Four Position Tarot Spreads
The order of the elemental positions is Fire, Water, Air and Earth, recognisable to students of Qabalah as being exactly the same as YHVH. (Note that we read from right to left in accordance with Hebrew). In Elemental Dignities, we can consider all the Fire Tarot cards to have a home in the Fire Position, all the Water Tarot cards reside in the Water Position, and so on for Air and Earth.
This is the key to understanding how the Positions can influence each other. Astrologers should have no problems with this concept, since they have been using similar techniques and ideas for centuries. Since we are looking at how the Elemental Positions influence each other, we will keep things simple by only considering only one card or element on each position.
Lets start with an element card on its ‘home’ position. By the rules of Elemental Dignities, we will know that we have an excess of each element, and its characteristics will be exaggerated. Excesses have to go somewhere, but we have a ‘locked’ situation, which is clearly not satisfactory. In a reading this is a clear sign that it will not change for some time. Mathematically, any four cards have sixteen combinations. It would be tedious to write a description for all sixteen versions, let alone for the reader to plough through, but it is a good practical exercise to try, particularly in a group, where each person takes turns to describe and work out the next combination.
Advanced Four Position Spreads
In this version, we have three cards in each position, and things start to get seriously complicated. How a situation as described by Three Cards changes over a period of time, starting at Fire and working towards Earth. If we work logically through the levels, we would have something like this:
- 1 Card analysis
- 2 Card analysis
- 3 Card analysis
- 3 Card analysis in Elemental Position
- Elemental Position Interactions
There is a major objection to this process in that the actual Tarot cards will be different in each elemental position. This is true, and I do not intend to spend a lot of time describing this spread. Elementally, what I describe is valid, and the insights can be very powerful. Perhaps the best way of approaching this Spread is to make the Principal cards the focus, imagining them as solo cards on each Elemental Position.
How much weight to apply to actions 3, 4 and 5 depends on the clarity of information gained. Fortunately, with experience the Tarot Reader ‘knows’ exactly which card is stronger or weaker without doing all this analysis, and it is only a matter of corroborating any conclusion by working through the Elemental Dignities. Another way of understanding the change of interpretation of the number of cards is to relate them to the qabalistic levels of creation:
- Y – Atziluth – Aces
- YH – Briah – Knight or Queen
- YHV – Yetzirah – Prince
- YHVH – Assiah – Princess
Many insights can be gained looking at this table using Elemental Dignities, in particular the Formula of the Tetragrammaton, discussed by Crowley in his Book of Thoth.