This post brings together a couple of ideas I’ve been pondering for a while. The first is the concept of “portable houses” (or if you prefer, “mobile homes”), by which a second deck is used to randomly lay out a set of cards to act as “houses” for the eventual pull when you’re using a spread other than the Grand Tableau. (In this case, I’m applying it to the 5-card line.) The second is finding a way to ensure that the draw unfailingly puts the chosen significator or topic card into the spread rather than placing it there intentionally. Here are two proposed solutions (and a third untested possibility), one of which inserts a pre-assigned topic card into the “house” array and another that has random house cards but deposits the topic card in the “hinge” (or center) position after some minor artifice in the deal.
In the first case I decided to select and position the topic card in advance as the central “house” card in order to set the situational focus, and randomly placed the other “house” cards on either side of it. Then I pulled the reading line in the normal way and laid it on top of the houses. I did a test reading using the question “How will my trip to Boston with my brother to attend a musical event turn out?”
The selected topic card was the Garden, showing the public gathering that is the target of our outing. For the purpose of this reading, the Man + Dog combination indicates a man and his friend, while the Heart + Storks pairing suggest strengthening of the bond of brotherly affection going forward. One pair sets the stage for attending the event and the other shows the “take-away” from it. (Dog mirroring Heart and Man mirroring Storks reinforce this possibility.)
The Coffin on the house of Man implies some kind of risk to my person, but it could happen before we actually get to our destination. Maybe my brother’s driving? We have an hour-long road trip ahead of us, but he’s as sober as a judge these days so it might not be his fault. I’ll tell him to be extra careful of other drivers.
Lilies on the house of Dog seems to be showing two old geezers pal-ing around together.
Rider on the house of Garden looks like we will arrive there in plenty of time.
Tree on the house of Heart makes me think we’ll feel pretty good about the experience.
Stars on the house of Storks bodes well for future adventures, as we see the value of “growing” our recently-renewed relationship. (We’ve been separated by a considerable number of miles for decades.).
In the second instance, I laid all of the house cards randomly and then dealt the reading line in the usual way, with the exception that, after placing the first five cards in the row, I pulled more cards for the center position until the chosen topic card turned up. I debated whether to read all of the cards under it when I was done as background information for the situation, a kind of secondary story line that is more circumstantial than developmental. But the test reading gave me 18 additional cards, far too many to read constructively, so I chose to read the topic card only in combination with the bottom card in the pile, viewing the latter as a kind of lens or filter for the influence of the house on the subject of the reading. This will all come clear in the example. (Note that I still think pursuing a narrative sub-plot is a reasonable approach if the number of underlying cards is manageable.) It goes without saying that if the topic card appears randomly among the first five, there is no need to go any further even if it doesn’t land in the middle position.
Another option would be to deal more cards in sequence across all five positions until the topic card appears and read it there rather than forcing it into the center spot. This would most likely deliver a shorter “sub-plot” string, but I haven’t tried it yet. The sub-plot concept would add a “3D” element to the reading that could conceivably apply to every position depending on how soon the topic card turns up. I’ve already explored this with the Grand Table in a previous post. This intrigues me because, as we get older, nearly every area of life has a history (call it a “shadow” side) to it that bubbles just beneath the surface of present circumstances, something the sub-plot content could reveal.
For this test I used the same question for the reading, and the same topic card, the Garden.
With the exception of the hopeful Stars at the start, the “house” cards look like a hassle from beginning to end, making the adventure seem like a singularly bad idea. They show obstacles (Mountain); antagonism (Whip); confusion (Clouds) and struggle (Cross). The reading cards, on the other hand, are much more benign.
Dog on the house of Stars suggests the open-minded camaraderie that we will bring to the situation.
Stars on the house of Mountain implies that we will be able to overlook any inconveniences. Perhaps we will arrive a little late.
Storks + Garden on the house of Whip indicate that we may encounter some aggravating developments at the venue, but nothing we can’t take in stride. On the other hand, it might also mean that we will have to leave for our own good if things turn ugly.
High Tower on the house of Clouds is troubling, since it could show the authorities arriving to quell a disturbance.
I really don’t think Key on the house of Cross indicates that our fate is to be locked up if we don’t get out of there in time. But you never know. Maybe it just means that the door will be opened for something fateful to happen that is to my advantage. On all counts, though, this reading seems much more cautionary than the first one.