The R.A.I.N. Tarot Spread

Next time you want a little help feeling serene, I recommend the recordings of Tara Brach, a Buddhist teacher, psychologist, and author based in Washington, DC. Earlier this year on a gorgeous day, I sat by Lake Washington and listened to her podcast about a practice she calls RAIN. It lends itself beautifully to a 4-card tarot spread.

Recognize. Allow. Investigate. Nurture. R.A.I.N. This is a sequence to follow when you find yourself looping through familiar, unhelpful, and stress-inducing cycles. It is a system to help move through stuck places and raise awareness by asking very specific questions of ourselves, or – as in a tarot reading – by asking questions of the cards. Here’s a summary using the Rider-Waite-Smith deck to illustrate the energies for each step. 



Card 1: Recognize. When you find yourself in the charged spot, pause and name it. This will bring your awareness into the dynamic. Ask, “What is making me uncomfortable right now?”


Version 2


Card 2: Allow. Our typical reflex is to fight or flee the discomfort. Tara Brach (like the Hanged Man) invites you to sit with it instead. This in itself can be a profound game changer. Ask, “What does this discomfort do to me?”


Version 3


Card 3: Investigate.  Once you are sitting with the feeling rather than fleeing from it, you can examine the experience. Ask, “What is hiding beneath my discomfort?”




Card 4: Nurture. Once you have uncovered your own vulnerability, greet it with love and care. Ask, “How can I meet the need that this discomfort has revealed?”


For those of you using tarot to deepen your awareness and understanding, try out this new spread with something that matters to you. Or book a reading with me.


Here is the link to Tara Brach’s hour-long presentation about RAIN. If you are interested to explore a 4-card RAIN spread, check out her anecdote starting at 31:54. She tells a very relatable story about helping someone with the RAIN process of inquiry. What cards might have shown if this had this been a tarot reading?


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