An “Affirmation and Negation” Life-Path Example Reading

To test this spread and its associated table, I performed an example reading using the Retro Thoth deck. I’ve been contemplating a business venture as a tarot reader for corporate management, so I chose the Knight of Wands as the “Heart of the Matter.”

On the “Affirmation” side of the spread, the Ace of Swords appeared as the primary affirmation and inspiration card. I often read this Ace as the “bright idea” card and, as with all the Aces, I see it as a “planning” card. The intellectual premises of the plan appear to be sound. It looks like a good omen for creating logical strategies and tactics to accomplish my objective.

The Chariot as an indication of where this will take me is the “triumph in material matters” card. It’s often described as a “movement” card but I expand that interpretation into “movement toward a goal.” Although it’s a Water card, the association of Jupiter (the “Greater Benefic” of traditional astrology) through its exaltation in Cancer (the Chariot’s corresponding sign) aligns the Chariot well with the passion and drive of the Knight of Wands.

In considering the advice for optimizing this potential, I have characterized the 9 of Disks (“Gain”) as an assertive “Yang” card despite its lunar connection and passive element of Earth because it typically portends a favorable outcome resulting from balanced and harmonious effort. Here – along with the Chariot – it implies sitting back and letting the money roll in (I wish).

The 10 of Wands (“Oppression”) as the primary “Negation” (or resistance) card has me thinking that the professional posture of my target client base may be hostile to the metaphysical tenets of the tarot reader’s art. I could be in for some uncomfortable moments as they grill me about why they should hire me. I’ve recently recognized this card as denoting “disengagement” and “cessation of effort,” so it could be saying that I should remain at “arm’s length” when discussing the more philosophical aspects of what I will be doing and just focus on the “nuts-and-bolts” of the process. As the only Fire card in the draw, the 10 of Wands is elementally friendly to the Knight of Wands, so I will at least understand where the push-back is coming from. Unfailing self-confidence and enthusiasm in the face of this skeptical attitude look like the right answers. As an aside, it’s interesting that this Fire card is followed by two Water cards; the combination often hints at the generation of “steam.” It’s possible the doubters will dismiss my observations as merely equivocal word-play or “blowing smoke.”

The 10 of Cups (“Satiety”) as where this will take me suggests it will be “into the comfort zone,” although I may feel cynical about being too blase in glossing over some of the things I believe deeply about “how tarot works.” On the other hand, it could mean that they will overload me with their curiosity about such things. It might become the “Be careful what you wish for” card. I also sometimes read this as the “comfortably numb” card, so my insights could fail to make much of a dent in their established business practices; it expresses the typical breezy kiss-off: “Thank you for your input, we will think about it. There’s the door.”

Death as advice for coping with the “friction” of the corporate environment indicates that I will need to transform my customary approach to reading in a big way, dispensing with the common mystical/spiritual and psychological angles and playing up my own business credentials as a “touchstone” for interpreting the cards as pragmatic action-and-event precursors. I think this could turn “making the best of a bad situation” into a “win/win” prospect for both myself and the client.

Another way to approach this reading is to diametrically “cross-connect” the cards in the paths. For example, the two “Where will it lead?” cards are expansive Water cards and elementally unfriendly to the Knight of Wands. As a retiree, I may be biting off more than I can (or want to) chew here since I don’t really crave a “second career” at this point. The “Affirmation” card can be related to the “Coping” card to see how it might inspire creative solutions; in this case the advice of the Ace of Swords is to not be put off by Death and its intimation of impending chaos. The “Optimizing” card can be contrasted to the “Negation” card to look for clues as to how the challenges might be minimized; “Gain” (9 of Disks) looks like the perfect antidote for the antagonistic “Oppression” (10 of Wands’) because, as the saying goes, “Nothing succeeds like success.” If my clients experience positive results from my contributions their skepticism may soon vanish.

Although I didn’t include a step for it in the spread design, the calculated quintessence card for the “Affirmation” side is the Star (1+7+9 = 17), while that for the “Negation” side is the Lovers (10+10+13 = 33; 3+3 = 6). The meaning of the Star is obvious; the import of the Lovers could be that I will have an important decision to make regarding how I handle the “coping” strategy represented by Death. For the “Grand Quint” (6-card roll-up) I decided to stay with Temperance by “casting out nines” (17+6 = 23; 23-9 = 14) instead of taking it down to the Hierophant (2+3 = 5) by theosophical reduction. My main keyword for Temperance is “Finesse,” which is a perfect description of the best way for me to to proceed.

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