The “Twist of Fate” Course-Correction Spread

Any enterprise or project can reach a point where it becomes vulnerable to external meddling, especially when someone on the outside sees an opportunity to gain some kind of advantage, whether that individual is a corporate raider, a wealthy investor, a wheeling-and-dealing venture capitalist, a conniving co-worker or a pushy mother-in-law. This is the stuff that hostile takeovers, leveraged buyouts, palace revolts and acrimonious divorces are made of, and “sharpening one’s knives” has become something of an art-form.  In the tarot, forces that are beyond the querent’s control are generally represented by trump cards, which can have a fated quality to them.

This spread is designed to consider the impact of both positive and negative intervention. It is a basic five-card progression with a beginning, middle and end, but it is enhanced with two “adjustment” trains comprised of trump cards that can present the need to alter the course of one’s anticipated trajectory to either take advantage of a beneficial influence or dodge the bullet of a hostile one. Because it is math-based in its second operation, no reversals are used in the 5-card line to keep it simple, but subtraction may yield reversed trump cards in the “negative intervention” train. Note that I treat court cards as numbers 11 through 14 of their suit for the purpose of this calculation.

The “positional” trump-cards are paired in interesting ways as place-holders on opposite sides of the equation: the Chariot corresponds to the Cardinal Water sign, Cancer, representing the restlessness of moving water, while the Hanged Man as primary elemental Water signifies a deep, still pool that invites stagnation; Strength and Death are contrasting studies in fixity, the former associated with the fixed Fire sign, Leo, representing constructive creativity, and the latter with Scorpio, the fixed Water sign, more interested in taking things apart to see what makes them tick; the Star and the Devil embody the two signs of Saturn’s traditional rulership, Aquarius and Capricorn respectively, one personifying the social engineer and the other the “straw-boss” (aka “slave-driver”); and the Sun and the Tower, reflecting the astrological Sun and Mars, are most simply portrayed as the Hero and the Villain in this drama.

6 thoughts on “The “Twist of Fate” Course-Correction Spread

  1. My trajectory is

    Star hermit Hermit emperor

    Kingcups 3cups 6cups 3wands A wands

    Justice empress empress High priestess

    Used RWS – trajectory about love relationship with @6 months – end of year time line.

    Reading as KCups represents lover/partner as we move through a celebratory party phase 3cups to a more stable 6 cups “mates” phase then 3 wands suggests looking outside for a new adventure making plans and the A shows arrival of such opp for adventure

    Star in chariot pos shows long term restlessness vs justice in H Man – meaning worth the wait?

    Then next two trumps both hermit and empress – hermit in strength shows taking time out from relationships is a good idea vs empress in death is feeling womanly and the fundamentals of that.
    Hermit in star – confusing – suggests I’m still taking time out doing some soul searching (because both are hermits maybe that’s a long time out – maybe over the summer?) empress in devil suggests that I am bound to my womanliness and will become driven by it.
    Then emperor and HP seem to suggest a switch so my deep seeking shown by hermit becomes a negative intervention shown in HP and emperor is the hero – I find a man ?

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  2. You’ve hit upon something here that I didn’t anticipate when I created the spread: multiple instances of the same trump card coming up in the calculations. Rather than being an oversight, I think this shows reinforcement.

    King of Cups – 3 of Cups – 6 of Cups as a set are a bit too lackadaisical to really push the serious relationship angle; they’re more interested in the “light side” of fun and pleasure. But the 3 of Wands and the Ace of Wands recognize that a “make-over” is needed to get on track. The Ace of Wands in particular shows inviting something new into your life by the end of the period.

    The “positive intervention” cards have the Star in the Chariot position, showing high hopes and good momentum at the beginning, but the doubling of the Hermit (once in the Strength position and again in the Star position) seems to suggest that you will be alone for much of the time in question but not really fazed by it. You will keep your own counsel and tend to your private affairs. Astrologically, Leo (Strength) and the Star (Aquarius) are diametric opposites, and bridging then with the Hermit at least has them pulling in the same direction, however solitary. The Emperor at the end implies that you will eventually get your feet under you since it cooperates beautifully with the 3 of Wands and Ace of Wands. If nothing else, you will be in high spirits and feeling good about yourself. But if the Emperor represents a “man of interest,” he might be a bit too authoritarian for comfort.

    The “negative intervention” series has Justice in the Hanged Man position, making me think that being too passive(that King of Cups can be reticent) will result in a “hung jury.” No verdict will emerge in the early going.The doubling of the Empress (reversed in the Death position and upright in the Devil position) shows that she can’t really make up her mind about what to do with the “stuck-ness” indicated by the Justice/Hanged man combination; her life becomes complicated by unpleasant options. The High Priestess in the Tower position wants to stay above the fray but winds up in a vindictive mood when things start going to pieces around her.The positive intervention line seems more coherent here in its focus on self-control.

    At the first “adjustment point,” the Star has the edge on Justice because its transcendent nature is inherent and its optimism is unforced; it doesn’t have to be adjudicated in the first case or mandated in the second. The Hermit x2 at the second and third adjustment points tells the indecisive Empress that he is in control and nothing exciting, stimulating or “messy” is going to happen on his watch. At the fourth adjustment point, the Emperor is full of self-confidence (and of himself) and has no patience for the mind games of the High Priestess, whom he dominates with a show of force. If arrogance can be kept out of the picture, the chances for a satisfactory outcome seem reasonably good.

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    • Marvellous. It describes how things have been/are at the moment. My partner and I split up a while ago but have stayed very much friends. This may be shown by the King cups moving to 3 and then 6 cups maybe.? As we move from past to present in the first three cards of the line of five?? We are possibly still in that trajectory. I forgot the empress would be in a reversed position.- (thank you) I feel this starts an “about turn” at the time of the 3 wands and the ‘internal’ seeking of the hermit becomes an ‘external’ seeking depicted by the 3 wands. Can an adjustment point work like that in this spread?

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      • An adjustment point means that the effect of a card in the 5-card line is influenced and modified by the two trump cards that feed into it, with the dominant trump card having a greater impact. One thing I always say about trumps is that they represent external influences entering the matter that can be neither avoided nor fully deflected, so the only option you have is to adapt or adjust. The idea here is to show how and why that adjustment occurs. I like your take on the first three cards: backing down from the commitment of the King of Cups into a more informal arrangement that is still emotionally compelling. The two Wands following suggest the possibility of some kind of “reboot.” But whomever is represented by the Emperor might have conditions that are too demanding and onerous for the High Priestess to swallow, so she stays aloof.

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