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Multi-Layered Card Readings with Kiala Givehand

Kiala Givehand is a Life Alchemist, published poet, bookbinder, teacher, fountain pen collector, and lover of travel. She has 20+ years of professional teaching, is SoulCollage® facilitator, a former Associate Coach with Artizen Coaching, a Right Brain Business Plan® Licensed Facilitator, a Cave Canem fellow, a Voices of Our Nations (VONA) alum, a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

She is currently the leader of Pull Pen Paint and the Sacred Makers retreat series. 

You can find Kiala on her Social Media Accounts: 



Dayna Schmidt-Johnson
Hello and welcome everyone. My name is Dayna Schmidt-Johnson. I'm the Community Manager and house astrologer for the Writual Society. Today we are going to be talking about multi-layered card readings. This brings your readings into such a deeper place of knowing and revelation just by taking a look at multiple layers of your questions. And to tell us more about multi-layered readings and how to incorporate them into our own practices is Kiala Givehand, Life Alchemist, poet, bookbinder, leader of the Pull Pen Paint online series, double Capricorn, and multi-passionate Seeker of Truth. Oh, we're so excited to have her here to guide us through these multi-layer readings. Welcome Kiala.

Kiala Givehand
Hello, Dayna, thank you so much. I am honored to be here to talk to you all to be a part of this conversation. I love the work that y'all are doing over at Writual Society. So thank you for having me.

Dayna Schmidt-Johnson
Oh, we are so thrilled to have you. And tell us, first of all, we got to dive into like the definition because there are many, what is a multi-layered reading? What do you mean by that?

Kiala Givehand
Yeah, I'm glad you said that. Because there is there's, if you go Google it, you're probably gonna see a ton of things that come up, because I think everybody has their own way of defining that there may be somebody out there who is the definitive definition for multi-layer readings. I don't know who that is.

So let's just go ahead and name right out of the gate. This is my way of working with multi-layers in my in my spreads, and in my readings. And like all really good things in divination, I think it's born out of my own personal practice. My own personal journey of deepening my understanding of all the esoteric things, I say all that might, that might lead people to believe I do all the things but a lot of the expansion be clear. A lot of the things that I love about the esoteric world, I layer on to my readings because these systems, I like to call them intuitive guidance systems, tarot, astrology, human design, numerology, the list goes on and on. Tarot, I think I didn't say that. But if I didn't, there it is. Sacred Geometry, like I could go on and on, right?

These systems are all connected to each other. And what we in modern times are getting, we are getting where someone has taken the numerology and said, I just want to focus on that. And so when we see that, and we think it's its own separate thing, not realizing that it actually is very much connected to all the other things, right. And that can be true instead of a lot of the, of the different systems out there.

So for me, this is born out of my own practice, I started one way just like we all do, I started at that beginner spot of going, Oh, my God, I'm pulling a card. I don't even know what I'm supposed to do with this one card, right. And then I evolved my practice, the more I did it, the more I learned, the more I studied. That's how what I'm going to be sharing has evolved over time.

So again, definitely what I'm going to be sharing is my personal practice and the way that I do it. And I think that that's worth repeating over and over again, because I'm going to invite people into my sort of, yeah, just my room over my shoulder, the way that I work with my spreads.

And I'm also going to say over and over again, pick the things that work for you leave the rest behind, because you may not be at a place where you're ready to go seven layers deep into the into the spread, right? Maybe you're like, one layer is good enough for me. I'm good with that, you know, so. So I hope that answers it. But it I don't really have a definitive like, here's the definition of a multi-layer. I think what I would say is, it's inherent in the name, multi-layer, right? Like, you're going to add multiple layers, and there are lots of ways to do that.

Dayna Schmidt-Johnson
Yeah, yeah, that makes sense. Yeah, going into it. I mean, once you do Google it, it's like, okay, so the multi-layers could be, you know, here's a three card spread. And then we're going to do another three card spread, which is not the way you do it. And, or it's like, Okay, here's the layers within one card itself, just looking deeper and deeper into those layers. So I am so curious what the method you've developed is and how long you've been kind of doing it this way.

