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Horse Shoe Spread

Horse Shoe Spread #1



Difficulty: Easy

The Horse Shoe is an old classic tarot spread. It is more advanced than the 3-card reading, yet simpler than most other spreads. It is a versatile method that can be used for most queries, though there are other spreads which would go into more depth. Like the simple Past, Present, and Future spread, it contains these cards in positions 1, 2, and 7, but also has 4 other cards that help the reader understand how to deal with the Future better. The cards are to be read as follows:

  1. The Past: This card represents past events that are affecting the question.
  2. The Present: This card represents the current state or immediately approaching influence.
  3. Hidden Influences: Things that you may not be aware of, or barely be aware of.
  4. Obstacles: This is the challenge. Obstacles might be avoided, or you may have to deal with them.
  5. External Influences: Attitudes and thoughts about this situation from people around the querent.
  6. Suggestions: Recommended course of action.
  7. The Final Outcome: This card represents what would happen if the suggestion is followed.









Your Horse Shoe Reading


4 of Disks
Hidden Influences

8 of Swords
  External Influences

Knight of Cups
The Present

5 of Cups

Knight of Disks
The Past

6 of Swords
  The Outcome

10 of Swords





The Past Card represents past events that are affecting the question.


6 of Swords

Mercury in Aquarius - Science

Tiphareth shows the full establishment and balance of the idea of the suit. This is particularly the case with this card, as the intellect itself is also referred to the number Six. Mercury, in Aquarius, represents the celestial Energy influencing the Kerub of the Man, thus showing intelligence and humanity.

But there is much more than this in the symbol. The perfect balance of all mental and moral faculties, hardly won, and almost impossible to hold in an ever-changing world, declares the idea of Science in its fullest interpretation.

The hilts of the Swords, which are very ornamental, are in the form of the hexagram. Their points touch the outer petals of a red rose upon a golden cross of six squares, thus showing the Rosy Cross as the central secret of scientific truth.





The Present Card represents the current state or immediately approaching influence.


5 of Cups

Mars in Scorpio - Disappointment

This card is ruled by Geburah in the suit of Water. Geburah being fiery, there is a natural antipathy. Hence arises the idea of disturbance, just when least expected, in a time of ease. The attribution is also to Mars in Scorpio, which is his own house; and Mars is the manifestation on the lowest plane of Geburah, while Scorpio, in its worst aspect, suggests the putrefying power of Water.

Yet the powerful male influences do not show actual decay, only the beginning of destruction; hence, the anticipated pleasure is frustrated. The Lotuses have their petals torn by fiery winds; the sea is arid and stagnant, a dead sea, like a "chott" in North Africa. No water flows into the cups. Moreover, these cups are arranged in the form of an inverted pentagram, symbolizing the triumph of matter over spirit.





Hidden Influences - Things that you may not be aware of, or barely be aware of.


8 of Swords

Jupiter in Gemini - Interference

The number Eight, Hod, here signifies lack of persistence in matters of the intellect and of contest. Good fortune, however, attends even these weakened efforts, thanks to the influence of Jupiter in Gemini, ruling the Decan. Yet the Will is constantly thwarted by accidental interference.

The centre of the card is occupied by two long Swords pointed downward. These are crossed by six small swords, three on each side. They remind one of weapons peculiar to their countries or their cults; we see here the Kriss, the Kukri, the Scramasax, the Dagger, the Machete and the Yataghan.












Obstacle - This is the challenge.


4 of Disks

Sun in Capricorn - Power

The Four, Chesed, shows the establishment of the Universe in three dimensions, that is, below the Abyss. The generating idea is exhibited in its full material sense. The card is ruled by the Sun in Capricornus, the Sign in which he is reborn. The disks are very large and solid; the suggestion of the card is that of a fortress. This represents Law and Order, maintained by constant authority and vigilance. The disks themselves are square; revolution is very opposite to the card; and they contain the signs of the Four Ele ments. For all that, they revolve; defence is valid only when violently active.

So far as it appears stationary, it is the "dead centre" of the engineer; and Capricornus is the point at which the Sun "turns again Northward". The background is of deep azure, flecked yellow, suggesting a moat; but beyond this is a pattern of green and indigo to represent the guarded fields whose security is assured by the fortress.





External Influences - Attitudes about this situation from people around the querent.


Knight of Cups


The Knight of Cups represents the fiery part of Water, the swift passionate attack of rain and springs; more intimately, Water's power of solution. He is clothed in black armour furnished with bright wings which, together with the leaping attitude of his white charger, indicates that he represents the most active aspect of Water. In his right hand he bears a cup from which issues a crab, the cardinal sign of Water, for aggressiveness. His totem is the peacock, for one of the stigmata of water in its most active form is brilliance. There is here also some reference to the phenomena of fluorescence.

The characteristics of the person signified by this card are nevertheless mostly passive, in accordance with the Zodiacal attribution. He is graceful, dilettante, with the qualties of Venus, or a weak Jupiter. He is amiable in a passive way. He is quick to respond to attraction, and easily becomes enthusiastic under such stimulus; but he is not very enduring. He is exceedingly sensitive to external in fluence, but with no material depth in his character.





Suggestion - The recommended course of action. 


Knight of Disks


The Knight of Disks represents the fiery part of Earth, and refers in particular to the phenomena of mountains, earthquakes, and gravitation; but it also represents the activity of Earth regarded as the producer of Life. This warrior is short and sturdy in type. He rides through the fertile land; even the distant hills are cultivated fields.

Those whom he symbolizes tend to be dull, heavy and pre-occupied with material things. They are laborious and patient, but would have little intellectual grasp even of matters which concern them most closely. Their success in these is due to instinct, to imitation of Nature. They lack initiative; their fire is the smouldering fire of the process of growth.





The Outcome - What will happen if the suggestion is followed.


10 of Swords

Sun in Gemini - Ruin

The number Ten, Malkuth, as always, represents the culmination of the unmitigated energy of the idea. It shows reason run mad, ramshackle riot of soulless mechanism; it represents the logic of lunatics and (for the most part) of philosophers. It is reason divorced from reality.

The card is also ruled by the Sun in Gemini, but the mercurial airy quality of the Sign serves to disperse his rays; this card shows the disruption and disorder of harmonious and stable energy.

The hilts of the Swords occupy the positions of the Sephiroth, but the points One to Five and Seven to Nine touch and shatter the central Sword (six) which represents the Sun, the Heart, the child of Chokmah and Binah. The tenth Sword is also in splinters. It is the ruin of the Intellect, and even of all mental and moral qualities.