For Today: Four-Card New Vision Spread

Following up from yesterday’s post, I laid down my first spread with the New Vision deck this morning—just to see what insight these cards might hold in store today. I didn’t have any particular subject in mind, other than a general desire to simplify and “un-clutter” my somewhat complicated life at present. For the sake of simplicity, I thought I would begin my exploration of this deck with my standard “go-to” daily spread: A four-card layout that can be seen as a symbolic stand-in for the four seasons of life, the four primary functions, the four stages of consciousness in Jungian depth psychology, the four realms of Creation as defined by the writings of the Kabbalah, or the four-letter name of God. Dealt right to left, the cards’ meanings are, roughly:

1. Thinking/intuition/mind.
2. Feeling/emotion/soul.
3. Perceiving/will/ego.
4. Sensing/being/body.

After spending some time getting acquainted with the cards—several dozen shuffles to stimulate an energy exchange between my hands and the cards, as well as to “break in” the deck”—I laid out a four-card spread, and these are the cards that decided to make an appearance today:

trotScan 1(Note: I’m avoiding reversals until I’m better acquainted with the deck.) Two things are apparent right away: First, there’s a noticeable right-to-left “directional” orientation of the figures, suggesting a line of logic to the spread. Second, three of the four cards are Wands, suggesting that the dominant component of the querent’s psyche—and the one to which this reading should most be directed—is his intellect, his conscious mental state. Let’s see what we can divine from this:

1. Princess of Pentacles. As the first card dealt (we’re going right-to-left here, as with written Hebrew), it represents, to an extent, the “root” of the matter. As a rule, Princesses signify study in anticipation of new events. This Princess—the Earthy part of Earth among the court cards—is most intimately connected with everyday material concerns.  Her appearance here could speak to the querent’s newly intensified career search; ensconced as he has been for the last couple of weeks at his mother’s house in an outer-ring suburb, he’s had little else to do each day but ply the online classifieds, refine his resume, and brush up on his interviewing skills—”studying” the jobs market, in a word.

Doing this “homework” has paid off, to an extent—the querent has been promised some freelance writing work in the next few weeks, and he’s been called in for a couple of interviews in recent days; and while this portends better things, financially, our querent has been unable to shake a nagging concern: Namely, that he has been prematurely “retired” from the full-time workforce—that his career as he once knew it is, essentially, dead, and that there is little that he can do about it for the foreseeable future. We see this ambivalence—and this sense of futility— pictured in this representation of the Princess. It differs from the Waite deck, where she is pictured facing in our direction (more or less), holding aloft her Pentacle with a rapt look upon her face, as if she is worshipping the coin itself. Seen from behind in the New Vision deck, however, she appears to be holding her coin aloft as an offering to some distant temple. If we take a closer look, though, we see that this building resembles a defenestrated memorial—a columbarium or mausoleum, perhaps. This should remind us that the pursuit of the material, no matter what form it takes, eventually leads to the same final destination. Whatever the querent’s ultimate goal in life may be, he is correct in one way; the life he once knew is, in a way, deceased, and now it is time for him to discover the road that leads to a personal “resurrection.”

2. Three of Wands. If the Princess of Pentacles is our “thesis” card in this reading, the Three of Wands is the “antithesis”—the suggested opposite of its predecessor. As we noted in our review of the New Vision deck yesterday, the depiction of the Three is novel since it emphasizes, unlike its counterpart in the Waite deck, the component of active “leadership.” Here, the figure of the Three scouts the terrain ahead of a wagon train that is following him. Interestingly but not surprisingly, the querent’s last full-time job quite often involved leading groups of people in an organized train through often inhospitable country. In one way, he misses the experience of the journey, and yet he also knows that there’s “no turning back” for him any more than there is for the “leader” figure on the Three of Wands. The people in the wagons are depending on him to lead them to greener pastures, and likewise, the querent needs to rely on the “leadership” element within his psyche—to tap into that alpha-male energy he once exercised for the benefit of others, that it might be used now for his own advancement.

3. Princess of Wands. We have passed from “thesis” to “antithesis”, and now at last to “synthesis”. In this blog’s recent review of the Myers-Briggs test, we noted that the Princess of Wands is a thinker nonpareil: At her most exalted, she is an Einstein or an Edison, whose discoveries “shine a light” on the way we perceive our world; at her worst, she is a Hegelian philosopher-queen—an abstract thinker of pure thought that thinks only of itself, divorced from any practical meaning or application. The latter persona is strongly implied in the New Vision version of this card—first, by the darkening sky of the card itself (compare and contrast with the Waite deck), and secondly by the sinister presence of a woman in black (!) who is bearing a torch while walking away from the Princess. Has she stolen the Princess’s fire in a kind of Promethean theft? It should not surprise us if this is the case—here, the Princess appears to have spent so much time and energy admiring her handiwork (her wand) that she has forgotten what its intended purpose is—not as a ding an sich but as a tool to set on fire, that she might bring illumination to the world. As a result, the fire has—literally—”gone out of her” and she finds herself alone as darkness encroaches. The querent is reminded, at least for today, to keep his intellect grounded in real-world concerns and objectives; the futility of material pursuits may be self-evident to him, but neither should he clad himself in sackcloth and ashes and renounce the ways of this wicked world. Because . . . .

4. Ten of Wands. . . . as the “last word” on the matter instructs us, there is still much work for him to perform, and miles to go before he can sleep. The querent should know also that while he may feel continue to feel burdened in the coming days—it is not a new condition for him, after all!—he will one day reap the rewards of his efforts, much as the figure in the Ten will one day reap his. He may be too heavily weighed down by his apprehensions to notice it at present, but just as there is a figure beside the wand-bearer reaping a bountiful wheat crop (by contrast, the wand-bearer is pictured alone in the Waite image), so too is there a psychic “helpmeet” who will help the querent bring in his own harvest when the time is ripe. He just needs to continue to “shoulder the load,” and keep to the path that leads him home. Eventually he, and we, will get there.

Dante DiMatteo

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