(3) Divination: a version of the Celtic Cross.
There are many variations of the Celtic Cross and here is one rendering of it. In this form, 'reversals' are never used, that is to say, the cards are always used in their upright positions. Reversal is a feature of tarot reading concocted as late as the twentieth century, so there is no tradition of it. To create a reverse meaning of a card and set it up versus its upright meaning, leads to simplification and polarization of the interpretation of the cards, whereas each card possesses a message that should not be divided in two.
To train oneself to comprehend the full meaning of each picture, one should condemn reversal as an obstruction to this progress. A tarot card includes both positive and negative factors, as well as a certain inner milieu of representational neutrality uneager to be pigeonholed, and reverse readings would reduce the cards to the level of setting the first two ingredients against one another, and losing the third.
In this version of the Celtic Cross, ten cards are used. The first one is placed down and the second laid across it. The following four cards surround them: the third card goes above, the fourth goes to the left, the fifth goes below and the sixth goes to the right. Further, to the right of this six- card cross, there is placed a vertical line of cards, the seventh through tenth, number seven being the bottom one.
The first of the ten cards denotes the querent (the person for whom the cards are being read) and their situation. The issue on their mind during the shuffling would appear here. The card depicts the querent in that circumstance. Some models of the Celtic Cross use a Significator, that is, a card chosen before the reading to signify the querent. The card, of course, would be extracted from the deck prior to shuffling. It would be preferable not to use this, because to have the first card as primarily the issue at hand, and then to a secondary extent as the querent in the situation, reveals far more. The utilization of a Significator would only embody the second of these matters. Also, the querent might be given to self-flattery and select an absurdly inappropriate Significator.
The second card, the one crossing the first, is the atmosphere of the issue, or influence on it. In other variations of the Celtic Cross, there are separate cards indicating what is helpful to the situation and what is a hindrance. I find this 'there are good and bad sides to everything' attitude insufferably bland. There is no reasoning behind such a judgement. If there are both cheering and unpleasant influences on the circumstances, they would be perceptible in the nuances of a single card.
The card positions three, four, five and six are called the Thresholds. The third card, in the 'above' position, is the First Threshold. The fourth, on the left-hand side, is the Second Threshold. The fifth, below, is the Third Threshold and the sixth, on the right-hand side, is the Fourth Threshold. This derivates from many other breeds of Celtic Cross. Often the four cards are placed in this order: below, above, left, right, or in this one: right, below, left, above. It makes more sense to have them go above, left, below, right, because they in this way give the reading direction, flowing from the top down to the right, and ending where the final four cards of the spread are. They also form a logical 1,2,3,4 Threshold circle, and as a circle, the Thresholds could engage in repetition, four leading into one as easily as one leads into two.
Even referring to them as Thresholds is not done in every version of the Celtic Cross. Often two of the cards are 'events' and two of them 'influences', or two of them past and two of them future. Here they are down as
First Threshold: far past or past,
Second Threshold: near past, or the part of the present that is waning in import,
Third Threshold: near future, or the part of the present that is rising in import
and Fourth Threshold: the future, destiny, or far future.
Merely because time moved forward does not mean that 'events' on the interior of the querent go in such linearity. The First Threshold does not simply mean 'past', because it can follow on from the Fourth.
The last four card slots: The seventh is the inner querent, how the querent perceives the external world, how they are positioned in that world.
The eighth is the outer querent, the world around them, and how they would be perceived. The ninth station is that of hopes and fears. Whether there is a hope or a fear here, or both (as there regularly are), depends on the card.
The final card of the spread is called the 'end card'. The reading culminates here. It is the outcome of the issue raised at the start of the reading and that would have been thought of while shuffling. The end card is not to be confused with the Fourth Threshold which is the future, fate and destiny. The end card is frequently inconclusive, like pointing towards a choice to be made, for instance. The tarot rarely reveals more than the querent knows. It assists in getting the querent to admit some home truths to themselves. It makes the querent think. But in many respects it orders the querent's thoughts in its own way...
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by JAMES REEDUCKS, 1930-1995, R.I.P.