By-the-Numbers Crisis Management Spread


This spread captures two things I'm fond of putting into my layouts. The first is a touch of what I call the "theater of tarot;" here I place the outcome card face-down to add a little drama to the proceedings, but I also innovate by dealing this card first, beneath the Significator, as the "hidden truth" underlying the situation that eventually comes out into the open.

Secondly, I set the spread up to follow the developmental path of esoteric number theory, which holds that lower-numbered cards are closer to the "root" of their elemental power and therefore more energetically potent. This prefigures the assumption that any new endeavor starts out with high energy, enthusiasm and growth potential (Numbers 2 and 3), slows down as it stabilizes (Number 4), runs into challenges (Number 5), attempts to right itself (Number 6), goes through a "shake-out" involving trials and adjustments (Numbers 7 and 8), and "recharges" itself (or not, as the case may be) for another go (Number 9). The outcome card (what I'm calling "the Truth") can show both the "end of the matter" for the current initiative but also the opportunity for a "second chance," either within the same activity or in an entirely new direction (suggesting both Numbers 10 and 1).

ETA: I just did a test reading with this spread using the Tarot of the Sevenfold Mystery. Tomorrow we're supposed to travel to hear Rachel Pollack speak at a regional tarot group meeting, but we're facing a major snowstorm overnight that could leave up to 12" here. I asked what the situation looks like for making that trip.

I chose the Empress as significator since it's in the hands of Mother Nature whether we will be able to go. I drew the "truth" card from the bottom of the deck ("shadow card"), and used reversals.

Cards #2 and #3 were Prudence (the World) and the Lady (Page) of Cups. I felt that these are showing the satisfaction and pleasure we would get out of the experience if we're able to go.

Card #4 was Sibyl (High Priestess), telling me that the forecast is "up in the air" right now.

Card #5 was the Lady (Page) of Swords, suggesting that there isn't much comfort in the present outlook (the thought "cold comfort" crossed my mind).

Cards #6 and #7 were the 2 of Pentacles rx and the 8 of Pentacles rx; it looks like nothing is going to change and we will be under a heavy burden of labor to "dig ourselves out."

Card #8 was the Hanged Man, clearly showing that we're going to be "stuck." It might also mean we will be stuck somewhere along the road if we attempt it.

Card #7 was the King of Swords, which looks like me having to make a "command decision" when the time comes.

Card #1, the underlying "truth," was the 7 of Wands, indicating the long odds we're facing in this situation.

The Empress is elementally friendly with everything except the Lady and King of Swords, so it will probably come down to a "judgment call."


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