Opening of the Key-inspired self-analysis spread


Happy Easter and the celebration of Ishtar, everyone!

I created this self-analysis spread, inspired by the Golden Dawn's Opening of the Key. Because I'm not familiar with Kabbalah, I simplified it down to the bare bones (some might say I butchered it...) but it seems to provide some very interesting insight nevertheless.

If you're not afraid by a large spread and have a lot of free time this Easter for self-analysis, here's how to do it.

1) Shuffle the cards thoroughly and divide the deck into two equal-sized halves. Then, divide the halves into two halves. I always lifted the upper half on the left and the lower half on the right.

2) Now you have four piles for Air, Wands, Cups and Pentacles from fastest to slowest element, representing your mental, motivational, emotional and physical spheres of life. Meaning: what is influencing or occupying your thoughts; motivation/inspiration/energy levels; emotions; and physical body, finances and career.

3) Turn the first pile upright, spread it out like a fan and organise cards into groups of four (the last group might be smaller or bigger depending on the number of your cards).

4) Read the cards from left to right, first as groups, then as a whole to see, what are the major themes. These themes talk what is topical in your mental life right now, i.e. what do you think a lot of what influences your thinking currently.

5) Count the cards per suits: how many air, wands, cups and pentacles cards you got? The larger the number, the more this particular element is weighing in your mental life and is occupying your thoughts.

6) Count the Major Arcana cards. What are the major life lessons you are currently learning relating to your mental life or thought frameworks? How and what do you think and why?

7) Repeat this process for each pile.

8) Hopefully you learn heaps of insights about what's going on within you!

For a simplified version, just pull 1-3 cards for questions:

Air - what is currently in my mind a lot?

Wands - what motivates me right now, how does my overall energy level look?

Cups - what am I currently feeling, what is topical emotionally for me right now?

Pentacles - how is my physical wellbeing; what is the most topical thing in my money/career situation?


Interesting variation; I will have to try your approach of reading all four of the elemental packs in a general way for a background perspective. I also use a stripped-down form of the First Operation to get preliminary insights on the overall "elemental focus" of the more detailed reading that follows. I don't often do the "counting-and-pairing" sequence and create a "story" out of it because I move on immediately to the follow-up spread (usually the Celtic Cross). Typically, I don't ask the querent to reveal the question or even the "life-area" of interest because I like to keep the reading open-ended and let the cards tell the tale. The "story-line" almost invariably comes around to the querent's explicit concern (or an underlying one that turns out to be more to the point), sometimes by a devious and roundabout path. (Perhaps I'm making it harder on myself than I need to, but I aspire to a high level of confidence in the effectiveness of the divinational art.)

I stay with the use of a Significator because it creates an index or "pointer" within the four-pack elemental array, basing it on my "knowledge or judgment of (the querent's) character" (Crowley's words) or astrological specifics if I have a chart. Better yet, I have the querent select which court card "feels right" after giving a general overview of the suits.

Then I play "find the Significator," but I don't "Tell the Querent what he has come for" or "if wrong, abandon the divination." I usually present the result as one possible "high-focus" area of life that the reading will explore, using it as a foundational "key" or "compass" for the thrust of the upcoming reading (or maybe more like a "launch-pad" with an initial vector shown by the dominant element). I may pull it out later in discussion with the querent if the cards in the reading proper are disjointed and there is no clear flow to the narrative. Just one of the tools in my toolbox; if it's not needed as a back-up, I just file the information away.

One wrinkle I've added to the four-pack examination is to turn over the top card of each pack to see if any one presages the location of the Significator. I look in that pack first, and if I find the Significator there I gave that element just a little more weight. By the way, I like your use of "motivational factors" for the Wands/Fire pack, rather than the older "work, business, etc." It appropriately broadens the scope.


Hi Barley, thanks for your comments! I see now that using a significator does add value to this spread so I'll start using that, too. Thanks for sharing your method, interesting!