Taking the Trumps for a Spin

I’m always looking for new learning approaches to improve my grasp of tarot card combinations. With a couple of million possible permutations of ten cards out of a total of 78, my regular use of the Celtic Cross isn’t going to cover all of them any time soon, and working through them methodically from beginning-to-end is both boring and exhausting. I decided to try a more imaginative approach that uses both a random draw and a board-game spinner (be sure to find one that rotates freely) to select which cards to juxtapose for the exercise.

First I separated the trump cards from the deck and shuffled them, then randomly pulled one as the focus card for the rest of the spread. Leaving the trumps aside, I shuffled the remainder of the deck and dealt eight cards face-down in a circle counterclockwise around the central trump card, starting at the 9:00 o’clock position; I chose not to use reversals with this method. Next I placed a transparent board-game spinner on top of the trump card and gave it a spin.

I removed the card that the pointer landed on from the circle and placed it face-down at the beginning of a row to one side of the main spread. Then I filled its empty spot with another card from the top of the deck without reshuffling. I ticked the spinner again and removed the next chosen card from the pattern, placing it face-down to the right of the first one in the separate row. I then filled its vacancy with another card from the top of the deck.

I repeated the spinner step, removing and replacing the selected card, until I had a row of four cards off to the side. I gathered up these cards without revealing them, added the trump card (also face-down), shuffled the group and then dealt a five-card row face-up to be read as the trump-card’s “story” for that moment in time. Consider it a kind of “man on the street” interview like those dialogues that roving news reporters used to conduct for the “public interest” segments of their shows. This technique can be used to populate a spread of any size, with the understanding that the random trump card will always appear somewhere in the reading, slanting it in that direction. (Since it’s original selection was arbitrary, this seems acceptable to me as an elaboration of its purpose, placing it “in context,” so to speak.) Here is a visual record of the process in action. In this 5-card line, Judgement seems to be saying “Stand by! Your ship is going to come in.”

Preliminary Set-up:

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Steps 1 through 5:

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