The “Friend or Foe” Two-Deck Comparison Spread

We’re all familiar with the “new deck interview” technique, in which questions are put to a newly-acquired deck by running it through a special spread created for that purpose. The idea is to determine how effective the deck will be to read with. But I have never seen a spread designed to compare the degree of cooperation that can be expected between two decks that are intended for use in dual-deck readings. So here it is.

The method involves pulling four cards from each of two decks and laying then in vertical columns to left (Deck #1) and right (Deck #2), in descending order from the Wands position to the Disks position. Each position represents a particular functional quality of the deck associated with that suit: Wands are vigor, Cups are empathy, Swords are expressiveness and Disks are reliability.

Once the cards are laid out, the fun begins. Using the table attached to the diagram, find out which card lies at the midpoint between the card pulled from Deck #1 and that from Deck #2 in each row, and place it in the position shown. (These cards can come from either deck or from a third deck if necessary.)  This card will show the “common ground” between the two cards, where their respective energies will come together in the most seamless fashion, which may or may not be a helpful alignment for reading purposes.

The next step involves deriving the “quintessence” card from the numerical values of each original pair. There are a number of ways to do this; use the one you are most familiar with. Do this for each row and place the cards in the positions shown. This produces four Major Arcana cards that show the highest possible expression of the combined energies of the two cards in each of the four categories. (Note that it may be necessary to take these cards from a third or even a fourth deck).

Compare the outer pairs first for relative “friendliness” as an indicator of anticipated cooperation; the traditional meaning of each card along with their various correspondences (numerological, astrological, etc.) and the elemental dignities between them can all be brought into the analysis. This multi-tiered comparison will form the  backbone of the judgment on expected functional cohesiveness between the two decks when used in tandem. The midpoint cards will reflect the nature of their routine interaction in each area, and the quint cards will highlight the most exalted form of expression that can be expected from their teamwork. (Once again, “exalted” may not mean conducive to easy application of that energy, cases in point being the Tower and the Devil.)

The composite profile obtained from these considerations should provide a useful overview of the level and character of any cooperative (or uncooperative) spirit shared by the two decks when they are brought together in a reading.

One thought on “The “Friend or Foe” Two-Deck Comparison Spread

  1. Pingback: A Tarot de Marseille Two-Deck Comparison Reading | Parsifal's Wheel Tarot & Astrology

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