Now to the heart of the matter.
Rather than using the Astrological Spread with the “Astro-Tarot Mandala” as described in Part 1 of this essay, I decided to come up with unique ways to choose which horoscope houses and planets will be highlighted by the specific cards in a reading. This second post pulls together several ideas that have been gaining traction in my recent practice: the use of “prepared” decks in populating a spread; more effective use of the single-card pull for meditation and self-awareness; and use of the cards for what I call “scoped” readings in ways that don’t rely strictly on spread design and positional definitions.
The 52 cards from Part 1 that I extracted from the full deck according to the astrological features of my natal horoscope form what I call a “prepared” deck, or in this case, a partial deck: one sub-pack of 28 cards and another of 24 cards (the King/Knight of Pentacles appears in both subgroups but you will have to take one from a second deck). Normally, when I pre-conditon a deck in some way, it’s usually by separating out the trump, court and pip cards into sub-packs, and then shuffling and dealing them into different sections of a special spread. Here, the selection method is more specific. I divide the 52 cards into two sub-packs, one capturing the chart structure of my horoscope, including the Whole-Sign house system cusps as represented by the twelve zodiacal trump cards; the eight court and pip cards denoting the chart axes (Ascendant/Descendant and Midheaven/Imum Coeli); and the eight “quadrant” cards — the Aces and Princesses/Pages. The second sub-pack is comprised of the ten planetary/elemental trump cards, along with the fourteen applicable decan and court cards, recognizing that several of them have shared correspondences across more than one planetary placement.
Next, I put these divided sets into action. I’ve never considered a single card pulled from a full deck as an indicator of daily possibilities to be of much practical use. However, drawing two cards to reflect the quadrants, houses and planets of my birth-chart seems to offer greater utility.
I decided to shuffle and cut the “structure” sub-pack, and pull the top card to show the area of life (“house”) that I should pay attention to at that time, along with the rest of its associated cards, intentionally adding them after the pull. For example, if I pull a zodiacal trump, I will add the two “quadrant” cards related to its location; if I pull one of the quadrant cards (Ace or Princess/Page) I will add its partner, then remove the three zodiacal trumps for that quadrant from the sub-pack and randomly pull one card from the series to target a specific house; if I pull one of the “chart axis” cards (court or pip), I will add its partner, the zodiacal trump for its location and the decan card for the specific degree of the axis point.
For the “planetary” sub-pack, I also shuffle and cut, then draw the top card to show the planetary energy that is prominent at that time. If I pull a planetary trump, I will intentionally add the related decan cards (pip and court); if I pull a pip card, I will add the planetary trump and court cards assigned to that decan; if I pull a court card, I will remove the three minor decan cards connected with that court card from the sub-pack and randomly pull one card from the series to target a particular decan, then work backward to the planetary trump.
As far as reading these cards, I would contemplate the area of life (the “where”) and the nature of its experience (the “how”) highlighted by the “house/sign” pull and determine whether there is any personal business I must attend to in that area. I decided not to include any planetary factors (the “what”) that might be resident in that house unless they are specifically emphasized by the “planetary” pull, but that could certainly be done for a fuller picture.
Next, I ponder the planetary energies that are brought into play by the “planetary” pull and decide how much attention I should pay to the emergence of that influence in its house of residence (which will likely be different from that house involved in the first pull). In this way two areas of life are opened for examination, one in a “background” sense as shown in Part 1 and the other in a more highly energized, “hands-on” way. If both elements (sign and planets) are brought together by astrological links between the two pulls (i.e. the Emperor as Aries and the Tower as Mars), I would treat the area of life shown by the house as a complete “what, where and how” scenario.
Here is an example draw, in which I pulled the Chariot (Cancer)as the zodiacal trump and the Universe (Saturn) as the planetary card; there was no “axis” point in this sign:
The Chariot corresponds to the sign of Cancer, which occupies the 9th House in my “Whole Sign House” chart. What I need to contemplate are the higher philosophical aspects (9th House) of home, family and emotional self-realization (Cancer). The quadrant cards show that the practical application of these deliberations should be my ultimate goal in pursuing them.
The Universe is the planetary “Saturn” trump. Although the Universe is often interpreted as “completion and success,” its Saturn correlation is more about the necessity of setting appropriate limits and boundaries in order to properly channel and direct that positive emphasis in the most constructive way. What I need to ponder is how to stay on track creatively (Saturn in Leo), remain inspired and motivated by my limited public success (Saturn in 10th House), and not be aggravated by frustration (5 of Wands as Saturn in Leo) in order to achieve “victory after strife” (6 of Wands as Leo’s second-decan card). The Prince of Wands provides the ambition and enthusiasm to make the most of the 6 of Wands’ triumph. Because these chart factors occupy the 10th House in my “Whole Sign House” chart, they suggest that public recognition may be the key to transforming Saturnian impediments into a sound, enduring structure.
Finally, the idea of a “scoped” reading usually involves aiming the narrative at a specific area of life (romance, work, finances, family, health, etc), but this is most often done by telling the querent to mentally concentrate on that focus area during the shuffle-and-cut of all 78 cards, and/or by creating a spread with positional meanings that explore various aspects of the target area in detail, again using the full deck. Here, the scope is narrowed by the limited range of cards derived from the astrological source material, and further shaped by the subdivision and random culling of the reduced card population.