A Revealing Bit of “Magic”

I just tested my “Opening of the Key” alternative method for finding the focal point of a 21-card elemental panorama (see previous post). The technique produced a 13-card subset that proved to be too unwieldy to read as a line, so I rolled it up into a Celtic Cross spread with a three-card outcome series. This actually worked well, because the “Facilitator” card is too much of a known quantity (even a foregone conclusion) to be read alone as the outcome of a CC.

All images copyright Robert M. Place, Hermes Publications

The question I asked was related to the fact that the 9 of Swords and 10 of Swords have been coming up frequently in connection with my efforts to break out into greater public exposure in the world of tarot and, to a lesser extent, astrology. I chose the Swords elemental sub-pack for the initial phase, and the Queen of Cups as the Significator with the Ace of Swords as the Facilitator. (There is an interesting story there; I had used the King of Cups for decades since I’m a Water-sign male, but recently found that Aleister Crowley’s psychological profile – he calls it “moral characteristics” – of the Queen are a much closer match for my personality).

Taking the cards in the sequence in which they they appeared, from right-to-left,  between the Significator and the Facilitator, I obtained the following CC layout. (Note that I use Eden Gray’s model, not Waite’s “Sign of the Cross” version, with a few innovations of my own.)

Significator: Queen of Cups

Covering Card (“Heart of the Matter”): Queen of Wands

Crossing Card (Obstacles and Opportunities): Hierophant reversed

Beneath (“Foundation”) : Hermit

Behind (Recent Past): 9 of Pentacles reversed

Above (Present): 6 of Cups

Before (Near Future): Lady (Page) of Wands

7th Position (Querent’s Doubts ): 10 of Swords reversed

8th Position (Querent’s Environment): the Fool

9th Position (Querent’s Aspirations):King of Wands

10th, 11th and 12 Positions (Extended Outcome): 7 of Cups, 3 of Swords, Ace of Swords

There are three Earth cards in this spread, but two of them are in past positions and one of them (Hierophant rx) may be more of an impediment to growth than a benefit. I don’t think I’ll be making much money at this for the foreseeable future (which isn’t why I’m in it anyway), and will have to focus more on the fun (Wands), satisfaction (Cups) and stimulation (Swords) aspects of it.

The Queen of Wands is a dramatic make-over from the retiring Queen of Cups personality, suggesting that I must “light a fire” under my image. (Hmm, maybe I should dye my hair bright red!)

The Hierophant rx may be showing that hanging on to traditional methods is detrimental to progress. I consider my style to be 60% analytical – using decades of absorbed knowledge and experience – and 40% intuitive; perhaps the time is right to shed the structure and streamline the delivery.

The Hermit as “foundation” card is no mystery; I have decades of isolated practice behind me. It’s a stable place to work from but not very socially exciting or rewarding.

The 9 of Pentacles rx in the recent past shows that I’ve recognized that I must “leave the garden.”

The 6 of Cups in the present is a good measure of the satisfaction and sense of acceptance I’ve received to date.

The Lady of Wands in the near future encourages “turning it up a notch.”

The seventh position (which Gray calls “Fears” and Waite deems “the Self”) I decided to merge and title “Self-doubts:” in other words, anything that causes the querent to resist or push back against emergence of the near-future scenario. In that sense, it is an echo of the “Crossing” card, just farther along in the process. In this spread, Card #7 is the 10 of Swords reversed. I call this the “scorched earth” card; there’s nothing left to salvage so it’s time to move on from the ashes. (The Lady of Wands should probably be careful how she applies that torch.) The reversal gives the idea that renewal is possible because the devastation isn’t staring the querent in the face, but it’s still hard to get motivated.

The Fool in the “querent’s environment” position  is the perfect antidote to the previous card because it presents an entirely fresh face to the world, with no baggage in the form of preconceptions about anything. Over the cliff he (or in this version, she) goes! (But it turns out to be only a shallow step)

The King of Wands in the “querent’s aspirations” is fascinating because, in a group reading session yesterday, I came up with the Emperor in a similar context, and my reading partner asked me if I wanted to be an authority in my chosen field. The King of Wands here suggests slightly more modest goals, but I do sometimes call it “the Emperor’s little brother.” Yes, a little more recognition would be nice, and it is coming from certain quarters.

The 7 of Cups as the first outcome card implies that a slightly more mystical slant to my methods could be the answer, while the 3 of Swords is the “no pain, no gain” card, suggesting that getting there when I’m so entrenched in knowledge-based practices could be like pulling teeth. The  antiseptic Ace of Swords completes the excision and frees my to adopt a new paradigm.

Interesting stuff. Now I just need to make it happen.



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