The “Anatomy of Affirmation” Self-Actualization Spread and Example Reading

I created a self-actualization spread for rational/emotional self-work that uses a pre-selected trump card as its focus, and the idea of contrasting “hard” (rational) and “soft” (emotional) approaches with Elemental Dignities as the main determinant. I also included a tenth card under the middle “Full Face” position and called it “The Back of the Head” to show “Hidden Agendas” or less-evident social aspects of the situation (as in “What am I missing here?”). It brings in an external element as shown in the example reading. I may have played a bit fast-and-loose with the “left brain/right brain” stuff, so don’t take it too literally; the idea was to create a useful distinction between rational and emotional modes of personal development.

I intend only the center column to be read “down” as a linear series; the rows are read “from the outside in” according to Elemental Dignity protocols. The cards to the side are mainly horizontal adjuncts to their “Principal;” the court cards are subsidiary “agencies” (either enabling or inhibiting the Principal) and the pip cards are activating or agitating influences that “massage” the action of their Principal. Those that are elementally “friendly” to their Principal I would see as successfully imposing their “focus,”providing reinforcement and adding their emphasis to its effectiveness; if “unfriendly,” they would withdraw their “focus,” detracting from that effectiveness. Among the three on either side of the central column, if there are more friendly cards than unfriendly, it would skew the advice in that direction and I would read that as the preferred “focus” (rational or emotional). When most or all of the cards on a side are unfriendly, focus would devolve on the opposite side, although weakly (“by default,” as it were). If the six cards are equally balanced in any combination, I would see it as a “neutral bias” situation that could still be read for inherent (that is, non-elemental) compatibility or incompatibility of the cards in the row. In that case, the center card may not be the most significant one, and I would choose the focus according to the one that is.

To test this spread, I decided to explore my desire to break into corporate tarot reading in my local area. I have no clue whether there is a market for such services but I’m pretty sure I have the skills and cleverness (as well as the non-tarot business background) to do well at it if I’m given the chance. I selected the Magician as the trump card representing the kind of self-work I need to brush up on to optimize my marketability. Note that I added the extra step here of pulling a “hidden” card behind the central court card to suggest “What am I missing?”

The “Main Thrust” (central column) of the reading included the Knight of Cups and the Ace of Cups; one shows the kind of “agency” I should offer to potential customers, and the other where I hope to arrive if I succeed in winning their business. The Knight suggests that I should be unfailingly sympathetic to and supportive of their feelings in the matter, and the Ace that I might expect to receive a “return in kind” on that emotional investment. It doesn’t look like a very “hard-headed” business scenario, so maybe it will be something in the “softer”commercial disciplines. I like that Ace as showing recognition of my firm commitment to sensitivity in what may be an unfamiliar and uncomfortable situation for corporate management.

The “adjunct” cards to the Knight of Cups in the “Posture” row (the King of Cups and the Queen of Pentacles) were both elementally friendly to the Knight (and to each other), but as a fellow Water card the King places slightly more emphasis on the rational “hard-sell” approach. The self-confidence of Fire (King) may need to “roil the waters” (Cups) a bit to get noticed, but I also think it promotes maturity and reinforces empathy. (Maybe I need to tout my many years in technological middle management as a congruent asset.) The discrete Queen of Pentacles enables patient and calm self-discipline as a secondary focus and his “facing” implies that the Knight may have more need of her influence than of the King’s.

The “hidden” card was the King of Wands. I don’t think this is indicating a quality I need to manifest, but rather the “show me” attitude of the business manager(s) I will no doubt encounter on this adventure. They are likely to have a short attention span, possess limited patience, and be understandably focused on results. This King is elementally unfriendly to the Knight of Cups and is therefore prepared to be unimpressed. I also think this card is a precursor to the two bounding cards in the “Action” row (2 of Wands and 4 of Wands).

The Ace of Cups was immediately surrounded by two elementally friendly cards, the 7 of Cups and the 7 of Pentacles, which creates an interesting dichotomy in which the 7 of Cups as another Water card has a slight edge in the “rational” scheme of things. The 7 of Pentacles conveys a rather plodding “go by the book” expectation that suggests protocols and procedures that could tie me up in knots and create an uninspired reading environment (and perhaps there will be skeptical subordinates who would like to see me fail). I could certainly do it but it would be a difficult “row to hoe.” The 7 of Cups, on the other hand, favors the W.C. Fields quip “If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit.” (Not that I would do that, of course, but I might be tempted.) I’m banking on being imaginative and colorful in setting my contacts at ease.

This is where it gets really interesting. The outermost cards in this array are both Fire cards and elementally hostile to the Ace of Cups as well as to the 7 of Cups; only the 7 of Pentacles receives their temperate cooperation, and I don’t really want to go there. The overall combination seems to be describing the resistance I will get in attempting to break into the field of “corporate metaphysics.” I’m going to interpret them as showing the “management attitude” that will be wrapped around my efforts. The 2 of Wands looks to me like the scope of the reading I will be asked to do: they have a plan (or at least a vision) and they want an alternative opinion on its chances for success. (I suspect this is going to be a common theme in these readings.) The 4 of Wand shows where they anticipate the plan will take them. With the King of Wands standing in the background with his arms folded, I will be “on the spot” to give them something useful. I’ve already decided that the outcome of my business readings will be to either reinforce their assumptions as stated or give them cautionary insights that could sharpen their focus going forward. Here that will be put to the test.

Regarding the roll-up of elemental forces, both the “rational/hard” and the “emotional/soft” focus areas contain two cards that are friendly to the “Principal” cards and one that isn’t. This balanced situation shows that a “neutral bias” stance will be best in approaching potential customers, with a minor nudge to the rational side given by the King of Cups and the 7 of Cups as befits a business proposition. As an aside, it’s intriguing that the emotive Water cards appeared on the “rational” side of the equation and the pragmatic Earth cards showed up on the “emotional” side; I see a kind of symbolic “tightrope walk” shaping up.

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