An I Ching/Tarot Problem-Solving Spread

This is my first attempt at fashioning a practical spread from a combination of the I Ching and the tarot. The decks I intend to be used are Anthony Clark’s I Ching Pack, which has direct correspondences to the hexagrams; the Thoth deck with its association to the hexagrams through Aleister Crowley’s commentary in The Book of Thoth; and any deck of the reader’s choosing as an adjunct to the first two. I was originally planning to use the Haindl deck as the third choice since it is a Thoth clone with hexagrams printed on the face of the cards, but I find it rather dour. Instead, I’m going to start with Anthony Clark’s Magickal Tarot since it is more of a Golden-Dawn-inspired deck with slightly different titles that will augment and amplify the Thoth meanings. I’ve added a chart of the hexagrams to the spread as a reference; if you so desire, the individual diagrams can be either hand-drawn or copy-and-pasted onto a working copy of the layout. You will need a version of The Book of Changes to interpret this spread; I use the Wilhelm/Baynes translation, but there are others available.

The process begins with casting three hexagrams using any method you like (coins, yarrow stalks, etc). The objective is to read the I Ching text first as a high-level overview of each phase of any problem-solving scenario, followed with a series of three-card analyses of practical aspects of the situation. The model loosely follows Johann Fichte’s dialectical “thesis/antithesis/synthesis” argument, since it postulates that most problem-solving approaches begin with assumptions, move through adjustments to those assumptions based on experience, and conclude with a coming-to-terms with the realities of the matter.

Seven separate three-card series are possible with this spread. The three horizontal rows and one diagonal row begin with an I Ching card as their premise and work through development of that premise in practical terms via the two tarot cards that follow. Each of the horizontal series describes a phase of development, from initial assumptions through reassessment of those assumptions to an appraisal of predicted consequences. The diagonal series offers a cross-cutting perspective. The vertical columns provide an in-depth look at the nature of each phase according to the three sequential cards from the associated deck. The horizontals and the diagonal show developmental aspects of the situation, while the verticals are more broadly situational. Note that only the tarot Minor Arcana are used in this spread, in keeping with Crowley’s correlation of the Thoth cards to the hexagrams. This method will be most useful for complex problem-solving scenarios.

I believe the two Anthony Clark decks are out-of-print, so you may have to search for used copies on-line or choose an alternative in order to use this spread. On the other hand, you could just use the readily-available Thoth deck and any other deck in conjunction with the hexagrams and dispense with the I Ching cards. In this approach, the Thoth card and its corresponding hexagram become the key interpretive elements in each series.

Tarot Hexagram Spread2.JPG

Tarot Hexagram Spread.JPG

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