I learned the 4 Aces Method at the London Tarot Conference, 9th October 2010. It was taught by Jonathan Dee. This spread provides an overview of your life at the moment, and is useful for general readings. It is somewhat old-fashioned in that it involves dividing the deck before drawing.
How to Use the 4 Aces Method (a 12-card spread)
1. Divide your tarot deck into three sets: majors, minors and aces. Set the minors aside and keep the majors and aces.
2. Shuffle the aces and lay them out in a vertical column.
3. Shuffle the majors and lay them out on either side of each ace, alternating left to right as you descend. (See below).
|You can see the spread laid out in front of everyone...|
MAJORS ACES MAJORS
5 1 6
7 2 8
9 3 10
11 4 12
The central column, ACES, are the priorities in your life right now. The lefthand column of majors are your fears or hopes about the central ace in that row. The righthand column reflects your actual reality or the probable outcome.
This spread reflects, in the central column, what you are focusing on and possibly what you may be ignoring, and reveals your illusions or worries about it as opposed to the truth or reality of the situation.
Here is a sample draw:
If you look at the central column of aces, you can see that the querent (person receiving reading) has got his or her feelings and emotions as a top priority, and is possibly ignoring the physical/material aspects of his or her life.
To read more details about each ace, read the rows across from left to right. The top row shows The World - Ace of Cups - The Sun. There are many ways to interpret this combination of cards, but at the moment I am reading them as suggesting that the querent wishes to be understood by the world, wishes to feel accepted or embraced by the world, or to find a place in a world community. To me, this card is suggesting a desire for (or fear of never) having acceptance and connection. Maybe the querent is feeling that his/her inner world is something that no one would ever understand. Maybe he or she is looking for a label for the type of person or type of spirituality, etc, to identify him or herself with. The World card in this draw is in a position of illusion, fear, or irrational hope, and so should be read in that way. But the Sun card reveals the truth of the situation, which is that the querent does not need to be understood, accepted, or to find a label or group for himself. His happiness and peace is already within him, and he should understand that he is perfect already. Inside himself is the source of all the acceptance he needs, and when he embraces that, he will find that world feels less alien and separate from himself, and that he feels more comfortable in it, less of an outsider searching for a place.
You would then continue down the spread, reading each row in turn. Then of course you could carry on by looking at why the priorities are in the order they are, and what might change as a result of bringing those bottom priorities more into focus. You could draw more cards for this, or just use the information given in the spread. There is plenty! For those extra cards, you could even incorporate the minors, though Jonathan Dee did not teach that.
If you try this spread, I would love to hear about your results.