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Tarot: The Power Of A Card Spread

Vincent Pitisci

Tarot: The Power Of A Card Spread by Vincent Pitisci

If you are interested in reading Tarot cards you will ultimately want to learn how to apply them. The Tarot cards can open up paths to a specific goal in ways not previously seen. This brings us to card spreads. Card spreads create a way of looking into a question with a deeper focus than conventional thinking will allow. 

The card spread shown here is the classic Celtic Cross, which can help us find answers to any question we want to explore in a more thorough way than smaller spreads can do. Each of the ten positions on the Celtic Cross represents an element of the overall question at hand, affording a way to break the question apart into components that can then be looked at specifically—components such as strengths, weaknesses, hopes, and outside influences. I am not going to go into the meanings each position holds. I want to explain the importance of breaking the question apart into segments using a card spread. What is important to understand is that the Celtic Cross, like any other Tarot card spread, follows a pattern that is independent of the actual cards drawn on any given occasion. The pattern is comprised of fixed elements that have been proven to be useful to any question asked. These elements do not change from one reading to another. They remain the same, whether the question at the moment pertains to love, money, or some other life pursuit. 

CELTIC CROSS _ PITISCI ARTICLE

The Tarot cards help us find the answers we need as they are placed into the spread’s fixed positions. They represent the answers to the specific aspect of the question they are placed into.  

In my way of doing the Celtic Cross the number 8 position represents the timing of the issue in question. Is it time to act or time to wait? If the Knight of Swords were placed here it would represent action; a time to act. If the Four of Cups were placed in number 8 position it would represent patience; a time to wait.


Hence, the seventy-eight Tarot cards are a set of connection-rich concepts that can be seen as an idea generator. Again, each one of the cards can help find answers to any question asked of them. The card spread is a question broken apart into its specific aspects or concerns. 

This is an important factor when learning to read the cards. The cards are not the positions themselves. The cards represent the answers to those aspects of the question. The meaning of each card cannot really be defined in a fixed way. Each card’s meaning changes as the questions asked of them change. And any of the cards, placed into any position of a question asked, can help find good answers.

They help us find these answers through a process of association—the association we make between the particular card we draw and the position it is placed into in the card spread. A card reading is thus a way of forcing the mind to make connections between the card and its position’s meaning. The question is the position; the answer is the random Tarot card.

Making associations between a fixed element for the question and a random stimulus for the answer today is called conceptual blending. Conceptual blending is a common creative-thinking technique based on the way the genius mind looks at a question, which is divided into sections called elements. To these fixed elements is added a random stimulus (in our case, in the form of a Tarot card). The blend between what is fixed and what is random results in innovative and intuitive ideas—and in insights that would not normally be seen. 

This way of seeking solutions cannot be achieved with conventional thought. It is an application that gives powerful depth to the question asked and to the answers received. Great thinkers throughout history have achieved their discoveries using such a technique. People such as Da Vinci, Galileo, Darwin, Ford, Edison, and Einstein all have used this method of finding answers to the questions that compelled them. 

To repeat, here are the steps involved in the dynamics of using the established pattern of a card spread such as the Celtic Cross in a reading:

  • Breaking the presenting question apart into segments represented by the fixed positions of the spread
  • Adding a random stimulus to each segment in the form of the specific cards drawn 
  • Making associations between the two

Throughout the process, the aim is to approach the random stimulus of each card with the intention to discover how it can modify, change, improve, reverse, or enhance the segment of the question it represents in some manner.

Creative consultants use this technique to help Fortune 500 companies and other major institutions find innovative solutions. If you research the terms conceptual blending and creative thinking, you will find that the applications used in those processes are identical to that used by the Tarot card reader.

The technique of placing random Tarot cards into segments of a question was created centuries ago by a few key minds of genius. It seems that Antoine de Gebelin (1725–1784) and Jean-Baptiste Alliette (1738–1791) launched this successful application in the late eighteenth century. The Tarot cards’ unexplainable knack of finding useful answers to questions has always been a mystery. But with today’s resources and knowledge, this uncanny knack—which has worked successfully for centuries—can now be explained.
 
So, if you already read Tarot cards, pat yourself on the back, because what you have been doing is learning to think like a genius! If you are just starting out, you will be finding capabilities the cards can bring in ways you may have never before understood. Today the mystery of the Tarot reading can be explained. 

The Tarot card reader does the exact same thing as today’s creative consultants do: identify important aspects of a question, add a random stimulus to each aspect, and then conceptually blend them together to find answers in the form of innovative solutions. And why is this done? To make a prediction regarding a future objective. Useful answers are what make accurate predictions, if they are followed. The Tarot reader, following a centuries-old custom, and today’s up-to-date creative consultants both predict the future using the same identical application, merely with different terminology.

Gutenberg’s first printing press was realized when he watched two men working a wine press. Galileo discovered the principles of a pendulum clock by watching a priest swing an incense filled thurible back and forth during mass. The Hubble Telescope was created by looking at the way a showerhead oscillates. The first heat-seeking missile was discovered by looking at things found in the desert— specifically the sidewinder rattlesnake that seeks it prey through body heat. Conceptually blending something random to your objective brings new ideas. And the Tarot cards give us meaningful answers in the same fashion. Random meanings become suggestions towards our goals.

In summary, although today’s creative consultants don’t limit themselves to this particular approach to looking into a question, it is probably the most commonly and successfully used. Both they and the Tarot reader use the same techniques to find answers not normally perceived through conventional thought. Both seek to find answers to future objectives—and through the technique I’ve been describing, both can effectively predict future results.
The difference between the two? The Tarot reader uses a deck of seventy-eight classic images as a random stimulus tool. Creative consultants use the world around them as a random stimulus tool. Both work very well. And both can offer an infinite amount of possible answers.

The Tarot has stayed with us for centuries because it works. Now we can understand why it works. It is based on what today would be called a very intuitive creative thinking technique called conceptual blending.


Vincent Pitisci is the author of Genius of the Tarot: A Guide to Divination with the Tarot and The Essential Tarot: Unlocking the Mystery (both available in paperback through Amazon). His contact information and services can be found at www.pitisci.com. Pitisci lives and maintains a private practice in Chicago’s southwest suburb of Berwyn, IL.