Understanding another person


Could anyone suggest a spread for this?

My brother-in-law absolutely baffles me. And probably because he baffles he annoys in the strongest way. I just cannot see where he is coming from.

So any suggestions for a spread to help me understand another person who is not a love interest nor a friend? But as he is married to my sister, and has been for 42 years(!), somehow I have to not be annoyed with the very sight of him! The spread to tend towards helping me understand and react positively.


How to understand someone you dislike?

Hi Alta, here's a spread I created some time ago, it could help in this situation at least as a baseline to be modified as needed?

1. What/who am I to X?
2. What would X like/want me to be? (just to see what would be the "ideal" for them, not to turn into this)
3. What/who is X to me?
4. What would I like X to be?
5. What can I learn from this?
6. What is X learning from this?
7. What should I do/what action to take with X?
8. What will future be like with X? (to prepare for better or worse)
9. What should I remember when dealing with X?
10. What will help me with dealing with X (internal or external resource).

The spread comes with 3 basic "rules" for dealing with a person you're not overtly fond of:

1) Be as objective as you can, try to detach from any personal wants or dislikes.

2) Try to see the answer from a place of loving understanding, and

3) Keep healthy boundaries: be polite and willing to try to cooperate, but not more.

Jen P

Hi Alta, I'm really a new-comer to tarot, so I'm not much help for a good spread, except to ask cards something like, what are his positive attributes?, what are his faults?, how does he see/feel about me?, how do I see/feel about him?, etc.

I think an astrological perspective wold be very useful here. You could have his chart looked at, then compare your two charts and do a composite chart too, if you wanted. That's how I always figure people out. I always want to look someone up astrologically before doing a card reading - it helps tremendously to see where they're coming from.

I'm in the middle of a move and am pretty busy just now, but if you need help - pm me. ;-)


Saskia: Yes, I think those positional suggestions will be good, thank you for this.

I will try a reading with this, if I can't make it make sense, I'll post in Your Readings.

JenP: Well, he is a late-sign Libra and I am a late-sign Aries but I don't know his birth details. Good idea but probably couldn't make it work. Thank you for the suggestion though.

Jen P

Saskia: Yes, I think those positional suggestions will be good, thank you for this.

JenP: Well, he is a late-sign Libra and I am a late-sign Aries but I don't know his birth details. Good idea but probably couldn't make it work. Thank you for the suggestion though.

Late sign Libras and late sign Aries are opposed to one another. Sometimes, like on a teeter-totter, you can work together. But often, you'll be on opposite ends of things, not seeing eye-to-eye, butting heads. In your situation, maybe he's got his Neptune on your Mercury or you both have some Saturn aspects or South Node/Sun positions. They all factor in and tell you the "why"s.

Usually, it's not hard to just find out his day, month and year and possible place of birth. That will tell you a LOT about him. And especially if you have your chart (month, day and year plus location and hopefully time of birth) - that will tell you almost everything you need to know. If you can get that information, I can help you, if you like.

In any case, I wish you luck in figuring him out! :)


Alta, there's a spread I discovered awhile back on this forum that I have found rather useful in many situations when trying to shed a bit of light on what's making someone tick. Unfortunately, the search function doesn't seem to be working for me at the moment, and perusing the spread index has been fruitless -- although I know the spread is in there somewhere.

I can give you the positions, though:

1. What motivates this person?
2. What is the underlying motivation that supports this?
3. What energy is surrounding this person now?
4. What can I do in this situation?

There are actually three more positions in the spread, for a total of seven, but I have found that the first four, if examined in depth, give a wealth of information, and I often feel no need to continue on with the last three. I tend to prefer spreads using less cards for the most part, as I think one can more easily internalize a smaller amount of concisely organized information in a usable way. The remaining positions basically use two cards for additional information relevant to the current situation, and a final, overall advice card.

I'm always a bit leery of using tarot to determine the thoughts or feelings of another person; not from any sort of ethical perspective, but simply because I don't believe tarot can actually probe the mind of another person. I have found, though, that if you know the person well enough to start with a few educated guesses about what's going on with them -- and presumably that's the case for you with your brother-in-law -- a tarot spread can be very helpful in terms of allowing you to fine-tune those guesses and obtain a better understanding of the subject. This spread has been helpful to me in that regard many times.


Sorry to hear your difficulties working him out Alta and working out how he baffles you :( :heart:

I love this spread from the index - Problem Person spread
The version with more questions like What is this person here to teach me? I think would give great analysis :)


Ah, thank you, danieljuk...that's exactly the spread I had in mind, but my search function was refusing to cooperate and I was too pressed for time to make a sufficiently thorough perusal of the index to find it.

I still do prefer to use an abbreviated version, myself, but anyone more comfortable using larger spreads will certainly find the rest of the positions valuable, as you have suggested.


Here's one you might play with. I created it quite a while ago for looking at all kinds of platonic relationships. The position titles are a bit fanciful, but the idea is that there is a range of possibilities in each line, with the strongest card in each series suggesting the most likely posture of the other party, and also contributing to the "quint."



Hey Alta! :)

There are a handful of spreads that came to mind for me, all around this forum's Index somewhere, and I thought any of these might be useful for you to get some differing perspectives on your BIL.

The Deception, Perception, Clarification & Reflection Spread created by adisguise:

1. Show me that which I believe to be true, but is false:
2. Show me that which I believe to be false, but is true:
3. Show me that which I do not know, but is important that I do:
4. Show me that which I know, but have ignored and need to reflect upon.

I'm sure you could hold the intent of your BIL being the focus of this one.

Discover Other People Spread by a member here somewhere. :D

1+2: What this person holds close to their heart; what they value most.
3+4: What they ignore/try to escape/repress:
5+6: Their weaknesses:
7: What they contribute to my life and wellbeing:

The following is adapted from the Who Am I and Where Am I Going? Spread from another member here.

1. This is who my BIL is:
2. This is what I don't know about my BIL:
3. This is what I need to relinquish towards BIL:
4. This is what I need to develop towards BIL:

This next one is adapted from The Revealer Spread by another member here.

1. As I am now:
2. As my BIL is now:
3. What my BIL thinks about our relationship:
4. What my BIL feels about our relationship:
5. What my BIL keeps from me:
6. What my BIL reveals to me:
7. How our relationship will evolve: