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.


New Spread: Root and Branch

Once again, it is time for a new spread to play with. After spinning in circles and dabbling in negatives, it seems like time to return to the roots of this exercise: one spread, one idea, one story.

To that end, we have the spread I call Root and Branch, because it plants roots in fixed ideas, centers on a trunk, and has branching possibilities. The metaphor is, of course, drawn from trees and bushes. For convenience, I’ll describe it laying on its side. Naturally you could build the layout upright. And if working across a table with a few friends, I would recommend doing just that.

The Deal

Begin by shuffling the entire deck, taking care to mix the orientations of the cards.

Deal a few cards, perhaps three, for the roots.

Add a single card for the trunk.

Finally deal a few more cards, perhaps three, for the branches.


The roots are the source of conflict or the background on which to stand a tale.

The trunk stands at the center. The key element, the key player, the key object, the core of the story. The story flows from the roots through the trunk.

The branches are the goals, the options, or the paths to an end. No single branch is the right branch, any more than any single root is the most important.

The story stands in the tension between the roots and branches, based on the facts of the roots and the possibilities of the branches.