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Sunday, 3 March 2013

The Golden Dawn Spread

I decided this morning to actually read the LWB (Little White Book) that came with my Thoth Tarot, but got stuck on page 6 with the 15-card spread. I usually ignore the spreads included in LWBs (in fact, I usually ignore LWBs), but this looked intriguing. The booklet says that the layout  is a 'simpler version of the Golden Dawn method given by Crowley and Case' (the Opening of the Key). This layout is made up of five 3-card clusters, and a little Googling has revealed that it is known by the name 'The Golden Dawn Spread' or 'The Golden Dawn 15-Card Spread':

Golden Dawn Spread, from Thoth Tarot LWB
You can see from the illustration that you put down the first three cards beginning from the centre, then the remaining cards are laid out in a counter-clockwise spiral direction beginning above card 3. This creates the five 3-card clusters, which are read more or less separately. I've examined the spread, the instructions in the book, and a few websites and blogs this morning, and decided on the way I wish to approach this spread.
 I quite like this, because with the information revealed, the querent is given the opportunity to reflect on their current situation and the factors that mitigated it, as well as projecting possible future outcomes and considering advice they may wish to consider when choosing what action to take next:

What is the truth about my current situation?
2-1-3 'The Querent' (person getting the reading)

What must I adapt to or accept?
7-11-15 'Destiny/Karma' (those things that are more or less beyond the control of the querent; this usually reflects past influences on the current situation, as those are usually the sorts of things that can't be undone and have to be adapted to or accepted)

What is under my control? ie, What can I do or change?
14-10-6 'Psychological basis' (the underlying psychology of the situation; this would usually end up as possible advice or suggestions for change to the current situation)

Where might I be heading?
4-8-12 'Likely outcome' (this might be where the querent is heading if he or she makes continues on their current path with no change)

13-9-5 'Possible outcome' (this might be the outcome if the querent takes the advice of the spread, or takes some action of any kind, rather than making no change at all) 

(There is one caveat, that if the two top clusters are very similar, then 13-9-5 should be seen as an extension of 4-8-12, rather than an alternate outcome.)

I don't normally like huge spreads like this, and so I played around with it to see how it could be adapted to fewer cards. I decided to lay out all cards face down, but to put down all 15 as described, then to move around the spread in the order given above, turning over the centre card of each cluster first. I would turn over the cards to the left and right of the centre card only if I wanted elucidation, clarification or expansion on the information given in the centre card. So using this method, this reading could end up being a 5-card reading all the way up to a 15-card reading.

Obviously, my proposed method ignores elemental dignities, which seems to be the purpose behind having the cards in 3-card clusters. But I don't read with elemental dignities anyway. How would I decide which card to turn over first, left or right? I tend to see cards to the left as past, and to the right as future. In this instance, I would consider those to the left to possibly reveal external or exoteric aspects of the central card, while the right card might reveal internal or esoteric aspects. So which card I turned over first would depend on what sort of information the central card leads me to seek. 

I am very keen to try out this spread and would welcome a querent. Please contact me if you would like me to read for you using this spread. If you are willing to have it published here on this blog, complete with your original query and your detailed feedback, the reading will be free of charge. If you want it done privately, the charge for it would be £30 for 5 cards, rising incrementally to £75 for 15 cards. 

The reading would, of course, be done with the Thoth Tarot.

4th March update
Requests for paid readings are still welcome.


  1. Hi Carla,
    Can I be your guinea pig? You did a reading for me a couple of weeks ago and I thought your interpretation was excellent. I've been following your blog ever since. The spread is interesting.... I like the way you've broken it down. It looks so complex but reducing it to simple 5 cards with the other there for support if you need it. I'd be happy to give you feed back here.

    1. Hi Paula! Very glad to hear from you again. :) I am happy to do you a reading, but please don't be surprised if it comes out very much like the one I just did for you. It hasn't been very long and I suspect the energies around you will reflect a similar message to the previous reading. That said, do you have a specific issue or query you'd like the reading to be about?

    2. Thank you! Yes I can see that the messages from the last reading may come through again with this spread but I guess we will see. In fact, I have made a few changes lately that feel good and are going well. Your posts about 2013 being your Chariot year prompted me to work out my year which happens to be a 9 corresponding to the Hermit which makes sense for me already in 2013. It screams "introspection" or maybe "getting to know myself." So.... is it possible for your version of the Golden Dawn Spread to give me some further guidance in this area?

    3. Okay, Paula, I will give that a go. It may be a few days. I'll send it to you first, and then post it to the blog with your response. :)

  2. I've had a second request from a potential guinea pig, Erika! I will work on those two readings and the Paula and Erika have kindly agreed to allow their readings to be posted on the blog.

    If anyone would like to pay for a Golden Dawn reading (or any other type of reading), don't hesitate to contact me. Paid-for readings are completely confidential and carried out by email.

  3. I went to a TABI Conference once where Paul Hughes-Barlow talked about elemental dignities, and reading in the Golden Dawn style with card lines and counting. However, it just didn't gel with me. Brave you to give this reading a go - will look forward to how they turn out :)

    1. Well, I'm modifying the spread, obviously. And I won't be using EDs!

  4. Carla, I like this spread and will definitely have to give it a go. Thanks for sharing. Look forward to see your reading results on this.

    1. Thanks, Cher. I look forward to it, myself. I haven't tried it yet, after all! :)

  5. loads of new fans Carla, me little hedghog Avatar is droping lower in the members chart above.