“Look, Ma . . . No Hands!” (A Five-Card Experiment)

I decided to put my somewhat feeble line reading skills to a test in two different ways, asking the same question of two decks and using a pre-positioned topic card in one of the spreads. I used the Blue Owl for the unstructured line and the Piatnik for the pre-arranged one. The question was “What is going on with my health?” I have been suffering from a nasty, lingering upper respiratory ailment (a bad head cold that keeps trying to become worse). I’ve been using a combination of naturopathic remedies and over-the-counter symptom-reducing medicines along with a lot of sleep (but no antibiotics yet), and am very slowly gaining ground. I used the Tree as the pre-selected “hinge” card in the second reading.

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At first blush, the two lines seem very different, although the Clouds in both speaks of respiratory trouble and I may be well-advised to seek professional help sooner rather than later . In the first reading, the certain recovery symbolized by the Bouquet is obviously stalled by the Cross, the Snake and the Clouds. The fact that it mirrors the Dog is telling me “You better hope you know a good doctor.” The Cross indicates a debilitated, worn-out state which, because it mirrors the Clouds, suggests a respiratory illness as the cause. The Snake in the middle hints at complications ahead, but the light side of the Clouds facing it may mean that recovery is not as elusive as it seems to be at present, although things could get worse before they get better. Awareness and caution can make a difference. Assuming it gets that far, the Dog (“doctor”) at the end of the line looks like my last resort, but the dark side of the Clouds near it implies medical ambiguity and having to get through some “dark days” before it happens. In fact, I’m right in the middle of all this now, but the Snake hasn’t really stuck yet, so maybe I can fend it off with vigilance and prudent self-treatment.

In the second reading, the Key at the beginning avows that this is the truth of the matter: the combination of High Tower, Tree and Anchor suggests a prolonged recuperation, possibly but hopefully not involving a hospital visit, and a condition that eventually stabilizes. To make that happen, I need to isolate myself from further exposure. Since it has the Clouds in its future, the High Tower can also indicate debilitating or chronic illness, but there is still some room for nature to take its customary course, aided by support from the pharmaceutical establishment.  At this time the prognosis is still in doubt, so extra care is warranted; at least the bright side of the Clouds points toward the future, promising improvement after unsettled weather.

In both readings, the  sentence I’m seeing is “Recovery will be slow but certain, although it may not happen without assistance, as long as I stay alert for signs of deterioration.” The two “hinge” cards are interesting. The Tree supposes a stalwart constitution, and there are no negative cards touching it that serve to undermine that assumption. The Clouds merely leaves things hanging as a cautionary statement, tarnishing some of the Key’s certitude. If I don’t pay attention, the Anchor could find itself sitting in quicksand that is even harder to escape. The Cross-Snake-Clouds combination similarly warns that I can’t let things degrade much further before seeking professional help. In both cases, I’ve been closely monitoring the condition of my bronchia and lungs – so far, so good, just stuffy sinuses and no fever.

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