A 3-Card “Twist” Example Reading & Walk-through

I tried out this spread by asking “What is the advice for tomorrow?” The first picture below shows how the draw progressed within the overall pattern. I didn’t deal all of the face-down cards, just the three face-up ones, but I thought it would be useful to put in placeholders showing the flow of the cards in the “big picture.” The advantage of this spread isn’t in the ordinary three-card series but in the method of placement and how the direction of movement influences the reading.

All images copyright U.S. Games Systems, Inc, Stamford, CT

I drew the Ace of Cups upright as the “trigger” card. This card doesn’t have a head-to-toe figure on it but the hand holding the chalice has a “directional bias” toward the left.


Accordingly, I placed the next (“focus”) card in the “Card #2 Left” position in relation to Card #1. It was the 10 of Pentacles upright. Although this card contains several figures, it has no clear directional bias. The old man and child are looking to the right, the woman and dogs are looking left, and the younger man has his back to the viewer. Although the postures of the woman and child contradict their gaze (a frequent motif in the RWS), they effectively cancel one another out. The Tree of Life array of pentacles is static, although the archway opens to the right; while I might have interpreted that last feature as dictating a rightward flow, I decided that the card has too many cross-currents to be definitive. But if I had done so, the reading would have become a two-card affair, with the 10 of Pentacles as the “effect” card and the Ace of Cups as the “cause;” the interpretation would not have been appreciably different, except that there would be no “action” phase and my stalled project (see below) would not have figured as prominently in it.


Consequently, because the 10 of Pentacles was non-directional and upright, I placed the next card directly above it in the “Card #3 Left/Up” position. It was the 2 of Wands reversed as the “consequences” of my action (or in this case, inaction).


The flow of the cards was leftward and up, indicating that I should approach the day in a thoughtful and optimistic manner.

The Ace of Cups suggests an emotionally charged day ahead. (The Thoth version of this card reminds me of a water balloon splatting on a pavement.) However, as Aces usually convey, it will most likely be long on promise and short on reward. At the very least I should be in an upbeat mood. Oh, and my young granddaughter is coming over for the day, and that’s always gratifying.

The 10 of Pentacles says “Stay at home and take care of domestic affairs and family” (so what else is new?). I’m close to finishing the major portion of a home renovation project but I’m lacking a single piece of trim board I need to get it done. I typically stay home when my granddaughter visits, so there is that to persuade me.

The 2 of Wands reversed as the “twist” in the reading is telling me I most likely won’t be able to move ahead with my project tomorrow. This is a card of hesitation when upright, and reversal attenuates the indecision and inertia. It may very well rain anyway and I won’t be able to transport materials.

Elementally, the “focus” card (10 of Pentacles) is friendly with the Ace of Cups (Earth and Water) and on cordial terms (“neutral and supportive” in Golden Dawn language) with the 2 of Wands (Earth and Fire). The recommendation  to stay home feels like a correct call to me.

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