People don’t just try to find themselves, but they also want to find others, or to find out what’s happening to them. Let’s have an example of a 9-card reading for the latter situation that also demonstrates a point about preponderance. Someone wanted to know what was happening to her friend, a public figure, who has started behaving strangely.

A 9-card spread quickly suggested a plausible answer as this was an easy reading that settled the matter in 2 seconds. In spite of ‘no challenge here’ – and I like to write about challenging cards – I want to make a quick point and emphasize the following: although we generally tend to perceive a reading as fair when we have a preponderance of red cards over blacks, the rule of ‘if it ends with a spade, bad news’ will keep us in good stead, just in case we want to go rampant and trumpet that all is well in this country – except for some minor trouble.

Before we look at the cards, here’s a point about the choice of the 9-card spread over the other possibilities, especially since I’ve mentioned earlier here on Taroflexions the idea with dynamic versus static readings, and the prescriptive and predictive versus the reflective and the evaluative. Whenever someone wants to find themselves, others, or check the barometer of a situation, it’s good to go with the 9-card draw, and think of the architectonic structure of this tableau that’s able to offer several planes of perception at once. The reading of the rows can be likened to the reading of a landscape. The reading of the columns can be likened to the reading of a temporal sequence, past (first column), present (second column), and future (third column). The reflective starts with the descriptive picture.

5♦  9♥  10♥

8♦  6♦  8♥

9♦  2♠  4♠


Let’s see what we can say here: the querent’s friend (5D) has a grand wish (9H) to take the path of money (6D) and surround herself with friends that have it (8D rhymes with 8H; a group of jovial people with money; 9H rhymes with 9D; more luxury, please…) She goes for it full throttle (10H). The path (6D) to friends with money in this public space is clear (8D, 6D, 8H).

But, although our friend thinks she has just gotten there, where she can have her fingers in the sack of money (5D, 8D, 9D), things take a turn (9D) for the worse (2S) with the party splitting for good (2S, 4S). Or rather, to be more specific, our friend here, the one inquired about, gets thrown out of the party (2S, 4S). Looking at the surprise card (7S), there is hardly any surprise here to learn that greed often leads to trouble.

My point is that although we often dance with and around the cards, we also tend to read towards some point of gravity, where we gather the threads. By dancing here what I mean to suggest is that although no court card appeared in this spread, I took the first card down as a representative of the topic at hand: ‘what happened to my friend?’ 5 Diamonds happened to her, meaning, she followed her own self-interest (5 for the body of the inquired about).

Usually the last card in a 9-card spread has much to say, as it ends both the vertical and horizontal lines we read or both the description of the situation and its temporal sequencing. So we can think of the last card as our gravity point that pulls the reading towards a resolution. But bear in mind here that the last card doesn’t signify the final answer, as the whole spread participates in moving towards the final verdict. But the last card stresses the overall tone, adding gravity to the answer.

Here we have 2 trouble cards pulling the reading down towards the grave in our otherwise ‘red’ spread, with the reds indicating all good news, as it’s nice to have both friends and money. Since they fell strategically towards the end of the spread, we’re going to have to deliver a nasty message, and say something like this to our querent: ‘perhaps your friend is not so close to you anymore. The fives indicate closeness, the 5 Diamonds here suggesting an inner fire or downright hunger for something. She seems to have gotten herself lost in a sea of wishful thinking for cash and adulation.’ The cluster of 9, 10, 8 Hearts in the top right tells us that this person is seeking public company because she thrives on flattery). In other words, it takes more than lots of red cards to make a spread fair, or a person nice, or worthy of their friend’s concern.

♥ ♠ ♣ ♦

For a basic theory of reading with playing-cards, see my post here.

For more 9-card readings, see my post here.


Note on the deck: Otto Tragy Jugendstil Spielkarte, Ver. Strals. Altenburg, 1910


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Published by Camelia Elias

Read like the Devil | Martial Arts Cartomancy | Zen

5 thoughts on “A RED SPREAD

  1. I read the following 9 cards a different pattern. I see more confusion between wealth and desire or love and status that rooted in lack of self-worth that makes the person prone to be a flatterer and susceptible to toadyism if practiced by someone who the person feels is of some social standing. The numbers and diamonds hearts shows a rise in social standing that is interiorized as inflation. Long term sound judgment is probably compromised.

