Due to the heavy content nature of this reading I rarely use this method in face to face readings.
This spread is excellent for querents who have not given you many specifics to work with and want a general all over reading.
To perform this method of divination I use the following items.
A rosary, a wine glass of water to which kananga water has been added and a white candle
A deck of tarot cards (with tarot I only ever use the Rider Waite Deck or the Tarot of Marseilles but you go with whats right for you.)
First I pray on the rosary, asking God for a blessing, I then light the candle next to the glass water and perform a small secret ritual to invoke the spirits of the Ancestors calling them to come forward and help me divine.
If you honour your ancestral spirits then you too can pray to them to help you with your reading, if not call upon whatever divinatory spirit you have a relationship with.
If you do not get on with spirits, then just light a candle (if you want) and ask either your God(s), your higher self, guardian angel or whatever to help you see clearly what you need to see.
I then take the cards and give them a good shuffle, concentrating heavily on the querent and his problem.
I then lay them out in 3 rows of seven, 21 cards in all.
This particular spread is called "the gypsy spread", it is quite a difficult spread to use and requires some practice.
If you are starting out in tarot you can practice the trimmed down 9 card version of this that I gave in an earlier blog post until you feel confident.
There are two different ways to read this spread, it can be read from right to left, or it can be read left to right. I read it left to right.
The cards along the top row are called the "crowns"
The cards in the middle row are "stations"
And the cards along the bottom row I like to call "roots"
The cards are read in columns, each column consisting of a crown, station and a root. There are 7 columns in all, the columns, from left to right, represent:
Obstacles and solutions within the querents power.
What the querent hopes for and what he fears.
The querents home, friends and family
Destiny, the ultimate outcome that is fated and cannot change.
This however is just my way of interpreting the columns, other readers use other methods, if you don't like it, feel free to change it and see what works best for you.
The station within the column gives the primary meaning to the column, the crown colours this meaning and the root demonstrates where it has come from, adding depth.
Here is a spread I have laid out for someone I used to know, he shall remain anonymous:
21 card gypsy spread.
In the above spread, if we look at the first column we see the moon in station, crowned by the 3 swords with its roots in the 7 of cups.
This is a very bad omen, this column says: in the past the querent has suffered from depression brought about by either drink or drug abuse.
The Moon represents mental illness, because it is crowned by the 3 of swords which represents unhappiness then the mental illness comes in the form of depression.
Because the 7 of cups can represent substance abuse and lies in the roots, we deduce that the depression came about because of substance abuse.
We then proceed to go through each column.
In the second column representing the present we have The Magician in station, crowned by Death with Judgement in root.
The Magician = One who facilitates change in the world around them.
Death = Drastic change, an ending but also a new beginning.
Judgement = Decision, criticism and responsibility.
With these cards we can read: at present the querent has taken control of their life making great changes born from harsh self criticism of their past.
It should be noted by the diviner that the prevalence of major arcana cards in this column shows this column is of particular significance, what is happening in the present is a major event in the querents life.
Column 3, the future, 10 of wands in station, crowned by Strength with the 5 of cups in root.
The querent will find the future difficult, during dark days losses and regrets from a dark past will come to haunt him, however although the burden is heavy he continues to move forward as he has determination and has an iron constitution.
And so on.....
So putting all the columns together already we have quite a good narrative building up.
Now we need to look at additional information given by the cards.
First we look at where the major arcana has landed in the spread.
A major arcana sits in the very centre of the reading, this sets the whole tone for the spread, the card is The Star, this means the overall theme of the reading is one of hope and a need for guidance for the querent to navigate life.
We see which columns they land in, this will give us insight to the most important areas of his life.
The column with the most major arcana in it is the one representing the present, meaning the present is of the utmost importance, we have already deciphered its meaning (see above).
His past, future, hope and fears and destiny all feature major arcana cards and therefore are the columns deserving the most attention when building a base to lay on specifics for the meaning.
Then we look at which major arcana land in the rows, this gives us insight into the querent himself:
Death and Strength.
Crowns determine ideals, aspiration, mode of thought, subconscious thought etc
Here we can decipher the querent is a determined person who holds change in his life to be an ideal that should be strived for.
The Moon, The Magician, The Star and The Lovers.
Stations are core tangible themes, very real and present.
Here we see the querent is lonely, carrying much baggage and sadness yet he is an optimist and has the ability to not only recognise change must start within himself but also recognises he has the power to facilitate that change.
The roots represent the origins of the stations, the driving force behind them, what has brought them into being and the reasons for it, since there is only one major arcana in the roots.
This indicates criticism, decisions and responsibility are key driving forces within the the querents life.
Secondly, we look at repeating pips and courts throughout the spread:
In this spread we have 3 lots of pairs.
We have a pair of 5s.
The querent should be wary of unexpected U turns and back pedaling at unexpected times.
A pair of 9s.
Minimum wage or small profit in business, but profit and money none the less.
And a pair of queens.
Trustworthy friends are in the querents company even though the querent does not realise it.
The balance of suits present in the spread is another thing we can look at to give us clues.
In this querents spread there are no coins whatsoever.
Meaning: finance, commerce, business, property, legality, education and bearacracy are not current themes of concern, influence or importance in the querents life at the moment.
Swords are present, however the balance of suits tips quite heavily towards cups and staffs.
This means the querent is going through a deeply emotional time with no real catalyst other than himself to bring this upheaval about.
A heavily prevalence of staffs combined with cups in a male querents spread can also point towards effeminancy, passive agression and selfishness, on a more positive note it can also indicate artistic tendancies, creativity, emotional sensitivity and sensuality.
The over all suit balance of this spread at first glance suggests the querent is an emotionally sensitive person and does not communicate verbally well with others, he can be somewhat of a dreamer, a moody person and a loner. He is however passionate and interesting, possibly with talents or interests in expressive art forms, he veers more towards the impractical, may have some tendancies toward immaturity when it comes to day to day activities.
We already have quite a bit of information building up here and are starting to get a core narrative of which to work with, yet in this early stage it is still all very vague.
As more comes out the longer we read the cards, the more we can play the interpretations off against each other and develop some specifics.
Still, its about to get more complicated, in part 2 of this post I'm going to cast the bones on the cards and then put the whole thing together to give you an idea of what a half decent professional reading should look like.
To be continued...