Human conflict is one of my favorite areas to explore with the tarot because it is such a target-rich environment. I don’t do much with multi-party conflicts because they are much rarer than the one-on-one face-off, but here is the latest example of my current approach.
Tarot is an excellent microscope through which to scrutinize human nature in disarray, especially as it involves individuals in conflict situations. I have created numerous spreads that take a “two-channel” approach to such interaction, with an identical chain of cards for each party to the occasion, allowing meaningful comparison to see which presents the strongest position. The most obvious target is romantic disharmony, either emerging or in progress and often in serious crisis; many of these spreads are also serviceable for social and professional confrontations, although I’ve developed layouts specifically aimed at those circumstances. All designs typically include at least three key elements: two parties at odds with one another, and a particular bone of contention that divides them; these arrays are often expandable simply by adding an identical chain of spread positions for each participant.
The multi-party conflict is a rarer occurrence, and can range from romantic “triangles” to major litigation in which all potential claimants are dragged into the fray. Each participant brings a unique set of advantages and handicaps to the table, which it is the pleasure of therapists and lawyers to help sort out. In tarot terms, I often turn to the convenience of the “quintessence” card to roll these strengths and weakness up into a single expression of relative potency as shown by a numerologically derived trump card. There will normally by a “sub-quint” for each antagonist and a “grand quint” for the situation in general, all of which can be matched to see which party holds the upper hand at the higher levels of “cosmic justice.” Sympathetic pairings bode well for the favored party, while more uncomfortable alignments spell trouble.
My latest foray into the realm of human conflict is the collision-course spread I call the “3-Car Crack-up,” an allusion to vehicular mayhem. The novel wrinkle here is that I use the idea of the astrological “mirror” card for the Grand Quint trump to show whether the “jury’s” verdict is in accord or strongly at odds with the “judge’s” outlook. The verdict lies in how sympathetic the “mirror” card is to the sub-quint favored by the “judge” (Grand Quint). It may in fact give the nod to a different participant.