It’s a routine part of the human condition to find ourselves in situations in which we are confronted by conflicting desires. In the Robert Frost poem, “The Road Not Taken,” the speaker ponders just such a conundrum: “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and sorry I could not travel both, and be one traveler,” he laments. While for Frost, taking the path less traveled “made all the difference,” knowing which fork will ultimately lead “one traveler” to a positive, rewarding fate is not always a clear choice.
Like the Twisting Path Spread, The Two Path Tarot Spread can be a valuable lens with which to view the pros and cons of two possible scenarios, as well as bringing into focus the factor that will likely determine the final outcome. However, while the Twisting Path Spread explores the decisions you must make, the Two Path spread illuminates separate possible outcomes and the forces (internal or external) that will influence your ultimate choice.
A Shark Tank Moment
When I spoke with Jason from Albuquerque, New Mexico, he told me he was facing just such a decision, and felt pulled in two opposite directions. Jason had built a small but very successful business. His unique niche involved creating and supplying custom orders of high-quality pet food to a dedicated and growing clientele. It was clear he’d reached a point where expansion was in order, and had been going over his options.
As he was trying to figure out the next step, a large firm with a generous franchising offer had approached him. While the monetary compensation was excellent, Jason would have to cede controlling interest of his company. The contract also called for the transfer of all proprietary recipes, and included a somewhat daunting non-compete clause, which prevented Jason from launching any new business in the same category for a period of five years.
While part of him was jumping with joy over the idea of making it big, Jason had some serious reservations. “My customers really rely on me,” he said. “Their pets are like family to them. I’m just worried the new company won’t be as careful with quality, and I’ll have no control over what’s going out under my hard-earned brand name.”
Top Left: Nine of Wands
The card at the top left sheds light on the first possible conclusion. The Nine of Wands in this position indicated that Jason was right to be concerned. In this card, a wounded man, his head bound in a bandage, stands alone, clutching a single stave. Eight other wands are lined up behind him, and he worriedly contemplates the impact they will have on the outcome of a battle that is brewing. While he may wrest control, it does not appear that the odds are in his favor. More likely, the wands will be taken up by others, who in turn, will beat him down… and being a team player doesn’t do anyone any good if the team you’ve joined turns against you.
Top Right: Six of Wands
The card at the top right sheds light on the second possible conclusion. In this card, a lone rider surveys a victorious scene from horseback. On his head, a wreath of laurels hail him as the conquering hero, while surrounding him, a cheering crowd greets him with great pleasure.
For Jason, the second conclusion was obviously to be desired. Success and fulfillment lay in one direction, while tribulation lay in the other. Could he understand the forces pulling him in each direction, and choose wisely?
Middle Left: Seven of Cups
The card at middle left sheds light on what calls you toward the first conclusion (the card directly above). As we’ve seen before, the Seven of Cups often surfaces when an offer on the table is literally “too good to be true.” The figure representing the querent reaches toward a cloud that has suddenly appeared, as if by magic, before him. This cloud is spread out like a banquet that offers a variety of potential fates, but even those choices that appear appealing may mask hidden demons and false promises.
I cautioned Jason that I felt he should be wary of the franchise deal. “I won’t say don’t do it,” I explained. “That’s up to you, but I think you really need to dig into the company to make sure they’re on the up and up.”
Middle Right: Eight of Pentacles
The card at the middle right sheds light on that which calls you toward the second conclusion (again, the card placed directly above it). The Eight of Pentacles depicts a craftsman hard at work. It’s clear that this man takes pride in his work, and enjoys the process. The product he creates has both intrinsic value and beauty, and he is well able to maintain a pace of production that will supply him with all that he needs, and more.
When I explained this to Jason, he said, “I wonder if I shouldn’t just roll the profits back into the company and expand at a more organic pace?”
“That might be the way to go,” I agreed.
Bottom Center: Justice
The card at the bottom center sheds light on the deciding factor that will determine your fate. For Jason, his fate was in the hands of Justice. Here, a robed figure sits on a stone bench, in one hand, a raised sword to signify righteousness, in the other, the scales signify a fair and favorable outcome, as well as a return to balance.
“I think if you weigh your choices carefully,” I told Jason, “there’s really only one choice to be made. You’ve built something you care about that you’re truly proud of. It’s making you a good living and you feel good about yourself. Are you willing to risk that for easy money?”
“Well,” he admitted, “it’s a lot of easy money. Part of me is still tempted.”
“Then I look forward to hearing what you decide,” I told him.
A few months later, Jason forwarded me a link to a pet industry publication that had just run a profile piece on him. The title of the story was: “When Going to the Dogs (and Cats!), Bigger Doesn’t Always Mean Better,” and in it, Jason was quoted as saying, “It would have been easy to take the offer of big money, but I’d gotten what turned out to be some very sound advice to make sure the company I’d be keeping was in keeping with my personal values. Turns out, it wasn’t.”
By staying true to his instincts and his moral compass, Jason’s business was thriving. He’d learned that the definition of big success doesn’t always mean having the biggest bank account. Jason liked who he was and what he was doing. He had more than he needed to get by, and those things were success enough for him.
Do you feel confounded by an important life decision? A KEEN tarot advisor can reveal what’s ahead on each road to help you make the wisest choice for moving ahead.