The Sphinx Gate: a tarot spread

Yes, that's right -The Sphinx Gate is a tarot spread inspired by the 1984 cult classic: The NeverEnding Story. Deal with it!

The NeverEnding Story has a special place in my heart. I watched it obsessively as a kid, and I continue to watch it every so often as an adult. It still manages to thrill me. I believe there is some real magic to be found in this kids' movie.

This spread is based on the tests that the hero Atreyu must pass through to reach the Southern Oracle who holds the secret - the key - to his quest. As such, the spread is read to discover the secret to completing YOUR quest. This could be a spiritual quest, or some important goal that is at the forefront of your mind but somehow still alludes you. It could be your life's purpose. Or your ideal mate. Fantasia can be taken as a representation of all our childhood hopes and dreams, systematically being devoured by grinding myopic attitudes at large in our culture (the Nothing). This could be a fitting allegory for depression, among other things. And like Atreyu we must complete our quest..

The spread has been designed to create that same sense of tension and revelation as you move through the two gates; the Sphinx Gate of self-worth and the frightening Magic Mirror Gate, until you are finally are given the secret to completing your quest by the Southern Oracle.

Are you ready?!

*****[4]*******[3]***** <------ The Southern Oracle

*********[2]***********<-------The Magic Mirror Gate

*********[1]*********** <------ The Sphinx Gate of self-worth


A) The Falkor Card
B)The Gmork Card

1)The Sphinx Gate of self-worth: what do I REALLY think of myself?
2)The Mirror Gate: who am I REALLY?

3)The secret you need to know to complete YOUR quest.
4)What you need to DO with that knowledge, now!

How to read the spread:

The cards are shuffled then placed face-down and revealed step by step (starting with card #1) moving first through the two gates to finally meet the Southern Oracle at the top of the spread. I will explain when card A and B are read in a moment... Before flipping over card 1 and then card 2 to pass through the Sphinx Gate of self-worth and the Terrifying Mirror Gate, you should pause for a moment, close your eyes and ask yourself the gate questions:

1) Sphinx Gate of Self-Worth: what do I REALLY think of myself?
2) Mirror Gate: who am I REALLY?

Close your eyes and ask each question above to yourself with a sincere and inquisitive heart and feel your way into its meaning. Then when you are ready, after each question - flip over each gate card in turn to reveal the truth.
If the truth freaks you out do not despair! Immediately turn over the Falkor card (A). Falcor is Atreyu's luck dragon and always believes in Atreyu because he knows his true potential - as such he represents what the Greeks called the Agatha Daimon (the good guardian angel). The Falkor card in the spread represents your ideal self, your highest potential - what you CAN become. This card should ALWAYS be interpreted its most empowering light. If the truth revealed by either gate is disheartening allow the Falkor card to balance your vision of yourself, so you can integrate the knowledge of your total being and thus grow stronger in your quest.

Similarly, if the either gate reveals something wonderful - well done! You should affirm the good in yourself with this discovery. You should not grow complacent however, because we are always being tested and the Nothing grows stronger! Which means that if either of the two gates reveals something good you should flip over the dreaded Gmork card (B). The Gmork is the agent of the Nothing bent on destroying Fantasia (your dreams). The Gmork card shows you where you could potentially stumble in your quest, your weaknesses or your blind spot. It represents what the Greeks called the Caco, or Evil, Daimon - this is the shadow self. The parts which are hidden, denied or toxic. By bringing any positive revelation given by the gates into balance with the message of the Gmork card you can achieve greater balance and personal power.
Finally, having been tested by the the two gates you stand before the Southern Oracle! You should flip over card 3 and 4 to discover what the SECRET to successfully completing your quest is, and very importantly, what you should DO with this knowledge. Card 4 therefor should be interpreted as a concrete action you should decide on (right now) and TAKE using the knowledge you have gained from this spread.

In conclusion:

If done with a heroic heart the revelation given by the Southern Oracle cards will build on the discoveries of the two gates. There should be a real 'Aha' moment at the end. This doesn't necessarily mean what has been discovered, or what must still be done, will be easy! No true quest is easy - even Atreyu almost fails and sees Fantasia nearly entirely consumed by the Nothing. However, like Atreyu you must not give up and the knowledge you have gained will ultimately empower you to successfully complete your quest IN SPITE of any difficulties. The Nothing can be defeated and your dreams can always still come true. This is the path the true hero must walk.

Happy questing dear tarot friends and may your luck dragon always find you!


  1. Have you read the book the movie is based on? Very different, but absolutely fantastic. Or it was when I was a teenager. Hmmm. Wonder if it holds up?

  2. I did! Loved it as a kid. It would be fun to read it again.

  3. Loved the movie as a kid and love this idea. Brilliant!

  4. Thank you kindly ConjureMan Ali!