Celtic Cross Configured for Elemental Dignities


Some time ago we were discussing in another thread how the Celtic Cross doesn't really lend itself all that well to Elemental Dignities because it doesn't fall neatly into triplets (a central focus card and two adjacent modifiers) across its entire range. I decided to reconfigure the basic layout slightly to better support ED, and also to incorporate a notion I've been playing around with for the last 40-odd years.

All those years ago my brother and I were debating whether the central horizontal axis of the CC might be read left-to-right (past-to-future) as a 5-card "line" showing the developmental path for the querent's environmental circumstances. We never went very far with it, but lately my thinking has evolved. I now see this series (Cards 4 + 1 + 2 +6 + 8) as showing linear movement from the "old environment" (Cards 4 + 1) to the "new environment" (Cards 6 + 8) through the action of the "major motivator" card (Card 2), placing that card into high focus as the facilitator (transitional "pivot point") bridging the old and the new. Interestingly, the numeration for the 5 positions comes to 21, the number of the World card, a potent environmental signifier in its own right. For that matter, Cards 1 through 6 also add to 21, so what we have is the World as the emblem for both the environment of the question "in extension" and the querent's personal surroundings. This reinforces my perception that the CC is ideally suited for "situational awareness" readings.

I decided that the ED triplets for this new (at least to me) wrinkle should be the primary ones since they will serve to show whether preserving the situational status quo or pursuing the promise of a new chapter has a stronger hold on the querent's life circumstances and growth potential. Because the standard series (Cards 1 through 10) forms the main narrative flow for the reading, the EDs for those cards provide more of a secondary emphasis that amplifies each of them, "for good or ill."

It isn't nearly as complicated as it looks. Each of the four Primary Triplets has one focus card and two elemental modifiers that jointly strengthen or weaken it. Each of the nine Secondary triplets has one focus card from the original series, each with two adjacent modifiers. To get rid of the irregularity caused by the structure of the layout, I considered the Outcome card (Card 10) separately as the main focus for the whole reading and didn't assign it an ED focus role. Note that this approach works well for my arrangement of the CC positions but may not make sense for yours. So YMMV.

I've attached the layout. Make of it what you will. I have a detailed explanation of my thought process that I'm not going to post here.


  • Celtic Cross ED Template.pdf
    16.5 KB · Views: 444


Since this might be intimidating to some, I thought it would be a good idea to post an example reading. Note that the only purpose of the reading was to dissect the Elemental Dignities in the two "triplet" series; there is no card-by-card CC analysis, but the idea is to factor the amended potencies of the "focus" cards into the overall reading. For example, here - in the "secondary triplet" series that follows the "normal" CC flow - the Knight of Wands and the 9 of Cups come across as the most dignified, so it would be expected that their importance would be elevated in the interpretation. The 10 of Cups - otherwise highly significant in the "environmental development" chain - is the most debilitated by "primary triplet," but there are extenuating conditions that improve its status. I don't follow the Golden Dawn model exactly, in that I don't automatically consider a focus card flanked by two cards that are unfriendly to one another to be substantially weakened; if the central card is elementally identical to one of the two antagonistic cards, or otherwise in harmony with ("strenghtened by but neutral to") one or both, I view the "two-thirds majority" as moderating the severity of the negative influence in favor of the mutually supportive elemental pair. The 10 of Cups, 10 of Swords, 7 of Wands and 5 of Cups in the standard 10-card sequence I use are good examples. Traditionally, they are all bracketed by clashing Fire and Water cards so they should be seriously weakened, but I see them as more nuanced. My grasp of ED is still developing, so none of this is carved in stone.

This is the same spread posted by kingski in Your Readings that I already did a truncated interpretation for, but expanded and formalized for this purpose.


  • ED CC Example Reading Final.pdf
    33.1 KB · Views: 401


I love this. Thank you for your teaching!