The Sentinel's Spread.


Hello everyone,
I've devised a large and somewhat complex spread intended to take stock of your current position in life.

Here's a link to the complete description on my blog:

Cards 1-3: The Watchtower.

1: This card represents the foundation of the tower. This card represents your innate understanding of the world and your place in it.

2: This card represents the body of the tower. How have you built upon your foundation of knowledge?

3: This card represents the platform upon which you stand. What is your current perspective?

Card 4: The Sentinel, placed on top of the Tower stack. This is where you place your significator. You can choose one prior to laying out the other cards, or you can choose one at random.

Cards 5-8: The Defenses, placed left to right in front of the tower. These cards can represent a couple things. They can be seen as the four walls of your fortress; they can be elements at your disposal, to use against whatever dangers may be approaching. Whatever these cards represent to you, they are in the vicinity of your tower, not far off in the distance like the next cards (watch out for dangers here which may have escaped your watch in the past).

Cards 9-12: the Cardinal Directions. Placed from left to right around the cards already laid, these cards represent the horizon.

9: East. Associated with the element of Air and the suit of Swords.

10: South. Element of Fire and suit of Wands.

11: West. Element of Water and suit of Cups.

12: North. Element of Earth and suit of Coins.

These are the cards that show what's in the distance (metaphorically speaking); they may or may not correspond to cards 5-8. You're the Sentinel; it's your job to perceive if these are friendly, neutral, or hostile forces. Are they approaching? Retreating? Or are they just passing by? What do they indicate is on your horizon? Once you've placed cards 9-12, you can either consider yourself finished and move on to the final card, or you can add more cards to the horizon to help clarify the situation. I wouldn't recommend more than a total of three cards in each direction, or a total of 12 cards on the horizon.

Should you decide to place more cards, they should be added one at a time to each spot, in the order that the directions were placed. In other words, cards 9, 13, and 17 go in the East; 10, 14, and 18 in the South; 11, 15, and 19 in the West; and 12, 16, and 20 in the North.

The Final Card: The Alarm. This card is placed directly behind the significator as a general conclusion to the whole spread. Given the state of your fortress and what you can see on the horizon, what is the best course of action to take? The message this card holds should be carefully considered both by itself and in conjunction with the entire spread.

Keep an open mind when using this spread. The basic idea is just a metaphor for standing on an elevated platform, and you're keeping watch. Maybe you know what you're looking for, like a signal from a Scout, or the return of a messenger or questing Knight Errant. Maybe you don't know what you're looking for, but you want to keep an eye out anyway for whatever the winds of fortune might be blowing your way.


Oooohh, this is a spread I could really spend some time with! I'm especially interested in your suggestion of using only the Major Arcana to find out how the archetypes are operating in my life, and which of the archetypal energies are missing. LOVE that idea! I copied this into my journal to work on later. If I have a chance to work on it anytime soon, I'll let you know how it goes. :)


I like the look of this and as a newbie there's an awful lot of cards to interpret but I can spend a few days with a pad and paper looking more deeply into the cards. If I manage it I'll let you know how I do.


I hope you guys like it. It certainly does take some time to interpret, but that's kind of the point. I was going for a very in-depth approach to looking at my current position in life, including my strengths and weaknesses, as well as what may be in store for me.

If you feel overwhelmed by the number of cards, you don't have to use all of them. The 12 cards I call "Horizon Cards" can be reduced to four for simplicity.

Thanks for checking it out!


Very interesting spread Herodotus! I'm also enjoying reading articles on your blog.


Thank you!


Hi Herodotus, you have a PM :)