Kiala Givehand
Yeah. So Oh, I love that you said the method that I have developed. I've never actually thought of it that way. But I think in the Pull Pen Paint community folks would say that they're always like, when they know I'm the person up to provide the spread. They're always like, Oh, God, all right, everybody. You got your diving gear on, you got your scuba gear to she's gonna take us - she's gonna take us there.

So I think I would say, the way I do it now, I probably have been doing for the last three to four years multilayers I think I probably didn't do it for the last eight years give or take. But I feel like I've refined it to a point where I don't know it feels good and right for me, I don't feel you know how you have a practice and you do something over and over again. And every now and then you feel like you need to change it up kind of like, you know, the furniture in your room where you're like, I've been coming here every day, and it looks alright, but I think I could change something.

So I think I've gotten it to a place where I enter into it. And I don't feel like I need to shift or change anything. And so I don't know how long that will last. You know, we we learn and grow. And so I may, but I think this way that I've been doing it offers me so much more richness in my practice. That yeah, it's Yeah, so I did I answer this question there. Yeah, definitely.

Dayna Schmidt-Johnson
And I think that's a really good point that no matter how long you've been doing something, there's still room for growth. There's still room for refinement, there's still room for just change, and just being like, you know what, that worked for me then, something else needs to work for me now. And I'm going to switch some things up and for the phase of life that you're in, or anything that happens, right.

Kiala Givehand
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely.

Dayna Schmidt-Johnson
Very cool. So what do you love about practicing this way? What does it really do for you?

Kiala Givehand
Yeah. So here, let me this, this might answer that question. I, this came about for me, because I love pulling the card of the day, like, you know, here's my card for the day, you know, what do I need to bring my awareness to today? And so I would pull the card, and then I would just kind of have a low card stand. And I would have my card out. And time to time, you know, throughout the day, I look at it and I go aright, yeah, okay, I'm working with the Moon card today. And that's the energy and okay, what do I you know, and I would have this relationship with that card for the day.

When I was doing spreads, what I noticed is, I would do the spread, I take all my little notes in my journal, I would sit with it for maybe a few minutes or so sometimes I might sit with it for 30 minutes. But what I realized is if and I always take pictures of my spreads, by the way, I'm a documenter. So I like to document my spread, because I'm just like, I can't always leave the spreads out. If I did, I'd have like a spread from this and a spread from that. I mean, my whole whole situation over here would be spreads everywhere. So I document them so that I can put my cards back in my deck and clear my space. And then from time to time I found myself like zooming in on the image and going, Oh, I didn't realize that's my actual that's my sun sign card that showed up in the spread. Oh, there's a layer there, I need to explore like, what is it saying to me about how I shine my light in the world? Right? Like, What's it saying to me about my, my soul essence here, right? So I would notice these little things.

And so over time, I just started making notes. And not just about what I saw, but what I experienced in my day, in my week, in the month. And so I think that the way I work with it is it's about noticing, it's about noticing what is there instantly, that sort of intuitive, I see what's there. And then looking at the story I like to work with with cards that can tell the story like the storytelling style that have people or beings in them. I love a good abstract deck, don't get me wrong, but I think it's a little bit harder for me, as a storyteller poet person who loves to work with the narrative of something, it's easier for me to work with cards that have you know, people or, or, or animals or beings on them.

So over time, I just realized that I'm not a one and done spread kind of person. I'm not like oh, I did the spread, I made my notes. I never need to look back at that again. I am a revisit the spread kind of person. I am like if I did a month ahead spread I'm looking at that thing multiple times in the month. I'm not just pulling it at the beginning of the month and then never coming back and looking at it because I do believe that the cards provide guidance for us.

And so if I want to get that guidance, sometimes you got to go back and ask for for more information. You gotta go okay, right, right. I'm supposed to be working on you know, truth and dealing a lot with my own obsessions this this month. Okay, got it. Then I need to come back to that spread and go, what's my support energy what's supporting this right?

So I feel like there's a lot of ways to be and for me, the multilayered process is really just me being in conversation with my spreads, being in conversations with with the cards over and over again. I kind of think of it as, and this is not this, I'm gonna put it in this term.

