This is a technique that is best used in conjunction with other reading methods, such as pips-as-trumps and/or suit + number. While it is possible to take meaning from the white space alone, we can gain far more insight into the reading when we combine it with other methods.
So, how do we go about reading white space? Let's take a quick look.
- How much white space is there? What can the amount of space tell us? (e.g., Is there a lot of space? Is there only a little space? What does this mean in the context of the card's meaning and within the spread?)
- How finely cut is the space? What does this mean? (e.g., What does the division of space by objects tell us about the subject or meaning of the card in the spread?)
- How is the space divided? Is the space even around the objects/figures, or are there gaps or unevenness? How does this affect the flow of the space within the cards? Within the reading?
- What are the objects/figures in a card acting as in the spread? Are they blocking, guarding, restricting, guiding, allowing, etc. something to move through the spread?
- How does the arrangement of objects in the card itself affect the flow of space around/between other objects? And how does the arrangement of objects in the card affect the flow of space around/between other cards?
- The cards in a reading are surrounded by white space. This, too, must be considered when interpreting the direction and flow.
- The total visual image of what the space looks like without objects/figures present. Is the total image/space top-heavy or bottom-heavy? What can this visual weight tell us about the situation?
- We are looking for visual metaphors ("eye rhymes," as Enrique Enriquez calls them). What does the space remind you of? Can you see something you recognize in the shape of the space? What does that mean?
OK! So there are the basic guidelines for reading white space. But I'm sure there are more questions, so let's troubleshoot some of them!
- "No white space"
- No such thing! :D There is always some space between objects/figures in a card.
- Having very little white space indicates that the objects/figures are cramped, squished, and/or crammed into the card. It's our job to interpret this in the context of the spread.
- Ask yourself, "What bearing does the closeness between objects/figures have on this card's meaning here?"
- "Too much white space"
- Also no such thing! :D
- Having a lot of white space between objects/figures can tell us a lot about the relationship the querent (or whatever/whomever the objects/figures represent) has with things both interior and exterior to him/herself.
- Ask yourself, "What bearing does the spaciousness between objects/figures have on this card's meaning here?"
- "I don't see anything"
- Don't give up! Reading white space is the opposite of what we naturally do, so it takes some practice to get used to.
- Start by looking at the space between cards. Are there any noticeable changes in the size, flow, or visuality of the space in between the cards themselves? From there, you can apply the same principles to the individual cards.
- "I think I see something, but I'm not sure"
- Trust your gut!
- Reading white space is a method of intuitive reading, so it's important to be confident in your intuition. You'd be surprised just how often you hit on something really important!
There you go, lovely people! I truly hope this is helpful and does service to you!
For more information, discussion, and an example walk-through of reading white space, check out my video below!
Blessings to you all <3