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Monday, February 8, 2010

Oswald Wirth's Tarot Spread

I came across Oswald Wirth’s Tarot Spread while reading Mary K. Greer’s blog:
You can read about the history of the spread on Mary’s blog. Here on this blog, I am posting a reading I did for myself using the spread.

First, here are the instructions:

Ask a specific question, and using only the Major Arcana, shuffle and cut. Then, taking cards from the top of the deck (*see alternate technique below), place them in the positions indicated.

The first two cards are the lawyers and the evidence presented by the two sides.


The first card (left) is affirmative, showing what is in favor of (“for”) the situation. It points to what it is wise to do and those people or qualities on which one can depend.

The second card (right) is negative (the opposing counsel) and represents what is “against” it. It points to hostilities that should be avoided or feared: the fault, enemy, danger or the “pernicious temptation.”

The third card (above) is the judge who discusses the evidence, weighs the pros and cons, and may arbitrate between the for and against. The judge helps clarify the decision to be made and gives advice as to what’s required.

In the fourth card (below) the “sentence,” result or solution is pronounced. Taking into account the synthesis of the fifth card, this “voice” of the oracle offers a look into what comes from the decision. It may contain a “teaching” about what style, attitude or demeanor is ultimately to be aimed for.

The fifth or center card is determined by adding the numbers of the first four cards and reducing to 22 or less. It is a synthesis of what has gone before, and points out what is of prime importance on which everything else, the situation itself, depends.

The Fool is considered 0 when adding and 22 when it is the result of the addition. The fifth card may be the same as one of the other four.

* Wirth suggests a special way of selecting the first four cards that you can use if you like. Shuffle the Major Arcana and then ask the querent for the first number between 1 and 22 that comes into her head. Count down that many cards and place the final card of the count in position one. Shuffle again and repeat for each of the next three positions.

-->Now my reading. Using my Sharman-Caselli deck, I asked the question: What advice can you give me about my writing career?

1. Attorney For (Do): THE HERMIT
I need to meditate on this subject, to search within for insight into the direction I should take, rather than busily scurrying about performing assignments and tasks. I also sense encouragement in this card to teach others and share what I have learned so far, to help them develop their writing abilities and goals.

2. Attorney Against (Don’t): THE MOON
The Moon in this position seems to warn against believing in illusions where my career is concerned. I may be challenged by uncertainty or lack of clear vision in this matter. My unconscious or subconscious mind can play tricks on me or deceive me into believing that which isn’t true. I should not take anything at face value or let my emotions carry me away. I need to realize that I am probably not seeing everything there is to see, or perhaps not seeing things clearly at all times.

How lovely to have this lady as the judge. I associate her with the planet Venus, which happens to rule the sign associated with The Hermit (Taurus). This might be considered a conflict of interest! But seriously, The Empress does seem to lean in favor of The Hermit’s position. She is down to Earth and practical, and encourages me to take a realistic view.

4. Sentence (Outcome): THE WHEEL OF FORTUNE
The Wheel in this position seems to suggest that I need to be prepared for ups and downs, for runs of luck and periods of disappointment in my writing career – and to avoid letting these affect me too much emotionally. It is important not to let myself be flung forward and backward, up and down as the wheel turns, but to maintain stability and balance. There will always be elements I cannot control, but many things are within my power. In particular, I can decide how to respond to my situation and circumstances.

5. Center (Summary): 9 + 18 + 3 + 10 = 40 = 4, THE EMPEROR
In summary, action, decisiveness, and leadership are needed as I continue my writing career. I need to acknowledge and accept my role as my own “master” in this situation, capable and skilled at choosing the best direction to go. I need to respect my own judgment, and use the insights offered by The Hermit to my best advantage.


  1. Isn't this a great spread! I loved your question and may have to borrow it for myself :O)

  2. i love the pictures of the cards; what deck are you using?

  3. Hello anphivena! The deck is the Sharman-Caselli Tarot.

  4. Nice. One question. What about if comes reverse?

    1. Hello Fabio. I choose not to use reversals with this spread. In fact, I very rarely use reversals at all in my readings. However, if reversals are used, you would simply interpret them the way you have decided you want to interpret reversals: for example, opposite meaning of upright card, increased or decreased energy for the card, delays or obstacles, internal influence (as opposed to external).


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~ Zanna