How to Play “Lovers Solitaire”

Not just a Tarot spread, but a spiritual exercise that
is both simple and profound, entertaining and edifying…

Instructions: Gently randomize the 26 Tarot Trumps and Aces taking care not to bend them in the process. Lay out the cards face down in two 13 card sections with three rows in each section– above and below OR to the left and right –as follows:

…….T           T              [2 cards]
T T T T T T T T T       [9 cards]
……T            T              [2 cards]
………….T T T T T       [5 cards]
………….T T T T T       [5 cards]
…………….T T T           [3 cards]

The 13 card spread in the three rows at the Top (or on the left) is The Soul’s Choice spread, proper. The 13 card spread in three rows at the bottom (or to the right) is the Body of Christ spread.

Turn up the face-down card in the position of The Lover in the Soul’s Choice spread (the center card in the middle row) and play that card in its proper position according to the schematic layout below (see also the fully illustrated layout on the facing pages at the center of this booklet). Continue playing each card in its proper place until The Lover turns up and is played in its proper position, at which point, it is the second player’s turn (if there one) OR the solitary player continues to play (as the case may be). In either case, the appropriate player should turn up another face-down card and play that card in its proper position, as illustrated, with each turn continuing until the space opened up at the beginning of the turn is filled. The play continues until all the cards have been turned up.

….Sword               Baton
15   16   10   18   6   12   21   19   14
….Coin                 Chalice
…………………5    3   8   4   2
………………..11   7   17   9   1
…………………….13  20  0

Two players may keep score (the player turning up the most cards wins) OR
Solitary players may keep track of the highest number of cards turned up at any one stretch during the game (with the highest number possible being 26 cards in a row which happens when The Lover doesn’t turn up until the last play of the game).

Alternatively (if space is limited), layout the 13 card Soul’s Choice spread face-down and turn up additional cards from the remaining stack, one card at a time, playing each of them in their correct position in the spread (if applicable) OR discarding them (if necessary). The player playing the most cards in their correct position wins (or the solitary player “wins” if he or she completes The Soul’s Choice spread by the time all the remaining cards have been played or discarded).

Either way, players will have opportunity to: 1) meditate on all 26 Tarot Trumps and Aces; 2) meditate on the relative positions of each of the 13 cards that make up The Soul’s Choice tarot spread, proper; and, 3) contemplate what it might really mean for us to take up our cross and enter into the kingdom NOW:

“The Now is no mere nodal point between the past and the future. It is the seat and region of the Divine Presence itself…. The Now contains all that is needed for the absolute satisfaction of our deepest cravings…. In the Now we are at home at last” (Thomas Kelly, “A Testament of Devotion”).