“I Smell A Rat” – A Problem-Solving Spread

Everyone knows that the Devil can be a perfidious fellow (what The Eagles once called a “cru-el dude”). Here I cast him as the proverbial “rat” in the classic “I smell a rat” trouble-is-brewing scenario. A key feature of this spread is that the Rat may not appear exactly where the Querent suspects he is going to; there is some latitude for devious redirection of the forces at work in the matter. (For example, you may think your problem lies with your boss but it really stems from something in your home environment that you’re in denial about.) Where he lands marks the crux of the Querent’s premonition, whether or not accurately assumed in advance. (The “exposure” positions can be renamed as necessary to fit the situation.) The guidance on the spread display needs no further amplification. However, it may be useful to read the series “Situation – Rat – Exposure – Advice Cards” (including the Rat’s modifiers) as a branching decision tree showing the best way to tackle the anticipated dilemma. I also see possibilities for using other challenging cards as the agent provocateur in the “Rat” position, but I would want to come up with a more trenchant euphemism; “Blow-up” might be a good one for The Tower where the situation seems to be on a collision course with major upset, “The Verdict” for Justice when one’s “just desserts” are due, or”Wake-up Call” for Judgement when an ultimatum may be approaching.

The I Smell A Rat Spread.JPG


5 thoughts on ““I Smell A Rat” – A Problem-Solving Spread

  1. I know I can be a bit thick at times but I’m hoping you will have patience with me.
    So you deal the cards clockwise face up until the devil appears. What do do you with the remainder of the deck? You said to deal the remaining cards in that row and the advice cards. Do you deal the remaining cards in to the “exposure” piles clockwise? Or perhaps alternating only on that axis (self/social, work/home)? Or do you mean you lay out the rest of the cards in a row only for that area (e.g. all the cards next to “work”)? When do you lay down the advice cards? I know to read them last though

    Liked by 1 person

    • It works this way: you deal the cards clockwise starting from the position that you (or the sitter) think is the trouble spot. You keep going around until the Devil appears. Any cards that are under the Devil are read as background information. Then you deal one more card (note that it says “card,” not “cards”) into the “exposure” position of the Devil’s row to show where the vulnerability lies. Finally, the two “Advice” cards are dealt face down. So you deal only three more cards from the top of the deck after the Devil appears. I don’t use clarifiers, but someone who tried the spread dealt three clarifiers into the exposure position instead of one. You could try that too, dealing them before the Advice cards.


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