"High Road/Low Road" Major Dilemma Spread


This spread is designed for querents who are facing a major dilemma with no ideal solution in sight (the "damned if you do and damned if you don't" scenario), and don't know which way to turn. It uses two decks: Deck #1 is a "prepared" deck - separated into randomized "Majors," "Courts" and "Minors" packs - that is used to populate the horizontal axis of the spread. Deck #2 is shuffled together as usual and is used to populate the ascending and descending semi-arcs (the "horns of the dilemma"). Each of these 3-card trains is then used to derive a "quintessence" card that speaks to the final state of the matter.

The horizontal line represents the dilemma itself; the cards are intended to answer "Why has it come to this?" (the Trump card drawn from Deck #1); "Who can I count on?" or, alternatively, "Who should I distrust?" (the Court card drawn from Deck #1) and "How should I manage the situation?" (the Minor card drawn from Deck #1). The "quint" card at the end of the line addresses "What's coming my way?"

The ascending semi-arc (the "High Road") shows the best-case scenario if the querent adheres to "right action" and proceeds in good faith. The descending semi-arc (the "Low Road") represents the worst-case scenario if the querent succumbs to the temptation to be less open and honest.

I would work this spread by first drawing the Trump card from Deck #1, then the "Best Hope" and "Worst Fear" cards from Deck #2. I would read the Elemental Dignities for this triplet with the Trump as the focus card, to see whether the reasons it indicates are fairly stated or distorted (showing either a "rose-colored glasses" or a "persecution complex" tendency). I would then draw the Court card from Deck #1 and the best and worst "Advice" cards from Deck #2, and read the Elemental Dignities for that set to see if the person it describes is likely to offer or withhold constructive support and give clear or confusing (and possibly misleading) counsel. Next I would draw the Minor card from Deck #1 and the best and worst "Action" cards from Deck #2, and read the Elemental Dignities to determine whether the querent is in a strong position to confront the situation or is challenged to mount an effective initiative on his or her own behalf.

The next step would be to derive the three "quint" cards from the main stem and the two side branches of the spread. The "sub-quints" show the best and worst possible outcome of the situation according to the choices made by the querent. The main "quint" expresses the overall outlook for successfully avoiding disaster. The Elemental Dignities for this triplet will show whether the outlook is biased either favorably or unfavorably by extenuating circumstances arising from the querent's coping actions.

Once this groundwork is laid, the spread can be read as three interlocking chains ("What if I do this? What if I do that? Where will I end up?") that show how the querent's experience of the dilemma is likely to play out.


  • Major Dilemma Spread.pdf
    17.1 KB · Views: 271


Thank you so much for this spread; I am facing a difficult situation and this will help me. I will try it tonight.