A “Road to Shambala” Self-Development Example Reading

I performed a reading to test the spread of the same name I posted a couple of days ago, using three copies of the Retro Thoth deck (and being extra-careful to keep all of the decks separate). I didn’t use reversals for the purpose of this demonstration.

In the “Who Should I become?” position I got the 4 of Wands. Aleister Crowley describes it as “. . . a solid system; Order, Law, Government,” but “one cannot establish one’s work without tact and gentleness.” The title “Completion” seems odd for the beginning of a self-improvement odyssey, but I think it means I will bring some already proven competence and refined “Venus in Aries” sensibilities to the table. I just need to hone them for a higher purpose and not take them for granted.

In the “Who Should I Avoid Becoming?” position I received the 9 of Swords, “Cruelty.” I think this one is self-explanatory, and as a fairly critical person I should take the warning about excessive mental cruelty to heart.

The “Middle Way” (or “Bias”) quintessence card was Adjustment, suggesting a judicious way to mediate between blind optimism and overly exacting criticism.

The World appeared in the “Why Should I Embrace This?” position (“this” being the 4 of Wands). It reminds me of the Jim Morrison song lyric “We want the world and we want it now!” The World represents “completion” in a more exalted way than the 4 of Wands but the principles are compatible; four is a stable, concrete number put to constructive use in the expeditious suit of Wands and the World embodies Saturnian solidity and durability. If I stay the course with vigor I will reap the rewards

The “Why Should I Avoid This?” card (referring to the 9 of Swords) was the 7 of Wands, “Valour” (extraordinary courage in the face of daunting odds), implying that if I don’t I could wind up in perpetual conflict.

The Wheel of Fortune became the “Quint” card for the World/7 of Wands combination. This is an interesting triptych, with volatile Mars energy (7 of Wands) and blunt-force Saturn energy (World) rolled up into the positive momentum of Jupiter. The advice appears to be “Don’t sweat the small stuff, just go with the flow” and all will be well.

The 10 of Disks, “Wealth,” as the “What Should I Do Right Now?” card clearly wants me to keep gaining traction in the material world in line with the promise of the 4 of Wands and the World. However, too much emphasis should not be placed on accumulation when proper utilization is more conducive to self-mastery in practical matters.

The Princess of Wands in the “What Should I Not Do Right Now?” states that I should avoid irrational enthusiasm and unpredictable behavior at this time.

This pair culminates in the World as “Quint” card; here we have three more “Earth” cards: 10 of Disks (Mercury in Virgo); Princess of Wands (Earth of Fire) and World (Saturn, ruler of Capricorn), all slightly different in their “Earth” quotient but all oriented toward the same goal: getting something tangible done. The 10 of Disks and the World rein in the inconstancy of the Princess of Wands by holding her feet to the ground.

In the “How Can I Promote Success?”position I got the 4 of Disks, the earthy complement to the fiery 4 of Wands, indicating that the two elementally-cooperative energies will work harmoniously together to reach greater heights of material fulfillment. The 4 of Disks implies a defensive strategy to go with the 4 of Wands offensive focus while the World and 10 of Disks represent the “wages of success,” such that the “Best Scenario” series makes a strong argument for business accomplishments of some kind.

The “How Can I Prevent Failure?” input presents some difficulty here with the 5 of Swords, “Defeat,” in residence. Meticulously avoiding the errors of weakness and corrosive inertia would be the best response, along with mustering the resolve to press any advantage in a contentious situation. The “Worst Scenario” series doesn’t cohere nearly as well as the Best” series, what with its disagreeably antagonistic mix of Swords and Wands, but I don’t think it will really get its claws into me because there are no Major Arcana cards here to drive the nails home.

The “Quint” card here is Lust, another positive “Bias” card (there isn’t a negative one in the bunch). I think the 5 of Swords will be thoroughly overmastered by this card of “applied solar force,” such that it will need little urging to “mind its manners.”

The “timing” card for the “When Will I Know the Best?” position and the entire “Best Scenario” chain was the 5 of Disks; all of the Fives indicate closure “Sooner Rather Than Later” although the suit of Disks will retard its arrival slightly. I don’t yet have a feel for the timing parameters for this spread, but if I had to guess I would peg it at no more than six months.

The “timing” card for the “When Will I Know the Worst?” position was the Fool, showing that delivery of the bad news will “trump” the transmission of more fortunate tidings by a substantial margin, and it may be visited upon me precipitously. I could encounter push-back almost immediately after I put the initiative in motion. The advice is to remain vigilant and don’t walk too close to the edge.

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