The “Devil Made Me Do It” Moral Dilemma Spread

Every once in a while we all face a moral dilemma. They don’t have to be life-changing issues (unless they snowball, of course), they can be little things. Do I tell that white lie to save someone’s feelings or do I tell the plain truth and let the chips fall where they may? The basic “yes-or-no” spreads are just a bit too vanilla to do justice to these morally charged situations, so I created one that brings in the Devil.

It uses the Devil cards from several decks (three or more would be good for randomizing purposes, and decks with reversible backs will help avoid visual cues). These cards are mixed face-down to incur some reversals and one of them is selected randomly and placed in the “Devil” position as the “weather-vane.” In standard RWS-style decks, his lowered left hand will point to one side or the other (if it’s holding a torch, so much the better). That side will show where the strongest temptation lies, either consciously (upright) or subconsciously (reversed). A reversed Devil will invariably favor the left-hand, “dark” side of the layout, suggesting hidden motives, and an upright one will flag the right-hand, “light” side, a useful bit of symbolism for this purpose. But that isn’t a given for all decks and really makes no difference to the reading as long as there is a clear up-and-down orientation in the chosen card.

The two columns, the “Left-Hand Path” and the Right-Hand Path,” are populated with cards drawn from a “dark” deck in the first case and a “light” deck in the second one (keep the Devil cards in those decks). I personally intend to use the Night Sun Tarot and the Connolly Tarot for this, but there are many worthy choices. Each column is separated into three sub-sections: the first one shows the strength of the initial urge to go one way or the other, the second provides for a judgment call and suggests how easy or difficult it will be to back out, and the third one is the “go for broke” scenario. The relative potency of the card in each position will show how strong a “pull” it exerts on the querent for entering that particular path, with all three  combining for the final testimony. “Good” cards like the Sun or the 3 of Cups can show that no harm will come from the chosen course (maybe just a bit of jolly, not-so-innocent fun), while more challenging cards like the Tower or the 10 of Swords can be disastrous for the choice they represent.

There is no “outcome” card as such, only situational profiles that can be compared for preference. But a separate “quintessence” card can be numerically derived from the three cards in each column to provide a high-level determination of likely success or failure according to the trump card produced in each case. Another option is to use only trump cards for this spread, especially in matters where the ethical ramifications are more serious for the choice that must be made.

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