The “Jodo’s Judgement” Situational Breakout Spread

The “syncretic” approach to esoteric study and practice has fascinated me ever since I first encountered Aleister Crowley’s exhaustive and rather intimidating catalog of mystically-linked assumptions in The Book of Thoth, and in his even more relentless source material, Sir James George Frazer’s Golden Bough. I often combine ideas from more than one metaphysical discipline in my development of tarot spreads. In the past I’ve blended my conceptual attack with I Ching, astrology, numerology, color theory and various forms of binary “coin-flip” divination such as dice, dominoes and yes, even coins.

Sometimes I wake up in the morning with such notions; they spring right out like Athena fully armed from the forehead of Zeus. Recently I was discussing with someone online the subject of “introspective” questions that can be put to the tarot, and I remembered that I had once analyzed the set of “trump card” questions proposed by Alejandro Jodorowsky in The Way of Tarot that might be applied to a reading when the querent has no specific topic in mind and can’t think of one. The idea was to have the sitter intuitively select the trump card they are most drawn to and then offer the list as one way to proceed. Here I’m using the “quintessence” method instead to arrive at the trump card as a product of the shuffle. I spent some time tweaking Jodorowsky’s text for grammar and content, and expanding it where I thought necessary. (See the link below for my results.)

Here I have also brought in the astrological concept of “hemisphere emphasis” as a way to target how and where the outcome of the reading may manifest in the querent’s life. This spread requires some judgment on the part of the reader to decide which “Synergy” card (and therefore which “Breakout Path”) is most supportive of the question(s) being asked. I envision using various forms of “dignity” for this as explained in Elizabeth Hazel’s book, Tarot Decoded.

Originally published at on August 26, 2022.



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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