The “5 W’s + 1” Decision Spread

Those of us who went through the US school system in the middle of the 20th Century were taught the “5 W’s” as a device for writing effective narrative, both fact and fiction.

According to Wikipedia, the Five W’s are questions whose answers are considered basic in information gathering or problem solving. They are often mentioned in journalism, research, and police investigations. They constitute a formula for getting the complete story on a subject.  According to the principle of the Five W’s, a report can only be considered complete if it answers these questions starting with an interrogative word:

What happened?
Who was involved?
Where did it take place?
When did it take place?
Why did that happen?

Some authors add a sixth question, “how”, to the list, though “how” can also be covered by “what”, “when”, or “where”:

How did it happen?

Tarot is reasonably precise in answering the “What,” “Why” and “How” of a situation as it is likely to unfold; it can sometimes get a handle on “Who” (if only as a general age-and-gender flag expressed in a court card); but it is typically weak in addressing the questions of “When” and “Where.” I have specific spreads for just that purpose, but this one is a decision-making spread that attempts to roll up all of these elements in a comprehensive developmental projection.

The Five W’s + 1 Decision Spread

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