    1. Paul, I like the idea of an inflation here, though I don’t see a confusion in terms of what this person does. I think she acts consciously (5D) and is ruthless in her ways. (6D flanked by 9H – oh that heart’s desire – and 2S). But 2S also indicates a split that she is not the agent of. 4S shows a reduced, initially loving crowd (8H over 4S), that is now turning against the flatterer. (I found the significator for this person in the pack facing 3 clubs. This tells me that the events of this fall-out of grace will come to pass in the third week of autumn).

  2. Camelia, would the discrepancy, disparity, between the red and black cards show ambivalence in her attitude towards the matter, or do we just look at the negative cards at the end to judge?

    1. Maralyn, I always read cards in trios. Anything else for me becomes imprecise. If the trio tends to black, bad news. When I read with playing-cards I found that it helps enormously to really keep it simple and not deviate from the rule, no matter how much I’d like to tell myself or the other a better story. That goes also for the really nasty cards, when I try to tell myself: ‘this is nasty,’ not just, ‘oh, this doesn’t look too good,’ or ‘it can get better,’ and all that, with a consequence of launching into some, so-called, ’empathic reading’. And finally to answer the other part of your question: I don’t think this person is ambivalent about what she’s doing, so the cards don’t talk about that disparity. They simply say this: ‘this person is avid for money and attention.’ If I were to answer another question, as to what motivates her, as Paul suggests it comes from low self-esteem, I’d throw another layout.


    Patrick Blackburn: Not just a red spread; a read spread too…
    15 hours ago · Unlike · 1

    Patrick Blackburn: But then you might say – all your spreads are read even if they are not red…
    15 hours ago · Unlike · 1

    Fortune Buchholtz: They are read, and have meaning, Patrick Blackburn.
    15 hours ago · Edited · Like

    Enrique Enriquez: An apple got damaged.
    15 hours ago · Edited · Unlike · 2

    Patrick Blackburn: God didn’t make little green applesAnd it don’t rain in Indianapolis in the summertimeAnd there’s no such thing as Doctor SeussOr Disneyland, and Mother Goose, no nursery rhyme
    14 hours ago · Like

    Fortune Buchholtz: Is that a meaning engendered normativity, Patrick Blackburn?
    14 hours ago · Like

    Enrique Enriquez: There is a red principle and a black principle. One is warm, the other one is cold. One is light the other one is dark. One is life the other one is death. They balance, counterbalance, or annul themselves out. They increase and decrease in a scale we can count, and show, with our fingers.
    41 minutes ago · Unlike · 1

    Fortune Buchholtz: Stendhal, Enrique Enriquez, Stendhal.
    38 minutes ago via mobile · Unlike · 2

    Enrique Enriquez: Yes, Fortune, but I was thinking more along the lines of how there is no such thing as a “9 of hearts” or a “seven of Spades”. Those are fabrications card makers made up to sell us red and black.
    34 minutes ago · Unlike · 1

    Camelia Elias: Yes, Enrique, indeed. But you see, the red that is the 9 of hearts is redder, much more red than red.
    31 minutes ago · Like

    Enrique Enriquez: Yes, it is redder than the 8 of hearts. In your picture we got enough distance to see these substances in action: a body of red with a rotten black patch growing. (Incidentally, ‘growing’ actually shows two g’s rowing: gg )
    19 minutes ago · Unlike · 1

    Fortune Buchholtz: Rubedo, nigredo…
    16 minutes ago via mobile · Unlike · 2

    Enrique Enriquez: Eso!
    7 minutes ago · Unlike · 2

    Fortune Buchholtz: Dannebrog – Sørøverflag
    3 minutes ago via mobile · Like

    Enrique Enriquez: For nigredo to turn into albedo, count backwards.
    about a minute ago · Like · 1

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