As is no doubt self-evident from my previous posts here, I love complex spreads with lots of working parts to coordinate. This spread is a substitute for the Celtic Cross and covers much the same ground, but is entirely situational in content with no overt psychological assumptions other than the inferred attributes of the Significator card. It includes three main focus areas: the “Heart of the Matter,” which shows the evolving impact on the querent of his or her circumstances as they develop, both in the short and long term; the “Situation As I See It,” basically portraying the querent in the midst of wrestling with current and forthcoming conditional demands; and “Wider Implications,” which brings in time-line elements spanning everything from “the root to the fruit” of the matter as a big-picture assessment. A distinction is also made between what is within the querent’s span of control and what lies outside it. The “microscope” analogy goes from “1X” ( a single-card snapshot of the querent “in the wild” with no analytical magnification) to “3X,” a three-card elaboration of the querent’s early engagement with the situation, to “5X,” a five-card scenario that offers a full-blown circumstantial narrative covering the beginning, middle and end of the story, informed by the stage-setting cards above.
The concept of the “quintessence” is applied as an option to suggest larger forces (trump cards) potentially operating in the background of the querent’s life as they bear on the matter in question. I’ve used only the “sub-quint” technique for the “known” (past) and “unknown” (future) projection of these energies; no “grand quintessence” comprised of a roll-up of all the cards is necessary (mainly because I ran out of real estate on the graphic map, but you can always do one if you like). The “known” factors include what inspired the querent to submit to the state of affairs currently experienced, and who (or what) may have been instrumental in facilitating that development. The “unknown” factors encompass what the querent aspires to become (even if he or she doesn’t know it yet) and who (or what) may offer guidance along that road. Before anyone asks, the difference between a “mentor” and a “guide” as I use them here is that one had a formative role in the past and the other has a similar mission going forward.
Because of the large number of possible “triplets” (three-card combinations) in the layout, this spread is ideally suited to the use of Elemental Dignities, although I haven’t discussed it in the instructions. A simple example would be: “Depending on how elementally friendly or unfriendly the cards are to one another, the querent’s handling (Card #2) of upcoming challenges and opportunities (Card #5) would be either supported or hampered by his or her fundamental constitution (Card #1) and appreciation of wider implications (Card #3), and by the alignment between his resources (Card #4) and his ability to apply them (Card #2) in meeting his needs (Card #5). Card #2 is the “principal” or “focus” card here, and its potency is modified by the elemental natures of Cards #1, 3, 4 and 5.