I was asked to write up a sample reading for this spread to show how it is to be approached, and chose this real-life scenario. I used the Golden Universal Tarot for the querent’s line and the RWS Centennial Edition for the love interest’s “moving lines.” The querent is a young professional man and the other party is a young woman who recently crossed his path; the relationship has existed for a few months now but there is no real sense of commitment in it at this time.
The querent’s line is dominated by “Nines” – going right-to-left, it holds the Knight of Swords reversed in the Fire position, the 9 of Pentacles in the Water position, the 9 of Wands in the Air position and the 9 of Cups reversed in the Earth position. All of these card-to-position combinations are elementally favorable, showing that he is well-established but – with the reversals – not really settled yet.
The first card-to-card pairing between the querent’s line and the top-most “moving” line brings together the elementally comfortable Knight of Swords reversed with the almost as well-favored 7 of Wands reversed in the Earth position. The fact that both cards are reversed may show that there is some tension in their physical relationship, with the 7 of Wands fending off the pushy Knight of Swords. Overall, though, there is considerable (although intermittent) “sparkin’ ” to the combination, if not yet much “courtin’.”
Before I go any further, I want to talk about the six unread cards to the right that are not part of the reading proper. They include the Queen of Cups, the 10 of Cups and the 3 of Cups, all reversed, the 5 of Cups, the 5 of Wands reversed and the 3 of Wands; they suggest to me that she may have been emotionally traumatized at some point prior to meeting the querent, and possibly experienced some abuse (5 of Wands rx), so she is looking to move beyond all that in a decisive way (3 of Wands). The fact that there are twelve reversed cards among the remaining sixteen in the “active” moving lines gives me pause, since they imply that she really isn’t ready to commit to a steady relationship.
The second set joins the querent’s Knight of Swords rx in Fire with the her 6 of Wands rx in the “moving” Air position, and the 9 of Pentacles in the querent’s Water position with the Ace of Wands in her “moving” Earth position. Air/Fire + Fire/Air and Earth/Water + Fire/Earth are all elementally potent combinations, but the two reversals repeat the motif of the first pairing: she is still holding something back. The Ace of Wands is more self-assured than his laid-back 9 of Pentacles, which suggests that she is in a position to call the shots.
The third set blends his Knight of Swords rx in Fire with her 4 of Wands rx in Water, his 9 of Pentacles in Water with her 2 of Pentacles in Air, and his 9 of Wands in Air with her 7 of Pentacle rx in Earth. The elemental dignities of her cards are mostly weak (Fire + Water, Earth + Air, and Earth + Earth), although on the surface their pairing with his cards isn’t all that terrible. The two reversals and the changeable 2 of Pentacles in the “moving” line make me think she isn’t ready for “happily ever after,” and has “one foot in and one foot out” of the relationship. He has his work cut out for him if he wants to convince her to stay.
The fourth set – in which all of the elemental positions of the spread template align – has his Knight of Swords rx in Fire matched to her 4 of Pentacles rx in Fire, his 9 of Pentacles in Water yoked to her 8 of Pentacles rx in Water, his 9 of Wands in Air blended with her 3 of Pentacles rx in Air and his 9 of Cups rx in Earth combined with the Star rx in her Earth position. This is a mixed bag elementally, but the reversals in the “moving” line indicate that she may think there is too much work involved in making a domestic life with him and not enough money on the table to satisfy her unrealistic (“starry-eyed”) expectations. The four reversals in a row practically shout reluctance and disappointment.
The fifth set brings together his 9 of Pentacles in Water and her 9 of Cups rx in Fire. This pair and the next one make me think the “fizz” has gone out of things and she is playing coy with him. His 9 of Wands in Air matched to her 4 of Cups in Water gives me the idea that she is letting him know she isn’t impressed with his gallantry but he may not be catching her drift. This is starting to look like a “ho-hum” relationship from her perspective. Finally, his 9 of Cups rx (I call it the “fat, dumb and happy” card, and it’s paying even less attention when reversed) coupled with her Temperance rx in the Air position of the “moving” line makes me wonder whether she isn’t about to lose patience with what she sees as his fatuousness and simply “upset the apple-cart.”
The sixth set is another 2×2 array that pairs his 9 of Wands in Air with her Ace of Cups rx in Fire; there isn’t much sympathy between those two, and he may feel like he’s “pushing a wet noodle.” The second pair – his lackadaisical 9 of Cups rx in Earth and her brisk Magician in Water once again places the initiative in her hands.
The seventh and final pair shows what’s left of the relationship after the smoke clears. His 9 of Cups rx in Earth and her Hermit rx in Fire suggest that there is scant satisfaction to be be found in staying together: he will be licking his wounds and she will be sulking alone much of the time, keeping her own counsel and plotting her next move.
The fact that there are Major Arcana cards (with three of them reversed) at the left-hand terminus of the active “moving lines” in the last four comparative sets, all stacked against his rather hapless 9 of Cups rx, indicates that major events will soon transpire – and probably not to his advantage.
The six unread cards at the bottom left of the spread show that, while she may not know exactly what she wants, she’s positive it isn’t this. The Tower rx overthrows the foundation, the Knight of Swords militates against the complacency of the Hierophant rx and the Fool is willing to face the unnerving Path of the Moon just to get away. The Ace of Swords rx slides away from a confrontation and leaves things unresolved. She may just disappear from his life one day with no theatrics and no warning.