I was recently asked by someone to perform a reading to answer whether a person they are involved with has a “hidden agenda.” (This is not a romantic situation.) It so happens that I have a spread specifically for this scenario, and I don’t often get a chance to use it.
The querent suspects the other person of being deceptive in financial matters, and specifically of taking advantage of the monetary good will of friends by feigning poverty. I used the Thoth deck with reversals in performing this reading. The querent shuffled and cut the deck for the draw, and also randomly laid down the “hidden” cards.
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The highest-ranking, highest-numbered card in the layout serves as the Significator, acting as the “pointer” for the row of hidden cards to be read and also showing the overall thrust of the reading. Here that card is the Devil, suggesting manipulative intentions involving material circumstances.
The flanking cards are the 6 of Cups and the 2 of Cups, both reversed. This appears to show that the Devil is taking advantage of the affection and benevolence of others, bending them to its will through misrepresentation. The reversals suggest emotional vulnerability. The cards are elementally cooperative (Earth and Water), indicating that the individual has had little difficulty getting others to buy into the duplicity, at least up to this point in time.
Although technically not part of the reading, the three central cards in the rows above the Devil show an interesting pattern. The 4 of Swords implies that the devious person has kept everyone at arm’s length and has let nobody in on the details of the situation; the 3 of Wands suggests an attitude of self-righteous justification; and the 5 of Disks reversed shows a fear of being found out. The narrative of the reading bears out all of these assumptions.
I did not need to resort to a quintessence card in this reading, as the implications are plain to see. The reading corroborates the original suspicions in no uncertain terms, and the querent has decided to stop playing along.