And I just want to preface before I do, because this is the best analogy I can give. But I want to also want to say I'm not this is not to diminish therapy or anything in that way. So hear me clearly when I say that, y'all. But I think of it as if I were going to therapy. And my therapist gives me a task or an assignment or something they want me to focus on think about journal about the next time I come back to the therapist, if they don't mention it. They don't ask me anything. If there's no other dialogue around it. I'm a little baffled. I'm like, can we talk about this? Can we talk about the thing you told me to look at last week, and we, right? And I feel like I come to the cards for that kind of guidance of like, what's my next right step? I look at the cards and I see something that I think is the next step. And I take that step, and it feels good or right or that I come back to the cards and I look and I go oh, I see. I see what's there right.

Now. I need to also preface I do not use Tarot for prediction. I know there are a lot of people who do and I love that line of work. That's not, that's not how I use it. I do use it for possible scenarios and outcomes. Right? What could happen if I took this next step, but not predicting what will happen? So I need to name that for people. But the process for me is a dialogue. I keep coming back, I keep asking the questions.

And sometimes, and some of you right now are going to cringe when I say this, sometimes I will sit with a spread for an hour and be in dialogue with it. But I do that I call it front loading. I do that. Because if I've sat with this spread, and I've gotten all my journaling, and I've asked all the questions I need for clarification, and I've really sat with this spread and information I think it's sharing with me. And I've given given it that amount of time attention and, you know, conversation. I feel like I don't have to come back to it as many times, you know, maybe just a glance here and there for memories sake for the sake of like looking at the position of the person in the card, right?

So for instance, if I want to look at the position of the person in the card for embodiment practice, then I'm like, okay, looking at the Pentacles looking at the resources looking not a card where there is no you know, where I'm looking away from my resources and my Pentacles. Right, like, so I think that there is for me, there isn't a need to come back and touch it. So I've said a lot of words there. So I'm gonna pause and take a sip.

Dayna Schmidt-Johnson
It feels like almost like a scientific method of your practice, right? Like the diving in the request opening the journaling and the observation and that continual like, conversation that you're having, right? I don't think any scientist that is doing an experiment is putting it out there. But then like, continuing to, like have further questions have well this sparked that and how do I look at it a little bit differently? What does that mean now? So I really like the idea of communing then with your cards.

Kiala Givehand
Yes. I like that phrasing communing with the cards. Absolutely. It's um, it's like going into a committee and asking for for assistance and help and every person on the committee has a little something they want to say to you and tell you. But you're only listening to one person or you're not paying right like to me, I do think of it in that way. So yeah.

Dayna Schmidt-Johnson
You've given us a lot of examples of like the benefits of this, right? Going deeper and getting more insight as time goes on. Is there a time when it might not be a good idea to go into a multi-layer reading?

Kiala Givehand
Absolutely. Absolutely. So when you want quick hits, quick insights, quick advice, or guidance or just a quick, you know, question for the day, you don't necessarily have to do all the layers.

And so let me let me say this too. The way I do the layers is I pull my spread, I interact with it first. Then I go, okay, and I'm gonna give you a couple of examples. What a layer - what I mean when I say look at layer, so let's say I've got five cards in front of me. All right, I first look at the number of majors I have versus the number of minors, all right, I look at the majors as the big overarching energy of the spread. And then I look at the minors as here's my this is my to do list, right. So if I've got a five card spread, and four of the five are minors, I got work to do. This is like a to do list for me right now. And then if I've got the one major, I'm looking at, oh, this is the big overarching energy for the tasks that I need to do. These are the inner - this is the energy that I may have to embody, call on for support, whatever it might be, to make these to dos happen now.

Again, that's my way of seeing the majors and the minors, which I'm pretty sure I've learned from Rachel Pollack or Mary K. Greer or Angela Aaron's, someone out there has taught that as like, here's what the majors represent. And here's what the what the minors and so I've just been caught, I've just decided I agree with that. And I'm going to work with it that way, right.

The other thing I do, another layer that I add, is I look at the number, I add up the number of all the cards in the spread. So if I've got five cards, I add up the number of all the cards, so that I can then get an overarching energy for my spread in general, right? So I might add up all those cards, and maybe they come up for to number seven for the chariot. And then I go, Okay, so we're talking about taking some action here. Okay, this is real. And I've got five, four cards telling me to take action, right? So I'm looking at.

