Rosetta Stoned

Does anyone here practice the first operation of the Opening of the Key?


I figured I would revive this thread since I have a question about the OOTK spread. I use the first step of the first operation regularly (cut into four packs, find the significator, and tell the querent what area of life the reading will focus on). I don't use the rest of the operation much (counting and pairing to make "stories"), and I've always had a question about the description of this in the Book of Thoth.

Let's say the significator is the Queen of Swords facing to the right. I count four cards from (and including) the significator to the right and make a story about the beginning of the matter. So far, so good. Then I'm to pair the cards on either side of the significator, then the two cards outside of those, and so on to make another story.

My question is, do I only work outward until I reach the card that the count ended with (that would mean a group of three cards to the right of the significator and three to the left in this example), or do I go all the way to the ends of the pack containing the significator? The former seems more manageable, but I'm not clear on what was intended.


Been working with this spread daily for a while now, and can I just say how AWESOME it is! - especially for timelines, cause and effect, interrelationships and more :cool2:

Barleywine- you've probably worked this out in the 3 years since you posted!... but in case not, start at the bottom ends of the horseshoe in pairs.

What's truely fascinating about the 1st Operation is how you can use multiple significators and observe how they end up in different piles, or not. And then you can read the same 'horseshoe' starting from different people's significators for a totally different perspective on the same spread.

I read it from the first significator, pulling the 'landed on' cards into an inner horseshoe, then make another outer layer for subsequent significators, turning any 'in common' cards sideways.


The version I've adapted for my own use, if anyone is interested...

I've probably made some errors, in which case I'm sure GD officionados will appear immediately to correct me :joke:

1). This spread works most easily with Thoth or a GD deck, because they have the zodiac, planetary and Mother Letters already written on the cards, but I've also used a Visconti Sforza which I wrote the symbols on!

But if you don't have Thoth or GD and don't want to write on your deck then you need to know that the majors are going to be counted like this-

0, 12, 20 - count 3 (Mother Letters)
1,2,3,10,16,19,21 - count 9 (Planets/double letters plus lunar nodes.
4,5,6,7,8,9,11,13,14,15,17,18 - count 12 (zodiacal signs)

And while I'm writing lists,

Aces- count 5 (4 elements+ spirit)
Princesses- count 7 (palaces of Malkuth)
Kings Queens Princes - count 4 (letters of Tetragrammaton)
2s-10s - count the number on the card (sephirah)

The GD system says to pick a significator according to your gender and appearance, or the court which rules your sun sign... but I add the Unicursal Hexigram card to the pack and use the court card which is nearest the blue/green points. [The court under it when you're looking through piles in a minute]. This means the spread will pick a suitable significator for you and/or the question.

If using RWS then I use the court which is nearest to the Fool, on the side he's walking towards.

3). Shuffle cards. Think of your question.

4). Place pile on table face down. Imagine 4 piles in row- ABCD.
Place pack in pile A. Cut roughly in half, place top pile in C. Now cut A again, putting roughly half into B, and C again, putting half into D.

Now turn the piles face up.

GD allocate each pile to-

A - Pentacles/discs
B - Swords
C - Cups
D - Wands/batons

Take each pile in turn and locate the significator, but preserve the order of cards. Is the significator in the pile associated with the question? Or not? Are any of the top cards in agreement with the GD pile allocation? Using Elemental Dignities here is the way to read the 4 top cards, it shows the direction the reading will take.

3) Take the pile which contains your located significator. [Put the other piles away, unless a second person's significator is in another pile, and you intend to read that pile too]. Useful for couples readings.

4) Starting with top card face up, lay it to your left and form the cards, in order they are stacked, into a horseshoe shape so the final card is on your right.

Starting at your significator (counting it as the first count -that's also why aces don't count 1!!) count the cards according to those lists I wrote at the top. Then when you eventually after a few (or a lot) of cards, return to a card you have 'landed on' before, the reading is finished. In this way, the spread takes itself for a walk though some of the cards, which you interpret as you go.

If starting from a Queen or Princess, head to the right with your counting, and head left if starting at a Male court card. Or if using a RWS deck head in the direction the card is facing.

Tip- I like to pull 'landed on' cards down slightly into a inner horseshoe, so I remember if they've been landed on before.

You could theoretically form the cards into a circle if you don't intend to do the next step...

5). Then you interpret the cards in pairs, starting from opposite side working inwards.


Thank you earthair. I´ll add this one to our Tarot Spreads Index.