This is a decision-making spread and a variant of my typical “situational awareness” approach. In this case, the decision involves whether a position being maintained or contemplated by the querent in a particular situation is in fact tenable, or whether the advisability of sustaining or pursuing it should be reconsidered. The positional meanings are self-explanatory. In addition to personal and communal advantages, it addresses both individual vulnerabilities and interactive exposures. It uses two of my favorite techniques: “hidden” cards that are dealt face-down and revealed only after an assessment of known factors has been made (acting like “wild cards” in the overall analysis), and the quintessence card, a numerical roll-up of all the cards in the spread that yields a trump card to serve as the “last word” in advice for the querent.
In most of my spreads, the use of reversals is optional; I see them as adding subtlety to the reading, but many people don’t like or use them. Here I’m stipulating that reversals should be used for two reasons: they can indicate oblique influences that may not be immediately recognizable in an overt scenario, and, more importantly, they allow the Fool to appear as the quintessence card, something that can’t happen in normal addition and reduction when using standard numerological methods. An added benefit is that it can produce a negative (or reversed) quint card, which imparts a more complex inflection to the advice in a “not everything is what it seems” sense.
A third interesting variable can be added by examining the Elemental Dignities for each three-card chain, with the “hidden” card as the focus card in each case. This can show how much weight behind-the-scenes aspects will carry in the situation. The more elementally empowered the status of the hidden card, the more potent an influence it will exert, to the point that it could rival the Quint Card in significance. It can operate as a kind of “rip tide” pulling the situation far off its present course, which in particularly toxic scenarios may not be a bad thing.