Spread of the Week: Six-Card “Five Fingers” Layout

This simple spread, which uses a Significator and five cards laid out in the approximate shape of a human hand, is an easy layout we can use to answer a relatively simple question, particularly one that may revolve around feelings of confusion and loss, where we feel we no longer have control of some element of our inner lives and could use a little “hands on” advice to “get a grip” on ourselves. The meanings of the cards, as dealt, are as follows:

(1) “Thumb”: What have I fully grasped in this life—or, conversely, what have I failed to grasp?

(2) “Index finger”: Who or what can point me in the direction I need to go?

(3) “Middle finger”: Who or what would be a hindrance to me?

(4) “Ring finger”: Who or what would be a blessing to me?

(5) “Pinky”: What seemingly small detail would be helpful to me now?

The sequence of the spread is:


2                          4


                                                           1                        S               

As a thought experiment, I thought I would lay out a sample spread using my personal Significator, the King of Swords, to see what I might be able to learn from the cards today. Here are the cards that made an appearance:5fingers

(1) What have I grasped, or have yet to gain control of? Six of Pentacles. This is the key card in the spread inasmuch as it states the situation as it exists in the here and now; the subsequent cards are merely commentaries. In this regard, the card suggests one of two possibilities. The querent could be represented by either the man giving alms, in which case he has mastered his finances and is sharing his riches with others; or that the querent is represented by the beggars, who have not gained control over their material lives and who thus rely on the generosity of others. Regular readers of this blog are aware that, in the case of this querent, that he is almost certainly represented by the latter pair of mendicants. After a lengthy hiatus, he’s begun to receive some paying freelance writing work in the past month, but the last two years have posed a financial challenge for him, and while he hasn’t been forced to resort to panhandling, he has had to live more frugally, and less generously, than he would normally prefer. (“Frugality” is an alternative meaning of this card.) As Pentacles succeed Swords in the sequence of the Minor Arcana, the card implies a future event—perhaps a change of fortune is in the offing?

(2) Who or what can point me in the right direction? Eight of Cups reversed. This card, which turns up frequently in my personal readings, signifies a state of self-imposed exile, that “season in the wilderness” we all need to spend at some point in our lives if we are to gain a richer state of self-awareness. In the case of the querent, the past two years have been a kind of self-imposed exile as he has devoted most of the time to writing two books on the Tarot (one of which I’ve published for free on this site; you can thank me later) and engaging in all the meditation, reflection, study and card-reading that accompanies such endeavors. Reversed, the card can either warn us of the dangers of prolonged isolation, or, more likely, that the time has come for the querent to “climb down from the mountain’ and rejoin the material world. As Cups are governed by the element of Water, someone born under a Water sign (Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces) may be of help facilitating the querent’s transition.

(3) Who or what would be a hindrance? The Fool reversed. In this position and upside down, the card warns against viewing the world through rose-colored glasses, and against taking excessive and unnecessary risks: “Look before you leap,” in so many words! This is interesting since only yesterday, the querent interviewed for a job with a company that is relocating halfway across the country in a couple of years, and which is actively recruiting new employees who will commit to make the move. The querent holds the company and its employees in very hight regard, and he believes that he would be able to adapt to living in a new city in the middle of the country, but this card suggests to him that he should spend a bit more time thinking this through should an offer of work be made to him. The Fool is governed by the element of Air—and as it turns out, the querent himself was born under an Air sign (Gemini). Once again, keep your eyes wide open, Q.

(4) Who or what would be a blessing? The Chariot reversed. This can be read as a reinforcement to the preceding card—act judiciously in your decision-making ere you upset the apple cart—or as a reminder that there are some things in life under which we have little or no control, and it is the wise person who recognizes when she needs to take charge of events, and also to recognize when to take her hands off the reins, to stop “swimming against the tide” and to “go with the flow” of the moment. On the subject, the Chariot is governed by the watery sign of Cancer, and someone likewise born under a Water sign (Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces) may be influential to the querent in the matter.

(5) What little detail would be helpful here? Prince of Wands reversed. As they are all depicted on horseback, Princes generally imply motion—the coming or going of an event or a phase in the querent’s life; and the suit of Wands governs the intuitive, creative function of the human psyche. In this position, the card could suggest that the querent may feel that he is “stuck in a rut” creatively, or that he is impatient to be getting on with new creative activities—in his instance, a career change that he has been trying to effect with limited but (some) measurable success over the past two years. As The Fool reminds him earlier in the spread, it is best to exercise patience in this regard and not let his emotions get the better of him. The Prince of Wands is governed by the sign of Leo, with all of the sunny and hotheaded temperaments associated with that fiery constellation, and in that vein, someone—quite possibly, a younger person—born under a Fire sign (Aries, Leo, Sagittarius) may be helpful in providing guidance or support.

In all, the spread would tend to suggest a positive outcome for the querent should he take care and heed the cards’ advice: To assess events in a sober light, to avoid acting rashly, and to exercise sound judgment in his decisions. Four of the five dealt cards may be reversed, but the key card in the spread is a charitable “thumbs up,” which bodes well for the querent overall.

Dante DiMatteo 

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