The “Two Paths You Can Go By” Decision-Making Spread

Popular culture is often a goldmine of spread ideas and titles. In this case, the line “Yes, there are two paths you can go by” from Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” was tailor-made for a decision-making spread.

After completing my “pips” cycle of essays, I decided to create a spread specifically for “pips-only” use. This spread also applies another concept that I find compelling: using the facing of a randomly-drawn court card, either upright or reversed, to show where to enter the layout and begin the reading. I don’t use Waite’s notion that the Significator’s facing designates “past” and “future” in  the reading, but I do think it can show where the initial focus should lie.

In this spread, the facing of the central court card points to one of two “focus” cards as the starting point, from which two strings of cards are dealt – one clockwise and the other counter-clockwise – that end in a single “outcome” card (a total of eight cards in two separate sub-sets). The idea is that there is an obvious path to the end of the matter  and an alternate way with subtler aspects. The one that provides the most engaging (or least burdensome) trajectory will show whether it is best to tackle the situation “head-on” or more obliquely (perhaps by exercising patience and circumspection).

I have changed this design in two ways since I first posted it. I found that the court-card “pointer” didn’t create much differentiation between Path “A” and Path “B” if the same deck is used, so I added an option to bring in a second prepared deck for the alternate path. Even better, I included a “horizon” bias so that the clockwise path above the horizon is more transparent, while the clockwise path below the horizon is more obscure; the counter-clockwise paths are either exaggerated or tempered in their ambiguity by this phenomenon. This should add more weight to the court-card path selection. It also gives the impression that sometimes the Universe just wants to make us work harder and dig deeper for our answers.

Two Paths Spread Graphic.JPG

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