Sometimes when I’m doing a reading I find myself in a very intuitively fluid space and I don’t feel like the structure of a spread is helpful. Some days I just need to lay the cards and see what they tell me. In cases like this I usually shuffle and select three, putting them down in a row in front of me. I particularly like using three cards, I really connect with that number, I believe a lot of people do, something about the symmetry of three. With a central card and two flanking cards important interactions can be revealed and explored, opposing forces can be identified and the heart of the issue becomes clearer. Its also a lot of fun working with so much freedom and fluidity.
With no designated positions, the thing that I find most helpful is to consider the card interactions. How is the card energy flowing? Here is an example:
I did this reading for myself not long ago. I was struggling with fear and self doubt about a course of action that I wanted to take. I saw the Knight of Wands, as the only court card, to be representing myself taking this action. I frequently think of the Knight of Wands as a person who is executing a plan, unlike his counterpart the Knight of Swords who is jumping in with no plan. Because this card showed up I felt confident that my decision had been well thought out and was ready to be executed. Since the Knight is moving decisively to the left, it became clear that he was moving towards the Ten of Cups, indicating that moving forward with my plan had the potential to bring me a great deal of emotional satisfaction. Beyond that lay The World, which said to me that not only could this decision bring me a great deal of joy, but it was an important step on my life path that would profoundly impact the next stage of my life and also heralded the beginning of that next stage. You really can’t get much more of an affirmation than that. 🙂
But what if the Knight had been facing away from the other cards? In that case I would have read them as telling me that my decision would take me away from happiness and my life path. I would have felt the need to take time for some soul searching and consider my motivations for my decision, and ponder if there was something that I hadn’t considered.
What if the Knight had been in the middle? Well, he would have been facing The World, but turning his back on the Ten of Cups, which would still indicate to me that the decision was moving me in the right direction, towards the next step in my life, but warned me that it would require that I get out of my comfort zone considerably, to leave behind what I know and to be prepared for that.
I like this system for relationship readings especially. I usually scan for Court Cards to see if the people involved are explicitly represented. Once I identify them I see how they interact. Are they facing each other? Is there something between them? Is it positive or negative? Does it appear to be helping or hurting? Is there something ahead of them or behind them? What if there are no court cards in a reading? I’ve had people represented by minor arcana cards before, usually based on an action they are taking or a profession. A craftsman or artist could easily be signified by the Three of Pentacles or the Eight of Pentacles. If both people are represented by court cards are they complimentary? A Knight of Cups paired with a King of Swords might illustrate a relationship where the dynamic is stressful because one person is quite emotionally immature and the other is a strong willed thinker and not much in touch with their emotions at all. They could easily frustrate eachother because the King doesn’t understand why the Knight doesn’t operate in a more rational way and the Knight feels like the King is cold and distant. A Queen of Cups, a more emotionally mature individual, may actually compliment a King of Swords if they can approach their different perspectives with mindfulness and a willingness to understand the other. The number of combinations and possibilities are endless. What if you have two Kings in a relationship? Sounds like there may be two Alpha personalities vying for control. This of course can be applied to positioned spreads as well. Card interactions are a really wonderful way to add depth to a reading and gain valuable information.
I hope you guys enjoy experimenting with this free form style of reading. I would love to hear. Have a great week.