So those are two layers, I've got the overall energy of the spread, I've got my, what I consider to be my to do list and my overarching energy for those cards. Another thing I might do is start to bring in my astrology into it, right? I might - not might - I do look at, I'm gonna step back one from the astrology and say, I also look at another layer is looking at the suits. How many wands did you have come up? Is this about some creative action? Or did you mostly have cups, and now we're talking about working with relationships, matters of the heart, your emotional wellness, right?

So I'm looking at how the cards are in relationship with each other. Right? Which would be another layer, the directionality, what direction are these folks looking at each other? Right? So I've got these two cards, right? I will be going, okay, one's looking at down and one's kind of looking towards the other one, I might, you know, if it were these two, and like, you got one that's riding away from the right, so I look at that too. And I give that meaning, as well.

So I could go on and on and on. There's a lot of different ways that I look at layers. And then when I build a spread, I add, I embed layers into the building of my spray. But that's a whole other conversation. So I won't go there right now.

Dayna Schmidt-Johnson
Yeah, we'll have to get into that. That is a whole other conversation for another time for sure. I do love the divine timing that is occurring here. Because for for the quarter that's coming up, we are going to be having an intuitive Tarot discussion in April, and then we're bringing you in June to talk about the multi-layered reading. So like, truly the divine timing of that of getting into Okay, here's the intuition. And now let's go deeper. And let's dive into what these layers can represent.

And I love how you're pulling in all these different disciplines, right that you've collected over time, as we all do, right? We start to get into something and then it's like, oh, how can I pull this into my my spreads every morning? Because you've got numerology, you've got astrology. You've got obviously tarot and all the things right? Really pretty incredible. How you can pull both of those in?

I'm curious, are these types of readings - and I think the answer is yes, but you tell me - is it appropriate for both using tarot and oracle? Or do you do you primarily stick to one?

Kiala Givehand
Yeah, I think that for some of the layers, it's only going to be tarot, for instance, most oracle decks won't have majors and minors for you to look at, right. But that's a layer you just leave out right, you can just leave that layer out. And I say that when I'm teaching people and walking people through a spread or teaching a spread, I will say to them, if you're using Oracle for this, then I'll let you know the ones that don't even worry about them, just skip over them. Some oracle systems have or oracle cards have numbers on them. So if they do then you can do some of the numerology and the numerical pieces as well. But for the most part, I tend to use this primarily with tarot and even when I'm doing a multi-deck spread, meaning I'm using a tarot deck and maybe also bringing in oracle cards for clarification for some reason, then I still can do these layers. I just adjust based on what's there.

And I want to go back to your question about is there times when you don't do it. So when you're short on time, you said something about divine timing. I was like, yeah, when you're short on time, maybe you don't need to do all the layers, right? I actually use the layers when I'm doing things that feel really not that all the stuff I do doesn't feel important to me. But when it feels like a really tender question that I've asked, when it feels like the kind of question where I'm like, I feel like there's more here, right? It's in, so I'm happy that you said this is going to be in the intuitive sort of segment, because I am a very intuitive reader 90% of the way I read cards is intuitive. And then of course, I do layer in, I guess I'm probably more of a holistic reader, because I do also layer in the symbology. And all the things that I have learned about tarot and the meanings of the cards, right, that part isn't done discounted in this for me, or it's not discounted.

So even if you, regardless of your reading style, you know, some of y'all out there are reading, you know, holistically, some of your reading there analytically, some of you are reading word for word, what the what the book says about card and you aren't going outside of those boundaries. And that is fine.

This layering can work no matter what type of reading you you do. And I am a very intuitive storytelling type of reader. Like I look at the cards, and I go, alright, what's the story that it is telling me here? Because my subconscious sees the story in the image, right, which I think is mostly how humans work. Our subconscious sees that right? So.

So yeah, just wanted to go back and name that in terms of like, when, when is maybe not a time to do it. I personally think you could do it whenever. But I think if you are short on time, and you are like then it becomes a point of stress for you like, okay, I gotta get all these layers down. Only got five minutes here, okay, let me like that to me, if it's if it's gonna stress you out, leave it. Just don't even bother, right.

But for me, this is fun. This feels fun. And I love that you said the scientific method, because I would never in 1000 years have said, you know, layered that onto it. But it does, it feels like I'm piecing together a puzzle, it feels like I have been, left these breadcrumbs that I now get to follow. And so I don't see it as stressful or hard or difficult or overwhelming. But if you try this approach, and it feels that way to you, then I say just back up a little bit, just do one layer and that'd be enough, you know, so yeah.

