My reserves of philosophical commentary are starting to run low, so it’s time to float another new spread. This one presents a novel way to populate a three-card line. Twelve cards are dealt (and a “quintessence” card is derived), but only three cards and the pertinent quint are read. It uses the concept of an “index” or “pointer” card that flags the scenario most likely to develop in the querent’s situation, ranging from “best case” to “worst case” with intermediary trends. I love spreads with “hidden” cards that are only revealed under certain conditions; here the “index” card activates the two “surprise” modifiers.
A couple of developer’s notes. It may seem counter-intuitive to place Pentacles ahead of Wands as the favored index-card suit for the court and minor determination. My answer is two-fold. In a straight number series of 78 cards with the 22 trump cards first, the Ace of Wands is number 23 and the 10 of Pentacles is 74, while the Page of Wands is 33 and the King of Pentacles is 78. Since the only purpose of the index card is to serve as a “pointer” to the most likely outcome, using the last (highest-numbered) card of each rank appearing in the spread is as good a determinant as any. Also, since the focus of the reading is on mundane rather than spiritual, mental or emotional affairs, giving Pentacles precedence seemed appropriate. Again, the function of the index card is only symbolic, with no special interpretive weight in the reading itself; its primary role is as the “focus” card of the designated row.
The protocol requires looking for a trump card first; if there are two or more, select the highest-numbered one. If there are no trumps, seek the highest-valued court card, with the King of Pentacles as the top choice and the Page of Wands as the bottom one. If there are no court cards, seek the highest-valued minor card, with the 10 of Pentacles as the top choice and the Ace of Wands as the bottom one. The card that emerges from this step flags the row of the spread containing the answer, and it is treated as the main thrust of the reading with the two flanking cards as “hidden” modifiers that are subsequently revealed. This card with its adjusted influence represents short-term advice for handling the scenario in question; Elemental Dignities are a useful tool for tweaking its potency. You can find my advice on their use here (open the Dropbox download):
Perform the quintessence calculation in your normal manner. If you don’t know what a quintessence card is, here are some tips.
The quint card is always a trump card that serves as a big-picture overview of the scenario in its most likely end state, and should be treated as long-term advice.