The “When” and “Where” of Prediction

While creating my “Magical Prescription” situational spread, I was struck by a new insight regarding the use of tarot to determine not only how, but also when and where circumstances or events might play out in a particular scenario. In the past, I’ve always considered the “when” to be a specific point in time and the “where” to show a discrete location, neither of which is easy to nail down using the cards although I’ve made a number of attempts to clarify these assumptions when designing my layouts. They are part of the “Five W’s” paradigm (“Who, What, Where, When and Why”) of effective creative writing that I often apply to my readings. The answer to “When will it happen?” is usually what the sitter wants to know most upon receiving a forecast, with “Where?” being more dependent on the nature of the question.

What I realized is that “where” and “when” can be treated as “moving targets” pegged to the ongoing development of the situation rather than as independent milestones in time and space. There are a couple of aphorism that can be enlisted in this cause. One is “Timing is everything” and the other is “Strike while the iron is hot.” These statements of purpose recognize that active engagement by the seeker is critical to obtaining a satisfactory result. (Letting things “just happen” is a rather fatalistic and feckless attitude.) The reader’s task is to perform a kind of “pulse check” on the matter to identify the point at which it is likely to reach optimum potential (“critical mass”) for proactive intervention by the querent in the form of anticipatory positioning or the discharge of intentions by “pulling the trigger” on timely action. The positional “Past/Present/Future” line spread (which I’ve retooled for this purpose as “Present/Immediate Future/Extended Future”) is probably the best vehicle for performing this analysis, with the card that exhibits the best fit in terms of its inherent nature and the objectives of its location in the spread showing the perfect juncture for a focused initiative.

Regarding the “magical” aspect, it may be instructive to look at the principles of chaos theory. I once researched it casually and found that it deals with “initial conditions and seemingly minor variables that can cause widely divergent outcomes within dynamic systems.” Rather than becoming increasingly disorganized over time like the “Big Bang” theory (the very definition of creeping “chaos”), these systems display an “inner organization” in the original conditions that is highly sensitive to subtle influences, such that it doesn’t totally disappear but instead “morphs” into other forms. Its relevance here lies in the fact that, as time passes from the date of a reading, the proposed “when and where” of optimum intervention can be distorted by emerging conditions, and the ideal application of such measures can therefore become debatable. For example, an action that would have had its greatest benefit in the early going may be entirely moot by the time circumstances near their conclusion. (Think “missed opportunity.”) It goes without saying that an unknown future scenario constitutes a “dynamic system,” and that any number of internal and external events can “morph” its trajectory in unforeseen directions. The objective of the reading should be to empower the querent to “get ahead of the curve” and step in at the most advantageous time, and my “Magical Prescription” spread is intended to facilitate this preemptive strike.


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