The “test throw” I included in my original post on this subject was in fact based on a legitimate question so I decided to use it to illustrate this method of reading. The situation centers on an upcoming gathering of a large group of people at the home of one of the parties, and the question involves how that will work out given the range of opinions on the choice that was made. The resulting cards appear to reveal more about the social dynamics at work in the matter than the actual outcome, although that can be inferred. Here is the “unreconstructed” layout, followed later by two more orderly arrays of the cards in their as-read sequence. The deck is the RWS Centennial Edition, with reversals.
The main theme of this reading is provided by the five-card cluster at the center. The matter revolves around the “happy home” card (10 of Cups) at the base of the cluster. The stack is topped by the Hierophant, suggesting that the individual acting as “prime mover” is intent on maintaining tradition. The King of Wands is the homeowner (lord of his castle), the 4 of Swords reversed implies that he feels a bit “skewered” by the whole thing, and Strength shows that “persuasion” may have been applied to bring him into line. All of the cards except the reversed 4 of Swords in the middle of the line were neutral in orientation, indicating that only the homeowner’s resistance was a “sticking point” in the situation, but he is now resigned to it.
The rest of the cards identify other parties privy to the affair, in descending order of their degree of interest in, and influence on, its development.
The next most-engaged participant is shown by the Queen of Wands/7 of Cups pair, with the 7 of Cups reversed. The Queen believes that the Hierophant’s mission is an honorable one and wants to keep any drama in the background.
The third party is identified by the Judgement/4 of Cups duo. This participant is taking a critical stance but is reserving judgment on the advisability of the undertaking.
The fourth party is represented by the Empress and Justice, both reversed; this participant has effectively “washed hands” of the controversy and is more concerned about overall fairness and harmony than tradition.
The fifth and sixth parties are reflected in the two “singletons,” shown paired here but actually separated in the original “drop.” One (7 of Swords) really wants no part of any involvement, while the other (4 of Pentacles) supports the Hierophant’s goals.
Participant #7, who was furthest from the center group among those who made it onto the map, is shown by the Fool and the Tower reversed. This remote party doesn’t really have “an oar in the water” and will go with whatever transpires, if at all. There are two more parties who didn’t figure into the reading due, in one case, to physical distance from the “action” and, in the other, to historical indifference over similar past situations). Both parties’ cards fell beyond the borders of the reading surface.
The inference from all of this is that the Hierophant will emerge triumphant and “the show will go on” as planned this time around.