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.