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New Spread: The Comet Appears

At the start of the new year is always a time for searching for signs of things to come. The appearance of a comet in the night sky (or worse, in the daytime sky) is always a portent of something.

For this spread, there is always a comet. But what it means is in the cards and up to you.

Deal a cluster of three cards as the head, and a trail of several more as the tail.

Is the tail ragged or smooth? Is the head tight or loose? Is the comet bright in the sky? Visible by day? Is it coming right for us?

Deal the cards and answer the questions posed.

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New Spread: Shingled Roof

In many parts of the world, rooftops are bracing for a load of snow. Let’s sweep that snow aside and see what stories the roof has to tell.

Shuffle the deck and deal three rows of three cards overlapped and staggered like shingles. Deal from the bottom row up so the roof will properly shed the rain, sleet and snow.

The last row dealt, at the top, represents the past.

The second row, hidden in the middle, represents the present.

The first row, hidden at the bottom, represents the future.

In each row, the left card represents something sinister, the middle card something neutral, and the right card something auspicious.

Example

You chase the frogs off the roof to reveal
hints of the past Fearlessness, Lantern, and fowl;
hints of the present Puppet, Failure, and Certainty;
and hints of the future Support, Wisdom, and Carrot.

The ever-present roosting chickens were the light of your life, despite your pervasive feelings of dread whenever the descendants of the once-mighty dinosaurs approached. Forebodings of feathers gave support to your fears, leaving you constantly at the mercy of certain failure like a puppet on tangled strings. Or perhaps there is a chance to overcome those fears, learn to see by the lantern’s light and find your glimpse of a golden age to come.

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New Spread: Trick or Treat

Guess what time of year it is?

Time for a good trick, or perhaps a good treat. Two sides of the same coin; both fraught with possibilities. Perhaps you don’t even know which is needed until the door opens.

Deal two pairs of cards. A pair of abstract cards symbolize the trick. A pair of concrete cards symbolize the treat.

Focus your story on one pair or the other. But feel free to allow the unused pair to loom over the action and influence anything (or everything) through fear, intimidation, or even temptation.

What tempts you today? The trick? or the Treat?

Above all, remember to have fun with it.

Example

The Trick: Prudence Racket
The Treat: Eye Birdcage
all bathed in violet (#5F007F) light.

In hindsight, there was no real choice at all. I could have allowed the trap to spring, leaving me holding the bag at the end of the day while the alarms ring. I would go home with nothing, if I was allowed to leave the scene at all. Or, I could immediately snatch the bird in the cage. No alarms. Just a tasty snack.

Not that it ever is that easy.

My lunge for the cage fell short. The bird saw me coming and went off like an alarm all by itself. And I was reduced to slinking away without my planned tasty yellow treat.

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New Spread: Showstopping Number

Your life is a musical.

Your cards describe a showstopping musical number.

Write the song, or write about the aftermath of the song. Either way, you need to find the title and lyrics in the cards.

One pertinent question is whether your characters know they are in a musical before, during, and after that happens.

Divide the deck into abstract and concrete cards. Shuffle each half, and deal a pair from each half. The pair of concrete cards are the title of the song. The pair of abstract cards set the mood.

Performing your song in public is optional.

Example

Title: Frog fork
Mood: Impulsiveness Against all odds
On a field of blue (#80b1d3) bordered in black (#070707)

A young frog, fresh from the swamp sets out to seek his fortune. At every fork in the road, he chooses his way seemingly at random. Ultimately the fates are in control, but its going to be a bumpy ride.

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New Spread: Lava

The floor is lava, the carpet and furniture (and drapes) are safe.

No the entire island of Hawaii is not melting. But Hawaii is evidence that if enough lava piles up in one place, the result can be amazing.

Lava does flow, is hot, sometimes splashes, and is always something to be wary of.

Deal a meandering path of cards. The flow runs hot at the start and cools as it goes.

The cards either the flow itself of what it flows over. Your choice, but choose wisely. Then again, it is always your tale to tell, so choose as you wish!

Example

The path: Strength, Lantern, dog, teddy bear, Past experience, sunk, and nose

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New Spread: Walk in the Dreamlands

Since Spring has arrived in a fashion almost completely unlike Spring, let us now toy with unexpected twists and turns and take a walk in The Dreamlands, where everything you see is resting only on the tissue of your dreams.

Dreams are one way your mind sorts its experiences to find the unexpected interrelationships.

While that sorting is happening, things are a little less logical, a little more twisty, and sometimes simply jump from scene to scene without logic, rhyme or reason.

Shuffle all the cards, and if you are daring, even let some of them get flipped over so that they are face up in a face down deck.