Dayna Schmidt-Johnson
Yeah. And that kind of leads into my next question, because, you know, I think we in the Society have a very wide range of tarot practice practitioners, right, people who are just getting into it, myself included, because astrology is way more my jam. And then we have people who are very seasoned readers. Right. So I'm curious if, and this would go for both right? Because seasoned readers or readers who have not been reading in this way, it's, it can be hard to start something new, essentially. Is there a good way to start this type of practice?

What might be one layer you would suggest just start looking at so that we can start kind of building on this idea?

Kiala Givehand
Yeah. Oh, I love that such a good question. And I'm going to answer it with two answers. So the first thing I say is, tether yourself to what you already know. So for you, Dayna, it would be astrology. You already know astrology. So the devil card comes up and you just go Capricorn, what do I need? What do I know about Capricorn was already telling me right, and you bring in the piece that you already are tethered to, that doesn't require you to google or go grab a book and try to write, so tether yourself to the thing that you already know.

So if if it is moon phases for you, then maybe that's what shows up. If it is symbology. If you are like I have been studying symbols all my life, and you pull a card again, we'll go back to the devil and you see, horns, right? What does that some you see a pentagram? What does that symbol mean? For you, like, go to go to the thing that you already feel confident in. And let that be your first layer. Okay, so that's my, that's my first piece of advice.

On a more practical level in terms of like, well, Kiala I'm new to all of it. I don't know any of it. Then I say your first if you're working with tarot, your first layer is to look at the majors and the minors. That will be the first to me that's like a good first base step is to just go okay, I've got three majors in this spread. Three out of five cards. Whoo. That's a lot. That's a lot of majors in that scenario. And then I go, okay, so if the majors are all about the overarching universal energies that are out there, I'm gonna work with that. And then I'm on look at these other two minor cards, and go, Okay, these are my to do list, this is my to do list. So, what's this guy doing? That's my to do - tend to your resources, right? Give your attention and your intention to them. Like, be the be the person that's doing that thing, right? So find your To Do lists. If you've got court cards there, then however you choose to play with court cards, whether you see them as parts of yourself, or they represent other people in your life, whatever your way is, then look at that, right? So just the base level would be looking at the majors and the minors. That's and whether or not you have court cards, like that's the first step I would say.

And then just leave it at that. That's it. You got to you got the big energies, and then you got your to do list. That's plenty. That's plenty for you to do right there. Yeah.

Dayna Schmidt-Johnson
It definitely is, and especially when you're just stepping your toes into it. I love simplicity. I love starting small because you can always grow from there, right?

Kiala Givehand

Dayna Schmidt-Johnson
Oh, Kiala, thank you so much for being here. We are thrilled to have you as our June Writual Society teacher to learn everything there is to know hopefully, readings, everything you can teach us.

Kiala Givehand
No pressure, Dayna! Everything? Everything you can learn? No pressure.

Dayna Schmidt-Johnson
No pressure, none. You can do all that in an hour or so. Right?

Kiala Givehand
It's gonna be fun. To make it fun I'm gonna make it easy. I'm going to make it something that you you really feel good about, like little little philo layers, real thin. Real easy. You know, yummy. That's what I'm gonna do.

Dayna Schmidt-Johnson
Tender and delicious. I love this so I can get into the food side of this. Well, it's gonna be fantastic. In the meantime, Kiala, where can we find you?

Kiala Givehand
Oh, goodness, come on over to That's the first place to come because we're doing all sorts of adjacent things. So what you all are doing in Writual Society and I feel like they're they are good partnering with each other. Plus Dayna's going to be teaching there this year. So come on, hang out with us over there. So the first place and then just hang out with me on Instagram. I'd love to see what people are making and creating and what kind of card decks you're working with and all the things so come hang out on Instagram. I am @KialaGives and listen y'all know there are clone accounts out there all the time. So make sure you got the right spelling and that you're on the right one so Yep.

Dayna Schmidt-Johnson
Awesome. Oh, we cannot wait. Thank you so much for being here today, Kiala and we will see you in June in the Society.

Kiala Givehand
Thank you. See you guys there! Bye bye.


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