A man asked me which of three potential wives he would choose. The challenge was tricky for two reasons. First, this was to be a one-card only reading, as per our arrangement ahead of time. Second… seriously, three women, just waiting for you to pick ‘em? Was I reading a true situation or a fantasy?
I decided to do a spread called the First Operation, which I learned from one of my favorite books, Holistic Tarot by Benebell Wen. I cut the deck into 4 piles, each encompassing a specific element. My plan was to find the pile that held his card – the King of Swords, because he was a Libra, or air sign man – and then find the queen card that was closest by. The qualities of the nearest queen, combined with the aspects of the pile the cards were in, would give me the answer to his question. Easy, schmeezy. (see photo #1 for what this spread looks like)
Imagine my surprise when I found all 4 queens from the deck in the air pile, clustered closely around his king, as if jostling for the best position. I guess his perception was accurate, after all. (see photo #2)
I had a problem. The Queen of Swords was right next to him, and should have been the answer to the question by my initial plan. However, she was in front of his card, which I read as the past. This queen was also upside-down, like his card, and I began to get the feeling that this was an ex rather than one of the three in question. I looked for the closest queen behind his card, or in the future. That was the Queen of Cups, but in between her card and his were cards that could indicate relationship problems. What about those? Plus, the Queen of Pentacles was immediately next to the Queen of Cups – not far off at all. The most distant queen was the Queen of Wands, sitting upright nine cards into the future.
10 Cards from King to final Queen. I realized that these 10 cards would fit perfectly into the shape of the Celtic Cross spread – my go-to spread that never disappoints. Out of curiosity, I laid them down in that order, and watched as the full picture came into focus. (see photo #3)
The king is crossed by the 2 of Swords, a card that indicates the need to make a decision. In its base, the 3 of Swords indicates a break up as the root cause of his search for a new partner. Not surprising, then, that a searching card, the 2 of Wands, shows up in his recent past. The image of a broken-hearted person looking for love is repeated in the bottom right of the spread, with the 10 of Cups, reversed, surrounded by the energy from the 7 of Cups – another searching card. The nature of the heartbreak is revealed in the 7 of Swords card, which stands for dishonesty, and shows in the position of his hopes and fears.
That leaves the Queens. The Queen of Pentacles is in his “near future” position, which for me says that she might be the front-runner for a while. The Queen of Cups is in the “crowning” card, which is the hardest card for me to read in this spread. That position indicates an over-arching theme for the spread, our king’s unconscious ambitions, and/or the lesson that the Universe is trying to give to the king at this time. I chose to read the Queen of Cups as an ideal more than any of the other queens in this spread, because she is the water sign queen, all about loving fully and well. I hoped for this reader that this would, indeed, be the crowning energy of his future relationship.
After all this, the Queen of Wands is actually the one sitting pretty as the “outcome” of the spread. In terms of the question, “Who will I choose?” she rises to the top. I put this writing on paper, with information about the aspects to look for when identifying a Queen of Wands personality, and, of course, emphasizing the importance of my client’s intuition when deciding what to do. Although it may seem like I’ve made a prediction, it is entirely up to my client to decide which of the three is his Queen of Wands.
Note for readers: Every once in a while I write about actual readings from my practice. When I do this, I alter or remove completely any identifying information in keeping with my policy to respect and protect client privacy. These essays are longer and I hope will be appealing to those of you who are studying tarot and enjoy considering different spreads. Have fun!