Prospective Partners: A Quantitative Approach to Compatibility

Parsifal the Scribe
5 min readSep 25, 2022


For those who seek a more “”graded” supplement to intuitive appraisal of relationship potential, this is a spread that uses various forms of “dignity” (elemental; numerical; rank-based; astrological; shared traits; energy profile; etc) to judge the likelihood of affinity or disunity between two people (or other entities). Alignment or misalignment of these qualities between the cards of a pair will create an orderly profile of accord in five areas: Excitement; Happiness; Depth (of Trust); Cooperation; and Longevity, with summary “quintessence cards to convey overall satisfaction. Don’t be put off by the apparent complexity. Despite the number of cards and calculations, this isn’t a labor-intensive spread; it took me far longer to write this synopsis than it did to read the cards once I nailed down the methodology.

The gist of this technique is for the reader to choose one of the seven groups of scoring parameters to apply to all five pairs of cards, and then stick with it. Piling on more definitely creates conflicting testimony; I tried to bulk up the scores by doing it but a modified “0-or-1” binary model seems to work best. It might, however, be interesting to swap parameters sequentially, placing a different emphasis on each of the five relationship categories in a single reading. If I did that I would drop the “Astrological Favor” and “Energy Signature” sets since they are slightly redundant to the “Elemental Favor” and “Numerical Polarity” bundles. This leaves a “five-on-five” match-up.

This will most certainly be effective for romantic scenarios, but it could just as well be applied to employment, business, social or family situations. It could be brought to bear on existing relationships in addition to prospective ones. (I toyed with the idea of using a different deck for each party but decided it wasn’t necessary. If you think it would be useful, give it a try.) I can foresee augmenting my analytical outlook by overlaying intuitive impressions on it based on the usual meaning of the cards, independent of their mutual dignity. Reversal could add value in this regard, whereas it doesn’t have any affect on the numerical scoring.

I performed a few example readings to test this spread but they didn’t click until the pull I’m presenting here, after making a couple of adjustments to the spread design. I used the Retro Thoth deck and applied the “Elemental Favor” scoring parameters. The question I asked was “What kind of response would I get if I approach the local metaphysical shop about a tarot-reading gig there?”

The elemental match in the “Excitement Potential” column is favorable (Air and Fire), yielding a (+1) score.

In the “Happiness Potential” column, Fire and Water are unfortunate together, netting a (-1) score.

The “Depth Potential” column displays an Earth card and a Water card, mutually friendly from an elemental standpoint: (+1) is the result. (This is a fertile combination that might be a bit heavy on the “watering;” it reminds me of Aleister Crowley’s “aethyr” from The Vision and The Voice where “Nemo” is underground tormenting the roots of the beautiful flowers to encourage them to grow more vigorously.)

The “Cooperation Potential” column holds two Water cards, another (+1) outcome.

The Water and Air cards in the “Longevity Potential” column are elementally neutral together, producing a zero (0) score.

The cumulative score for this series is (+2), with one neutral pair. Since (+5) appears to be the usual top end, this gives my a slightly less than middling chance for success. Because one of my earlier readings on a different topic gave me a (-7) out of a possible negative 10, I think I might take my chances with a (+2).

The two quintessence cards are elementally unfriendly, although the energy between them is dynamic. They suggest an arms-length alliance of equals with slightly different agendas and attitudes.

Reading the cards according to “Elemental Polarity” would have given me a cumulative score of (+3), while “Numerical Polarity” would also have produced a (+3). Reading them from the perspective of “Rank” would have returned a (-4, or “No way in hell!”), and “Astrological Favor” would have delivered another (+3). “Inherent Similarity” would have chalked up two “Encouraging” pairs, one “Challenging” pair and two neutral “Mixed” pairs, for a cumulative score of (+1). “Energy Signature” would have generated two “Low Energy” pairs and three neutral “Mixed” pairs, making for a (-2) cumulative score. Taking the cross-cutting approach and using a different parameter for each pair, I came up with a resounding “zero.”

Just reading the cards at face value, it looks like “Person #1” (me) would come off feeling better about any arrangement than “Person #2.” This shop is a “CBD” dispenser and most of their customer traffic is users, so — although they sell tarot cards, books and other esoteric gear — I’m not sure they would know what to do with a professional tarot reader. With the exception of the Aeon (which might show me giving them a wake-up call), the cards in the bottom row seem almost entirely listless.

On balance, it doesn’t seem like there would be an overwhelmingly enthusiastic reaction to any proposal I might make, and in retrospect, on the occasions when I’ve been in the shop I haven’t noticed any space that would be suitable for even semi-private readings. While the shopkeepers might be moderately interested in having a more analytical reader in their employ, logistics would seem to make it unworkable. With more energetic, decisive cards and a cumulative score of (+3) or better I might have given it a shot, but as it stands this looks like a feeble venture to me.

Originally published at on September 25, 2022.



Parsifal the Scribe

I’ve been involved in the esoteric arts since 1972, with a primary interest in tarot and astrology. See my previous work at