Deal about seven cards to the table, flowing across in front of you. The cards are the pivots that twist the flow of the dream. Take your Silver Key in hand, find your way through the Enchanted Wood, and if you return to tell the tale, recount the dream that you had.

Example

On a puddle of pale peach we have: sunk, Frog, Abhor, Limited, dog, chicken, and Knowledge

This is a journey that began under water, fought off killer frogs, turned around to hate the way you came, found yourself turning in place like a dog trying to settle for a nap but unable to get comfortable in a chicken’s nest, and for one blinding instant knowing the secret to a perfect omelet served on your grandmother’s prized peach china.

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New Spread: Paint me a Picture

Paint me a picture, draw me a map, write me a song. Describe a person, place or thing, or the environment of a person, place or thing, at a single moment in time. Look into the past, present, or future. Just don’t let the hands on the clock move. If you have ever wanted to channel the ghost of Proust, seize the moment before it is lost. (Just consider using few words…)

Shuffle the whole deck.

Deal a card to the table. This is the central object or theme.

Deal four more cards around it to give it a frame. These cards color the scene in some way. Use the framing cards as little or as much as you like.

Together, this spread is a still life of sorts. Let it model for you, and describe the scene it represents. Be as specific and vivid as you possibly can.

The example deal shows a bat framed by Carrot, Peace, Phone, and Bomb on a lavender background.

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New Spread: It’s a Black and White World

Take all the polarizing rhetoric to its natural conclusion. There are no nuances, no colors, not even shades of grey. Ignore those colored patches on the cards, they are just noise to you.

Black and White World

Our cards stand for the most extreme, absurd, narrow, or harsh interpretations only.

As a reminder, we deal them over a black and/or white background, no shades of grey here.

Note that any subject can be spun into absurdist rhetoric, the stories need not be (and likely should not be) born of the political moment. The goal is to have fun with it, not to create life-long enemies. Unless you want to create enemies over the merits of fish over chickens, of course!

The Deal

  • Shuffle the entire deck.
  • Deal three cards in “Tiny Stonehenge” formation.
  • Call the bottom two cards the participants.
  • Call the top card the topic.

Interpretation

The participants discuss the topic, but in terms and viewpoints as polarized as possible. They admit no middle ground, no compromise, no shades of grey between their black and white. Worse, they don’t even agree on the nature of the topic. The left participant sees the topic from its left end, and the right participant see it from the right.

The story need not be strictly in the form of a dialog, of course. For example, it can be written from a single point of view without respect for the real views of the other participant.

For that matter, don’t feel restricted to only two participants, but only two are chosen by the deal of the cards.

And do always remember that the real goal is to have fun!

Example

We find disguise and fork discussing beauty vs. intelligence. Disguise sees only beauty and fork sees only intelligence.

This could be a debate about the merits of Miss Universe vs. the Nobel prizes.

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New Spread: Falling Leaves

Time marches on bringing with it a change of seasons and a new spread.

Leaves Fall Where They May

Fall is the time when the trees notice that the halcyon days of summer are over, and it is nearly time to nap for the winter. And naturally, their leaves are found everywhere.

For this spread, the cards fall as leaves do. You get the opportunity to rake up the cards and compost them into new ideas. You might find the occasional card landing face down, or even possibly cards blowing in from neighboring decks. Regardless, you get to pick it all up.

The Deal

Shuffle the complete deck, and toss a few cards haphazardly onto the table. For extra amusement, salt in a few cards from any other decks you may have lying around. Flashcards. Tarot. Pinochle. Fluxx. Old Maid. Uno. Whatever you have to let blow on to the table will add to the fun, possibly even an actual leaf! Don’t fret about any face-down cards. Ignore them completely, play around them, or turn them face up at your whim.

Just please do have fun with it and don’t actually put the cards in a compost heap!

Example

We find scattered a mirror, widget, apple, Prudence, Wisdom, and Endurance. You can’t actually see prudence, it is hiding behind wisdom. There’s probably a message there. The apple is nearly speared on one of the uncountable prongs of the widget, which seems like a reasonable place for it.

The combination of the mirror and apple always makes me think of classic fairy tales. Of course, neither prudence nor wisdom usually figure very strongly on those, so I might mix in either an Aesop fable or a Kipling Just So story.

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New Spread: Root and Branch Again

As the leaves think about changing colors and leaving the branches bare for the winter, I’m once again reminded of the dual structure of a tree. We see a network of branches overhead, and if you strip the dirt away, a network of roots below.

Let’s consider the tree as a source of inspiration.

The roots anchor it to the earth, provide stability, and most of the nutrients.

The branches carry the leaves to great heights, allowing them to see sky and photosynthesize most of the year.

For the roots, we will deal from the Concrete cards. For the branches, we will deal from the Abstract cards. Connecting the two sets is the trunk of our story.