forces that motivate us without being recognized or understood.
The image we have of ourselves consists of the persona and the shadow. The image others have of us consists of the persona and the blind spot.
As we grow and become more authentic, we move bring things out of the great unknown and expand the persona. You can think of the boundary lines shown moving down and to the right.
To use this spread, draw a single card for each position and reflect on their meanings. In particular, note the contrast between the shadow and the blind spot – this is what makes the difference between how we see ourself and how others see us. The card for the great unknown represents an opportunity to bring something up out of the deeps and into the light of consciousness.
This spread is particularly effective if you use a deck whose images have some psychological “punch” to them.