“Roll Them Bones” Situational Awareness Spread

Here I’m having some more fun with dice and cards in collaboration. The dice are used to narrow down the card possibilities for each position. The idea is to “roll the bones” until you arrive at a number that fits within the range for the position, and then remove the four minor or court cards of that number from the deck, shuffle them and pull a single card to populate the position. (As an alternative, numerological reduction can be used where needed; personally, I just keep rolling the dice in most cases until I succeed.) The trump cards follow a slightly different selection method. Reversals can be used with this spread to add subtlety to the narrative, and two decks may be needed to accommodate a duplicate trump card appearing as both Card #4 and the Quint card.

Roll Them Bones Spread.JPG


I had to make some design decisions regarding this spread because the number of spots on the dice doesn’t align well with the numerical arrangement of the cards. For example, a single die-roll can only select the minor cards Ace through Six, while it takes two dice to obtain Seven through Ten. Because challenging situations often develop in a deceptively simple way, I chose to view Ace through Six as describing the “beginning of the matter” (the “What?” of the reading), and Seven through Ten as revealing the “heart of the matter” (the “Why?” of the situation), splitting the series into single and double dice-rolls. To arrive at a representative card of a specific suit, all four of the cards of the designated number are shuffled together and one is pulled to populate the position.

For the court cards, I use three dice to reach a number between Eleven and Fourteen (Page through King), and the roll continues until one of those values is produced. Then the four court cards of that rank are shuffled together and one is pulled to denote an individual who may either help or hurt the querent’s cause. If the context of the reading doesn’t offer an opportunity for external intervention, the card can show an attitude or behavior of the querent that could result in the same consequences.

Four dice are rolled to identify a trump card that shows broader aspects of the matter, or issues that may significantly impact its outcome. If a “22,” “23” or “24” is rolled, numerological reduction may be used to get within 21, or the roll can be continued until a valid number results. Because the lowest possible number of spots is Four, this step can only yield the Emperor through the World, so I anticipate that this position will show “outer” or more concrete influences that are driving the matter forward. Numerological reduction of any number over Nine can be used to achieve One, Two or Three as an “inner” or underlying root cause in the matter; in such cases, the two trump cards are read as a pair.

The quintessence or “quint” provides a roll-up summary of the other four positions in the form of a derived trump card to reveal how the matter will end. This is obtained by adding the numerical values of the four cards and reducing as necessary to get to a number of 21 or less, which  indicates the pertinent trump. Reversed-card values can be subtracted from the calculation instead of added, which can result in the Fool as quint (something that is not achievable by normal addition and reduction), or even a reversed (negative-numbered) quint.

4 thoughts on ““Roll Them Bones” Situational Awareness Spread

  1. This sounds really interesting! My son has loads of dice of different numbers of sides like 10 sided or 4 sided because he plays dungeons and dragons. It feels like the options could be endless. I’m tempted to try this soon. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Stepping Back: A “Roll Them Bones” Situational-Awareness Reading | Parsifal's Wheel Tarot & Astrology

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s