A “Personal Encounter” Test Reading

I’m always looking for opportunities to test and validate my self-created spreads, and today I had an opportunity to do so with my “Inconvenient Truths” Personal Encounter Spread. We have friends who are going through an acrimonious divorce, and were looking for some hint of how things might go. I used Robert Place’s Tarot of the Sevenfold Mystery, with reversals. In the terminology of the spread, “Me” refers to the woman in the situation, while “X” refers to the man.

All images copyright Robert M. Place, Hermes Publications


The top row of the spread shows the man’s circumstances, the bottom row indicates the woman’s position. The seventh card (middle of the right-hand column) is the “outcome” card, although in this case I drew an eighth card to provide more of a sense of closure. At the foot of the column is the “base” card, drawn from the bottom of the deck and describing hidden factors that may be at work in the matter. At the head of the column I placed a “quint” card calculated from the first six “encounter” cards that shows the “big picture” perspective in the confrontation.

The first card for the man, in the “What Does ‘X’ Want?” position, is the King of Swords: he wants his own way in no uncertain terms, and has no intention of compromising.

The first card for the woman, in the “What’s In It for Her?” position, is the Hermit: her reward will be her freedom from entanglement and the ability to set her own course.

The two “action” cards in the middle of the “encounter” rows, Hierophant reversed for him and 5 of Pentacles reversed for her,  are an interesting pair. They show that both parties will try to “cry poor” to the court, but he has multiple streams of income from conventional sources (military and commercial pensions, Social Security, disability benefits, class-action payouts, etc.) while all she has is her half of the house and a small Social Security stipend. It looks like she has a better chance of convincing the judge of her need.

As far as the cost to each of them, he will come away emotionally diminished and displeased with the proceedings (8 of Cups reversed), while she will have to swallow her pride (6 of Wands) and perhaps give up part – but not all – of something that she was counting on.

The outcome card was the Chariot, which as a joint future card shows jockeying for position but no clear “winner” (although it might mean a split decision that gives each one a fair share in the eyes of the court). The “base” card was the Wheel of Fortune reversed, making me think that judgment will be delayed as the result of legal maneuvering. The “big picture” card was Justice, the card of “just desserts.” Place’s versions shows Justice and Reason conferring; the mounted knight holds the superior position but bears only a shield and no visible sword, while the woman carries a large two-handed sword. The implication is that the man’s defense will be inadequate to resist the woman’s well-reasoned offense. Simple logic will win out over the intricacies of complex legal argument.

The extended outcome card was the Lady of Pentacles. While the Queen would have been a more remunerative card here, I think the lower-ranking Lady will receive an adequate dispensation from the court.

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