The Rings - A 78-Card Tarot Spread

The Layout

Below is a chart of the layout of The Rings. Along the top and left side are numbered axes to assist in the placement of the cards. Each of the rest of the colored boxes represents a card, with the numbers in the boxes representing the order in which the cards are placed. Each of those numbers links to a latter part of this document in order to describe the meaning of that position. This layout takes about three feet by five feet of space and takes a good deal of time, about two to five hours.

× 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19
A 46 45 47
B 49 22 76 48 21 75 50 23 77
C 52 25 43 73 51 24 42 72 53 26 44 74
D 55 28 16 13 19 40 54 27 15 12 18 39 56 29 17 14 20 41 78
E 58 31 37 70 57 30 36 69 59 32 38 71
F 62 34 67 60 33 66 62 35 68
G 64 10 63 11 65
H 5 2 8 4 1 7 6 3 9

An Overview

The Rings is a full-deck layout for cartomancy or more contemporary idea framework tarot readings. Cartomancy provides the Querent with an idea of things to come in general or in response to a specific question, whereas idea-framework readings provide the Querent with a randomized "framework" of a view on the issue at hand, offering a different viewpoint provided by the randomization of the cards. Both methods may be carried out by an Operator, someone other than the Querent with a knowledge of the cards, or they may be carried out by the Querent as an Operator themselves. The basis of this layout in particular is to look at how both ordered, internal or controlled influences, as well as chaotic or external influences affect the nucleus, or heart of the matter. The reason for the rings will become clear later on, when influence is discussed. In working between the different rings (in cartomancy, they may be read, right to left, as past, present, and future), there are transition cards that provide a relationship between the rings. Below the rings are cards representing the Querent or the issue at hand itself. These cards, read first, provide the basis for a point of view when reading the rings. The last card placed, at the extreme rigth, may be considered a transition into life after the resolution, or looking to the future in cartomancy.

Reading the Cards

While the cards may be read with the standard Celtic Cross rules of reversal, the spread is intended to use the idea that nearby cards will influence a card's meaning, as from the Golden Dawn's elemental influences. Thus, depending on what cards surround the card in question, it may be well- or ill-dignified. This is told mostly by opposing suits: Swords are ill-dignified towards Pentacles/Disks/Coins and vice versa; and Wands/Rods are ill-dignified towards Cups/Chalices and vice versa. That said, one should find that Swords are well-dignified with Wands and Cups, and so on. In the case wherein one card is surrounded by both complementary and clashing cards, a more neutral road is taken and the definition generalized, swayed one way or the other depending on how many cards are well- or ill-disposed toward it. This becomes more poignant in this layout due to the fact that a card may have others above and below it, as well as to either side (as with the abbreviated Golden Dawn provided with Crowley's Thoth deck). Nearby cards must be taken into account when dealing with one card, and for this reason, it is recommended that the Operator know the cards very well so that they are not stuck referencing a book for each surrounding card as well.

As was said before, the first cards to be read are those representing the Self - whether the self represents the Querent or the Issue depends on how the cards are read, as well as how they're interpreted by the Querent. They are meant to be read in groups of three all at once to give a detailed picture of that 'self' for each of the rings above it; the three cards are taken as a single entity. The transitory cards placed between and slightly above them give more information to the Querent and Operator about the movement of time or the complexity of the situation, also adding to the aspect of dignifying (though, in this area, the way the three point-of-view cards dignify each other should be honored above the way the transition cards affect the situation).

Next are the Rings, which are meant to be read from inside out, left to right (Past - Present - Future). The rings are divided into sub-rings and regions, with the elemental disposition carrying its effects through and across these sub-rings and regions. Working from the outside inwards, the rings are divided into the concentric rings of chaotic aspects, ordered aspects, with the nucleus of the matter at hand in the center. With this setup, not only must the cards in the cardinal directions be considered for elemental dispositions, but the cards within the same region as well, though they may be diagonal to the card in question.

To put things a little more clearly, chaotic aspects are those that influence the Issue from the outside - they are uncontrollable events, characters, and environments. Ordered aspects, on the other hand, are those that are under control, however partial, of the Querent or issue - they may also be events, characters, and environments, except that they may be held in sway, closer to home. At the center of all this, of course, is the heart of the matter - the nucleus provides a view of what the issue may really be at the Root, the Reaction, and the Resolution. Between each of the rings, the transitory cards do just as they say - provide a transition between each of the rings. The extreme rightmost and leftmost cards are transitory in a sense, but they offer a transition into and out of the issue; the rightmost card in particular offers an outlook, not only on the future, but on the resolution of the issue, as well as the issue as a whole, acting as a summary.

Card Positions

What follows is a brief description of each of the positions that one of the cards may occupy. The numbers of the cards in the above chart are links that may be followed in order to jump to the description of that card and what special sway it might have over the issue at hand in the tense of that ring.

Episkopos Gaius Vulpius Ranna
V.V., P.T.K.S.C.
The Ranna I Qabal
Original: 2 Cfn 3172 | 5/28/06
Revised: 10 Bcy 3174 | 8/15/08