The “Squaring the Circle” Relationship Development Spread

This spread takes its inspiration from the “Squaring the Circle” exercise I posted yesterday. In working with it, I found that there may be repetition of cards between the main spread and its “mirrored” counterpart, as well as among the various quintessence cards, so use of a second deck for those auxiliary operations is strongly recommended. The “mirror” spread is essentially a second ten-card reading that shows the “shadow side” of outward appearances in the matter; it will ideally reveal motives and attitudes driving overt circumstances. Finding the “mirror” cards can be done either: 1) by locating the card that is the same distance from the opposite end of the number series for its rank (shown in the attached table) as the card in question is from its nearer end; or, alternatively: 2) by pulling a comparable number of cards from the bottom of the deck to populate a second tier. Note that the number table has one rank for trump cards and another for the rest of the deck; they should be used independently, with the 22-card trump series running from the Fool to the World and the 56-card minor series beginning with the Ace of Wands (23) and ending with the King of Pentacles (78). The example reading below shows one way to lay this out. Reversals may be used with this spread.

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Below is an example reading I created to illustrate the use of this spread. It involves a hypothetical situation in which a woman is under intense – and unwanted – sexual pressure from an aggressive male at the place where they both work. The deck is the Golden Universal RWS (with one duplicate quint card from the Mystical Tarot) and I used reversals.

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The “heart of the matter” here – shown by the Chariot in the “Ace” position – is a question of conquest. The man is using all of his wiles (Magician in the “Two” position) to pursue his own gratification (King of Cups in the “Three” position). The woman is at her wit’s end in trying to fend him off, and is losing sleep over the situation (9 of Swords rx in the “Four” position). She is desperately in need of redress for her grievances (Justice in the “Five” position), but the “system is stacked against her” (World rx in the “Six” position). She is starting to feel “unhinged” (Fool in the “Seven” position) and off-balance (2 of Pentacles rx in the “Eight” position). At this point her only recourse could be to seek some kind of intervention, perhaps a restraining order from the courts as shown by the King of Swords rx in the “Nine” position (but they may be hard to convince). The 10 of Cups in the “Ten” position makes me think she will come out of this emotionally whole once she puts her foot down.

The “Five, Six and Seven” quint cards are the Devil, the Sun rx and the Lovers rx, revealing that no hook-up will result from of his salacious intent. The Grand Quintessence (numerical roll-up of all ten cards) is the Empress rx, showing that she will succeed in separating herself from the situation, while the “Moon” quint – the Wheel of Fortune – is saying that his goal was a long shot in the first place. The “Sun” quint is also the Empress rx, basically insisting “Not no, but hell no.”

The “mirrored” counterpart spread was populated using the number table to create an underlying tier of cards, here broken out into a separate layout.

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It’s clear as shown by the Devil in the “Ace” position that the man has sexual manipulation in mind. Judgement in the “Two” position suggests that he’s going to see it through to the end as being his “destiny,” and the Wheel of Fortune in the “Three” position indicates that he is optimistic about his chances for success. The Ace of Swords in the “Four” position shows clearly what he is placing in front of her, and the Queen of Wands rx in the “Five” position implies that he feels she should yield graciously to his “prodding.” The Fool in the “Six” position makes me think he has no interest in a commitment, just a casual fling. With the World rx in the “Seven” position, he definitely doesn’t want to get “cornered” into more than he’s bargaining for. The Ace of Cups rx in the “Eight” position implies that he will learn to his distress that his anticipation of  carnal bliss will come to nought. The 6 of Swords in the “Nine” position gives the impression that “due process” will finish him off. The 5 of Swords in the “Ten” position looks like certain “defeat” to me.

The “Five, Six and Seven” quint cards are the Empress (his glorified vision of her), the Hanged Man rx (he’s not “going deep” any time soon) and Justice rx (the “just desserts” he’s going to get aren’t what he hoped for.) The Grand Quintessence is the Emperor, showing his hopelessly idealized image of himself (“God’s gift to women”), while the “Moon” quint is Judgement rx, indicating that he’s going to be “called to account” before too long. The Lovers rx as the “Sun” quint reiterates that there will be “no hook-up” for him.

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