Mary K. Greer calls this Jodorowsky’s Three-Card Theosophic Sum Spread. It uses only the Major Arcana. We can ask a question or simply let the cards identify an issue for us. I am using Jodorowsky’s layout, with the first three cards laid out from left to right (A B C) and then a column of four cards (descending) to the right of them. It seems that Jodorowsky did not read the first three cards, only the subsequent ones. However, I am going use a slight variation favored by both Mary and Helen, in which I read the first three cards as a clue to the issue to be explored, and the rest of the cards as shown below.
(1) Pull three cards, laying them out left to right. These are cards A, B, and C. They will reveal the issue to be explored.
(2) Add the numerical values of A, B, and C. Reduce any sum over 23 (22 = The Fool). Place the resulting card to the side and upper right of the three cards. This card represents Underlying Aspects of the Question or Issue.
(3) Add the numerical values of cards A and C. Reduce any sum over 23. Place the resulting card under the card derived in Step 2. This card represents Exterior Aspects of the Question or Issue.
(4) Add the numerical values of cards A and B. Reduce any sum over 23. Place the resulting card under the card derived in Step 3. This card represents Receptive Influences (What You Are Receptive To).
(5) Add the numerical values of cards B and C. Reduce any sum over 23. Place the resulting card under the card derived in Step 4. This card represents Active Influences (Likely Actions).
For this reading, I am using the Crystal Visions Tarot by Jennifer Galasso (U.S. Games Systems, Inc.)
I begin with the foundation of the reading, cards A, B, and C.
(A) THE CHARIOT (7) . . . . . (B) THE MOON (15) . . . . . (C) STRENGTH (8)
Quite a bit of contrast here, with The Chariot being a card of victory, self-confidence, and control, much like Strength, which typically represents courage, confidence, and willpower. In the center we have The Moon, a card with a very different “vibe,” often symbolizing dreams, the subconscious, and intuition. The two main characters on The Chariot and Strength look away from The Moon, as if not interested in or not aware of her presence or influence. The woman on The Moon faces us front and center. The message I get here is that the issue to be explored is something significant or meaningful that I am aware of at a subconscious level but that doesn’t seem to be manifesting itself or expressing itself in my actions or “active” decision-making. I also get a sense of “past, present and future” with these cards, with The Chariot pointing to decisions and actions from the past, The Moon calling my attention to the here and now, and Strength showing me a path forward. I also notice that the number 15 (The Moon) represents the sum of The Chariot (7) and Strength (8).
Let’s see what the other four cards can tell us about this matter. Following the prescribed formula:
Underlying Aspects of the Question or Issue: THE EMPRESS
A + B + C = 7 + 15 + 8 = 30 = 3 + 0 = 3
The nurturing, harmonious nature of The Empress underlies the issue described by the three cards above. A strong symbol of feminine influence and character, The Empress brings life, growth, and rebirth. It is easy for me to see The Empress and The Moon combining their energies to encourage my efforts to understand messages from my subconscious and to use them to support growth at many different levels.
Exterior Aspects of the Question or Issue: THE MOON
A + C = 7 + 8 = 15
Viewed primarily as a card that reflects my “interior,” here The Moon represents “exterior aspects of the issue,” which tells me that whether I accept or realize it or not, my subconscious does play a part in what goes on around me or “outside” me, or at the very least, in the way I perceive those exterior aspects. I might also interpret this to mean that my view of these exterior aspects depends a great deal on the limited light provided by The Moon. In other words, I may not be seeing or understanding those exterior aspects clearly.
Receptive Influences (What I Am Receptive To): THE FOOL
A + B = 7 + 15 = 22
I am receptive to taking a chance, to being spontaneous, and to the belief that potential is unlimited. This may all be well and good, but I need to be sure I am not being naïve or “foolish.” On this card, the woman is entranced by the butterflies all around her that she does not look where she is going and is about to step off a ledge.
Active Influences (Likely Actions): THE HIEROPHANT
B + C = 15 + 8 = 23 = 5
Of course, my least favorite card in the Major Arcana has to make an appearance. I always struggle with this card because its (to me, obvious) association with organized religion is a big turn-off for me. Religious tradition, order, rules, and dogma hold no appeal whatsoever for me. However, it almost looks like the cards are saying that even though I am receptive to taking chances and “free thinking,” my actions will continue to follow a certain line, never straying far from a conservative, conformist approach. The energy of The Moon within me may remain below the radar of people I encounter, acting as a prompt or influence that doesn’t often show on the surface. This could be a good thing in some ways. It might not be useful or wise to put The Moon in charge.
I think it’s important to note the fact that The Moon appears twice in this reading and at the center of the original three cards. I almost always feel drawn to this card in any Tarot deck, and the appearance of wolves on the card is interesting, given that I consider the wolf one of my spirit animals. I feel as if the cards are asking me what I am going to “do” with my innermost feelings, subconscious ideas, and psychic inclinations. How am I going to incorporate that energy into a healthy “whole” (vs. suppressing it or allowing it full reign)?