Fortuna’s Spiral: A “Make-Your-Own-Luck” Spread

I find inspiration for new spreads in some unusual places. While reading a long dissertation by C.S. Lewis on De Consolatione Philosophiae by 6th-Century Roman statesman/philospher Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius, I encountered a passage contrasting “Fortune” (here called “Providence”) and “Destiny” (or “Fate”):

“That which ‘in the citadel of the divine simplicity’ is Providence, when seen from below, mirrored in the multiplicity of time and space, is Destiny. And as in a wheel the nearer we get to the center the less motion we find, so every finite being, in proportion as he comes nearer to participating in the Divine (unmoving) Nature, becomes less subject to Destiny, which is merely a moving image of eternal Providence. That Providence is wholly good. We say that the wicked flourish and the innocent suffer. But we do not know who are the wicked and who are the innocent; still less what either need. All luck, seen from the centre, is good and medicinal. The sort we call ‘bad’ exercises good men and curbs bad ones – if they will take it so. Thus, if only you are near the hub, if you participate in Providence more and suffer Destiny less, ‘it lies in your own hands to make your fortune what you please.’ Or, as Spenser turns this passage, ‘each unto himself his life may fortunize.”

Recasting this in tarot terms, just as it has been said “There are no bad cards, only necessary ones,” we might add that there is no “bad” luck, only “medicinal” necessity and opportunity, and those often result from something we set ourselves up for through our prior actions or assumptions. I’m reminded of Aleister Crowley’s observation “All such things are right if rightly received.”

At heart this is a nuanced “yes-or-no” spread that admits the operation of probability in our lives. Divination is a matter of tendencies, propensities and trends, not certainties, and we like to say that “nothing is carved in stone” such that our remedial actions can’t alter the course of forthcoming circumstances or events. This spread, while making a nod toward chance, uses the “quintessence” technique to suggest what those actions might entail.

Fortuna's Spiral Spread.JPG

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