DESIGNING A SPREAD FROM WISDOM BOOKS

December is upon us and I’ve started thinking about making gifts. Among the items chosen are books. But not any books. I like to give away books of wisdom, books of classical wisdom, and by classical I mean to say, wisdom that’s forever relevant.

Not only that, but I also like my books of wisdom to be more than the manifestation of re-thinking old ideas.

I sit with one of the achievements this year that made me very happy, as it was the result of collaborative work precisely in the department of wisdom of the fascinating kind: 21+1: The Fortune-teller’s Rules.

As I leaf though the many wondrous pages, an idea hit me. I won’t just give this book away to friends and family for its sheer originality and collective wisdom yet expressed individually, but will make an addition in the form of creating a layout for reading cards that the recipient can personally engage with and benefit from.

As many followers of my work have already acquired 21+1 – thank you – here’s what I suggest in case you think of be-gifting this book (though you can also use the idea in connection with other titles).

Design a spread

Take any of the 37 contributions and read it carefully. Each of these contributions is the result of distilled knowledge that took some serious pains to get to. By distilling the wisdom even further in your own way, you may arrive at something that’s quite deep that addresses your own specific concerns.

Can you see a pattern emerging? How about creating a 3-card spread that contains either one or a series of three questions for which you can read some cards?

I’ll give you an example based on my own contribution.

I titled my fortuneteller’s rules Ten-chi-jin, which is a direct reference to the martial arts idea that unless you have all three on your side, heaven (ten) earth (chi) and humanity (jin), it’s not likely that you’ll win any war you’re engaged in.

As the sages of old in China have conjectured, you may win a war if you’re lucky (ten) and know some open-field (chi) strategy, but if you’re mean to the people (jin) you conquer, they won’t be on your side. The consequence is loss of power, sometimes even before you get to settle comfortably on your throne.

Same thing with the other variables. You can be kind and considerate of the needs of your fellow-humans and the environment, but if the heavenly momentum (read that as the whether) is not with you, you’re fucked and the other will win.

Fortune-telling is a battle-field and the point is to win. What you’re at war with is confusion and delusion. What you’re after is absolute clarity. My essay charts how you can go about it by simply considering not what you know, but what you see, things stretching from noting the tone of the question to what’s represented on each card, from balance, lines, color, tension, speed, space, function, to proportion and luck. 22 variations on a theme.

Now, the point here is not to review my own book, especially since there’s enough familiarity with my thinking and writing, but I want to say that I’ve gained a lot simply by taking my fellow cartomancers’ words to heart, and then, on the basis of their wisdom, devise a 3-card spread – though larger layouts can also be thought of.

Concretely, here’s what I did with my own contribution. I simply asked this question related to one of my latest projects:

Do I have Ten-chi-jin?

The cards – Star, Moon, Sun – were very generous and gave me a straight answer:

I have the heaven and the people, but not the earth.

This gave me an incentive to go back to the drawing board and devise a new strategy, as it won’t do to navigate my open-field in a moon-like manner, when I can only see distortions and projections of reality.

Personalize it

My idea is that if you think of giving someone a book of wisdom, you can personalize your gift by adding to the book a sheet of paper that contains either a question that asks the other to reflect on a specific idea in a chapter, contribution, etc, or, if it’s divination we’re talking about, you can share your own 3-card layout that’s inspired by a chapter that you found significant.

21+1 Fortune-teller’s Rules lends itself beautifully to this practice. I hope you’ll continue to be inspired by this book. Thank you for the many wonderful words about it already, for being moved and crying downright (thank you for it Sami Knowles), shared privately and in the social media.

Amazon still has a few copies on stock, but for honest handling (no inflated prices here) and expediency, I suggest you support Barnes and Nobles.

Stay in the loop for cartomantic course.  Next in line is the Playing Cards Foundation course starting in February 2019.

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