Back in my early 20’s, before I discovered Monty Python, I was a big fan of the Bonzo Dog Band, the British “novelty” act headed by the brilliant eccentric Vivien Stanshall. They were fond of sticking an occasional non-sequitur into the middle of their album tracks. In one, a band member piped up with “And how did you find yourself this morning?” To which Stanshall replied, “Well, I just rolled back the covers and there I was!” This spread is the visual equivalent of that inspired bit of lunacy. I found this anatomical graphic (I call it the “homunculus”) on-line and did a little creative cutting to make it three-dimensional.
Five has long been considered the “Number of Man,” summarizing the five senses and the five-fold composition of the human physique. Here I’ve moved that “five-ness” down into the “body” section, leaving the “mind/spirit” component detached. I deal six cards from the top down, with the seventh card reflecting the trump-card “quintessence,” or numerical roll-up, of the first six. The layout is read as if standing within the image looking out. The top card shows the mental and spiritual outlook; the center card describes the “heart” or emotional nature; the right hand is the “offering” hand, showing what there is to be given (as if “coming from the heart”); the left hand is the “accepting” hand, showing what will be received (and how it should be assimilated); the right foot shows how and why the individual should “step out” into the world; and the left foot shows how and why he or she should “step back” and simply observe. The quintessence calculation integrates all of these qualities into a single-card profile to serve as a personal “motif” or style that should be either accentuated or moderated in confronting life’s circumstances. (Left-handers should simply swap the “handedness” of the layout and deal to the opposite side first.) I wasn’t thinking of the chakras in developing this idea, just the “body/mind/spirit” dynamic, although there may be incidental parallels.
Here is an example layout I did for myself. I believe the cards in these positions are self-explanatory. I chose not to use reversals, but they certainly could be applied. The Knight of Cups was my personal Significator when I was younger (now it’s the King), here encouraging the generosity of the 9 of Cups, and the practical side of the Hierophant can make good use of the sensible Ace of Pentacles and the robust Ace of Wands in furthering the teaching objectives of this blog. The Hierophant is also the “numerological counterpart” of Temperance (1+4 = 5) on the projective side of the pattern, and a further expression of human “five-ness.” Furthermore, Temperance and the 9 of Cups add to “5” (14+9 = 23; 2+3 = 5), as do the Emperor and the Ace of Wands (4+1 = 5). Interesting stuff!
Since we all ideally grow and change, I think it would be profitable to repeat this reading on an annual basis.