The Fifteen Card Tarot Spread

The Fifteen Card spread is simpler than it appears, since it is actually five groups of three cards, which indicates that it is based upon the four elements and spirit uniting them at the centre.

The Fifteen Card Tarot Spread appears in Chic Cicero's book, The New Golden Dawn Ritual Tarot. Cicero complicates the spread unnecessarily, so I will present a simpler method of understanding the dynamics of reading it using Elemental Dignities.

  • 13
  • 9
  • 5
  • 4
  • 8
  • 12
  • 2
  • 1
  • 3
  • 14
  • 10
  • 6
  • 7
  • 11
  • 15

The numbering of the cards describes a spiral starting from the centre and progressing anti-clockwise.

The cards are grouped together in threes:

1 - Querent

This card represents the querent, the nature of the question or problem, and the main influences which surround him/her

2, 3 - Circumstances, personality

Along with card 1, these are the primary cards of the spread. They describe the nature of the circumstances and the personality of the Querent

4, 8, 12 - Potential Future

These cards show potential future events and influences. They show what direction the querent's life will naturally take, unless alternate steps are employed to change the course of events

5, 9, 13 - Alternative actions

These cards represent an alternative course of action that the querent may choose to take

6, 10, 14 - Psychological basis

These cards indicate the psychological basis and implications of the situation. They assist the querent in making whatever decision is needed

7, 11, 15 - Destiny or Karma

These cards show forces at work that are beyond the querent's control — destiny or karma. The querent must be able to adapt and learn from them

Elemental Attributions of the spread

There are enough clues in Cicero's definitions to attribute the elements. The centre 3 positions will be Akasha. For the other positions, they seem to be slightly modified versions of the four positions in the Opening of the Key Spread, so Destiny/Karma (7,11,15) would be Fire; Air is 6,10,14 - 'psychological basis'; Earth represents the future - 4,8,12, which leaves Water as 5,9,13. Note how inimical elements are in opposing corners.

  • 1, 2, 3 Akasha
  • 4, 8, 12 Earth, Future
  • 5, 9, 13 Water, Emotions
  • 6, 10, 14 Air, psychological basis
  • 7, 11, 15 Fire, destiny karma

Hints to Reading the Spread

The centre card of each block can be treated as the Principal, and the cards around it become Modifiers, just as how we analysed Three Card Spreads in the Elemental Dignities section. We can also take into account the elemental basis. Since we have an implicit spiral in the ordering of the spread, we can assume that one of the modifiers is biased towards an earlier stage. So, for example, in the Air section, 10 is the principal, while 6 shows earlier influences and 14 indicates later influences.

When I tried this spread years ago, it never occurred to me to use Elemental Dignities, so I naturally followed the spiral order of the cards; I got very confused and gave up using the spread. As an experiment, you might try reading this spread using both methods and see which suits you most.