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New Spread: Again the River

Water has figured prominently in our public eye of late. Let’s return to see what happens when we dip our feet in the same river once again. Or is that really the same river?

As before, we deal a handful of cards from both decks, and seek to use them in order to drive our story forward, ideally without getting caught in an eddy, finding a sinkhole, or encountering a flood.

As always, remember to have fun!

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New Spread: Eclipsed

In synchronicity with the Total Solar Eclipse of 20171, let’s let an eclipse upset our deals.

Eclipsed

Deal

In addition to the full deck, you’ll need something round roughly the same scale as a card. I’m using a coaster2 with a diameter fairly close to the diagonal of a card. Extra style points go for using a coaster showing the face of the full moon, naturally.

Deal a fan of several cards, and drop the coaster on them so that it covers some or all of the card faces. Style points should also be awarded for relating the amount of card covered to the conditions of the eclipse. Where my keyboard is really located it will only see a maximum eclipse of about 80% of the area. So I won’t allow my coaster to cover more that 80% of any card.

Meanings

The eclipse is often seen as an omen. In story, it’s occurrence can be used by a hero to sway the ignorant. In person, a total eclipse is an experience of a lifetime. Interpretation of the cards can grow out of the many myths and beliefs about eclipses and their significance to individuals and even whole societies.

The three cards show something openly, something hidden, and something obscured. The moon hides more or less of any of these depending on how it falls.

The thing most hidden by the moon is the key to unlocking a tale to tell.

Example

The sample spread above shows a fan of apple, Past Experience, and fish eclipsed. The moon covers most of the fish.

This is an omen for a curious fish, reminding him of the past, and the dangers of accepting apples from strangers. He escaped the hook once. But once may be the only chance he will get. He must hope that one chance is all he needs.


  1. Visible along a seventy mile wide line extending roughly from Portland Oregon to Charleston South Carolina on August 21, 2017. Try NASA and here for lots of details and advice. 
  2. Yes, I’m actually using a circle drawn by the same software that is drawing the card faces. But I modeled that circle after the coaster sitting on my desk next to my keyboard. 

New Spread: Cards in the Balance

To light a candle is to cast a shadow…
—Ursula K. Le Guin, A Wizard of Earthsea

This month we will visit both the light side and the dark side, whether of duct tape or of the force, and play with tales that balance the two.

Balance what, you might well ask?

Pick up your cards, and notice that there is a different word at each end. For most cards, these words are pairs that could be balanced. Some only figuratively, some quite literally.

The Spread

For this spread, we will stand an actor on a base. Lean too far to either end of the base, and balance is lost. The tale lies somewhere in the tension between the extremes.

For the base, deal a single card, placed horizontally.

For the actor, add a single card above it, near the base’s center, haphazardly. Add a second card above the first, also somewhat haphazardly. Taken together, these cards name the actor and provide the context.

Interpret the base as you will, drawing on context both obvious and obscure. The tale might be about freedom vs. duty, light vs. dark, good vs. evil, claustrophobia vs. agoraphobia, yin vs. yang, or set along any other spectrum you can imagine.

Example

The cards dealt are

Base: infinite — limited
Actor: gentleman puppet

The gentleman must prevail in spite of all the strings pulled by others, and find his center between the desires of those around him pulling him every which way, and his own personal goals. His success will be a path that walks between those extremes, sometimes playing those pulling his strings off of each other in order to maintain his own balance.

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New Spread: The Lottery

As they always say, “You can’t win if you don’t play…”

The Lottery

Deal

For this batch we’ll try something a little different. In addition to the Oracle cards, you will need some dice. Just one die of any size and shape will do, but it will be easier if you have two or more. I will use two six-sided dice for the blog, known in tabletop gaming as 2d6.

Roll the dice, and record the numbers on each dia from left to right across the table in front of you, along with their total. This is the daily draw and a bonus value.

Separate the deck into the abstract and concrete packets.

Deal three pairs, each an abstract paired with a concrete noun.

Interpretation

The first pair along with the dice roll represent the grim reality, in answer to yesterday’s hopes and dreams.

The second pair says something about the situation today.

The third pair identifies the hopes and dreams for tomorrow.

The story today likely picks up from where yesterday left off. Of course, changes of point of view are encouraged. This is an opportunity to try writing something where you don’t know until you deal tomorrow’s cards where the tale will lead you. Of course, you are welcome to plan a longer story arc, and then face the adage that no plan ever survives contact with the enemy.

