A “Three-Ring Circus” Business Health Reading

To test this spread, I performed a reading on the corporate health of a relative’s employer. I used the Retro Thoth deck with its court-card hierarchy of Princess, Prince, Queen and Knight.

The Functional Effectiveness row includes the 10 of Wands reversed; the 3 of Disks; the 2 of Disks reversed; the 3 of Wands reversed and the 10 of Cups reversed. Overall proficiency and fitness seem to be somewhat lackluster.

Staff Skill – 10 of Wands reversed: It looks like the production staff is operating at the peak of their capabilities (“firing on all cylinders”) but are beginning to show fatigue due to the oppressive schedule. I recently added a couple of keywords for this card – Disengagement and Cessation of Effort – so I’m wondering whether they might start losing employees.

Process Health – 3 of Disks: The title of this card – “Work” – is a good indicator that the processes and methods in use are well-suited to the tasks involved, although perhaps a bit technologically outmoded.

Plant Health – 2 of Disks reversed: The physical health of the plant infrastructure appears to be a mixed bag; some of the equipment is new, some is old. Perhaps they are in the middle of transitioning to a newer technology.

Financial Health – 3 of Wands reversed: It’s possible that the company is “maxed out” on its line of credit; this card reversed makes me think they could be “running in the red” or close to it.

Production Capacity – 10 of Cups reversed: they may very well be “under water” as far as keeping up with demand.

The Operational/Tactical Effectiveness row includes the Queen of Cups; the Knight of Wands and the Prince of Wands reversed. Since I don’t know anything about the middle-management team, I’m going to treat this as a combined function rather than as individual contributors.

The Queen of Cups and the Knight of Wands suggest that the “old guard” is a good balance of “cool, calm and collected” professionalism and “hot-shot” enthusiasm, but the younger members of the team are still flailing about and the Knight of Wands has his back turned toward them; this management arrangement may not endure for long. The Knight of Wands has a direct line to the Chief Executive (Lust/Strength) so he may be something of a “favorite son” who has the boss’s steadfast support and trust.

The Strategic Effectiveness row includes The Universe; Lust and the Lovers reversed.

Business Climate – The Universe: This card implies a robust international market, and in fact the company has European and Eurasian branches. The Universe in this context reminds me of the line from The Merry Wives of Windsor: “The world is mine oyster,” and the Chief Executive seems poised to crack it open as long as he takes the long view and doesn’t get too hasty (which brings us to the next card).

Executive Style – Lust (Strength): This is one of two “solar” cards among the Major Arcana. The solar energy in the Sun card itself shines equally and impartially upon all, but Lust is a card of “applied solar force;” it corresponds to the resolute sign of Leo, and its action is directed and purposeful. This executive would seem to know exactly what he wants and has the horsepower to successfully pursue it; but he may be a bit too cocky and risk overplaying his hand.

External Mandates – The Lovers reversed: This position covers all external stakeholders, such as banks, Wall Street and higher-tier corporate owners. The Lovers – a card of important decisions and choices – is reversed, suggesting that the “jury is out” among those interested parties whether to go “all in” with the executive’s ambitious plans.

Overall Management Strength (Quintessence Card) – The Hierophant: This card indicates that company management structure may be too “hidebound” and not nimble enough to satisfy the needs of a sophisticated clientele that wants more out of it in the way of responsiveness and output. The Hierophant implies the justification “We’ve always done it this way.” (It also may reflect the company’s devoutly Christian corporate culture.) Note that I subtract reversed-card values during the “quint” calculation, which brought me to 41, or 4+1 = 5, The Hierophant.

Verdict: If I were an investor, I would most likely have some concern about lack of management agility and very tight production margins. If I were a potential customer, I might be impressed with the executive’s drive and vision, but a brief walk through the production facility could ultimately convince me to back away. If I were advising a client, I would tell them to tread cautiously and don’t tell any off-color jokes.

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