Whatever you do, remember that the goal is to expand your thinking about a tale and above all, to have fun.

Example

  • Dice roll: 1, 1, total 2
  • Grim Reality: Abhor, Disguise
  • Present Day: Fate, Beer
  • Hopes and Dreams: War, and window

The grim reality is a roll of snake eyes and a hated disguise or costume. The setting is an ominous pub, with hopes and dreams of a window of war.

The story could be of a disaffected mercenary, losing at craps while waiting for his rapidly narrowing chance to make a difference in the war.

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New Spread: Spirals on my Mind

Once again, the time for a new spread is upon us.

Since we’ve tried rows, trees, clouds, and circles, let’s try spirals for while.

Spirals on my Mind

Shuffle the entire deck, reversing cards freely.

Beginning at the center of the mat, lay a number of cards out in a spiral pattern, starting at the center and working outwards. These posts will use a single turn of a spiral that grows just fast enough that the cards are mostly visible. You could use other kinds of spirals, or just push the cards around to suit you.

Start at the center and work out, or at the outside and work inwards.

Working outwards carries a sense of an open ended tale, as if the tale need not end when you run out of cards.

Working inwards carries a sense of a looming barrier as the space for each card or idea is increasingly hemmed in by the cards that came before.

Either way, the cards are but stepping stones along the path of the tale. The hero, his goal, and all else is at your whim.

Example

Dealt Strength, Infinite, carrot, lantern, Purity, gentleman, Reconciliation, birdcage, and Hope.

Beginning from a position of great strength, with powerful vision, our hero could be Sir Galahad the Pure on a quest. A quest that begins with a reconciliation with an old enemy, and ends in hope.

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New spread: A Wink and a Smile

It is time for a new spread. Since April Fool’s Day has safely passed, let’s consider a nod to the fools among all of us. A nod, a wink, and a smile, that is.

Wink and a Smile

Deal

Deal five cards total from both decks shuffled together. The first two cards are the eyes, the last three are the mouth. You can draw a circle for the head around them all, and add a nose if you desire.

Place each eye oriented horizontally or vertically as randomly as you feel like doing. The eyes, of course, need not match.

Place the three cards of the mouth generally horizontally, but with each end turned up, left straight, or turned down at random.

Interpretation

The funny face sets the mood. Let it mock you. Let it inspire you. At least, let it speak to you.

The eyes represent perception, one observing the past, and the other the future. A closed eye is looking inwards. An open eye could be seeing anything.

The mouth is the thread of the tale. Beware the twisted tongue of the slick salesman and find your meaning figuratively in the mouth.

Example

The top image shows:

Eyes: butter knife, Free Will
Mouth: stick, sunk, Grace

The face is smiling, and both eyes are open. A mistake in the past involving a knife has led to a fall from grace. From here, the only way forward is up.

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New Spread: Veiled Secrets

Veiled Secrets

The story is not always plain and clear in the cards. Sometimes you are looking through as if through veil, imagining what secrets lie beneath. For this spread, we’ll toss some cards on a table and drop a random lacy veil across them. Some cards will be harder to make out than the others. Some might be hidden almost entirely.

Which cards are the secret? Well that is up to you.

The Actor is probably described by the first card or two. The secret lies somewhere after that. The other cards are distractions, which may be used as little or as much as needed to keep the secret.

Spread

  • Shuffle the cards
  • Toss some on the table, one at a time
  • Toss some fishnet, tule, or fine lace on top
  • Notice which cards were dealt first to signify the Actor

Example

On a puddle of blue (#80b1d3) are thrown
Protection, darkness, War, tuxedo, Poison, Carrot, and Rat

Here, the Actor is signified by protection in darkness. The secret could be any of the rest, but perhaps poison is too obvious a choice. A poisoned carrot, however, might be interesting.

This could lead us to a story about Eve, a spy who works most effectively under cover of darkness when most sensible people are looking anywhere else if they are even awake at all. Her mission tonight is to access and copy the contents of the carrot, a slender orange container holding the upcoming week’s encryption keys, without either Bob or Alice noticing. The keys are only of full value to Eve if neither Bob nor Alice know she has been near the carrot. If they have the least suspicion, they will feed the carrot to the rabbit rather than take the risk that Eve is listening.