Cartomancy Answer Spread: Finding the Lost Cat

The Cat Is Returned Home!

On March the 6th I posted a reading that I threw for clues to help locate my brother’s lost cat. The cat had escaped the house a few days earlier while furniture was being moved in. The cards offered some hints about where the cat might be found, but after weeks of fruitless searching we lost hope of ever finding the missing kitty. Imagine our immense surprise when the lost cat returned home today!

Really, I should not have been so surprised. The original reading I drew to ask if the cat would be found had indicated “yes,” the cat would indeed return home.

Here is the original reading that I mentioned in the previous article about locating the lost cat…


6S 7S JD
2D 4H 2C

My first impression of the reading was that the ratio of black cards to red is balanced. The cat would not be found easily, but there’s a good chance for success. The spades in particular are worrisome. They suggest obstacles and delays. The two 2’s jumped out at me. The 2’s are time cards, giving me the impression that the cat could be found within two days. But with the delays predicted by the double spades, I knew it could be two weeks before the cat returned home. I did not want to think about the cat being gone for two months, but of course that was still better than the cat never returning at all.

The Middle Column

I always look to the middle column of this Spread to find the answer to the question. When asking about a reconciliation, such as the return of a lost lover or recovering a missing pet, the key card I look for is the 4 of Hearts. It’s the card that indicates a union or a reunion.

Immediately I felt hopeful to find the 4 of Hearts in the answer column. The 7 of Spades shows delay, and a need for patience. The answer was clear that the cat would eventually come home. As predicted, she did return home today, within days of the two-week time frame. She was spotted by an elderly neighbor who contacted my brother.

The First Column

The first column sets the premise for the matter in question. The cards show movement, curiosity and independence. The curious kitty escaped (6 of Spades) and was out on her own nosing about (2 of Diamonds). The 2 of Diamonds is the perfect card to describe the cat because it suggests curiosity, independence, imagination and playfulness.

The Final Column

The final column provides important additional information, and shows that a young person (Jack of Diamonds) would offer assistance (2 of Clubs). Interestingly, the Jack of Diamonds also appeared in the subsequent reading that I posted previously to help divine the location of the missing cat. I still do not know who is represented by the Jack, but I’m convinced that someone has cared for the cat while she was away. The 2 of Clubs as the pivot card suggests that the cat would recieve a helping hand in returning home. Perhaps the cat has a guardian angel. After being gone for two weeks, she is a bit thin but otherwise in good condition. She is on her way today to see the vet just to make sure that all is well.

The Answer Spread

The Answer Spread is a 6-card expanded version of the three card draw. It is designed to answer one question in detail.  I have encountered this spread in several books on both tarot and playing cards, but my favorite version comes from Regina Russell’s book, The Card Reader’s Handbook.

The Answer Spread is my ‘go to’ spread for answering a specific questions. It provides a more detailed information that the simple three-card spread while maintain a sharp focus on the question.

How to Draw the Answer Spread

The querent shuffles the cards while focusing on the question. Then the cards are fanned out face down on the table. The querent is asked to randomly select 6 cards keeping them in the order in which they were chosen.  The cards are laid out as in the following diagram:


The cards are paired and read in vertical columns only. The cards are never combined or read across the horizontal rows.

The two cards in the first column on the left set the premise for the matter in question, and reveal how past influences affect the current circumstances surrounding the question.

The two cards in the middle column provide the answer to the question.

The two cards in the column on the far right provide additional information, or show contributing factors yet to be considered in the matter. The cards in this position do not show the final outcome, but they can indicate the results from following advice given in the middle column.

The bottom card of the final column (card 6 in the diagram) is known as the “pivot card” because the outcome of the question may turn on that single card. Sometimes the pivot card will provide the answer to the question.

The Answer Spread can work well for yes-or-no questions.  A predominance of red cards would indicate a positive answer, and a predominance of black cards would denote a negative response.  If an even number of red and black cards appear, the answer is not yet set and may be influenced current actions or future events.

Sample Reading – The Answer Spread

Here is an example of an actual reading done for a male client in June of 2012:

The querent was travelling south to spend a few days with his ex-wife. The couple had been divorced for less than a year, and the ex-wife had recently broken up with a new boyfriend.

When the querent and his wife separated, she took custody of their dog. They have no children together. The visit was ostensibly for the querent to spend time with the dog, but he was hopeful that the ex-wife was interested in a reconciliation.

His question: “Will my ex-wife and I get back together?”

Jane Lyle’s The Fortune Teller’s Deck © 1996 St. Martin’s Press

10 of Clubs = travel, business, promotion
2 of Diamonds = something definite, curiosity, exchanging ideas, searching for answers
Q of Clubs = a sincere, practical woman
7 of Spades = setbacks, frustration, stagnation
A of Diamonds = news, a message, a fresh start
3 of Diamonds = unsustained efforts,  a temporary situation

My first impression is that there are no Heart cards in the spread. That is usually not a hopeful sign for a relationship inquiry. There is a predominance of small Diamonds which represent restlessness, and only modest success. There are an equal number of red and black cards which suggests that the yes-or-no answer may go either way, and is dependent on future actions and events.

The first column represents the premise behind the question. The 10 of Clubs represents the man’s upcoming trip to visit his ex-wife, and the 2 of Diamonds shows his curiosity and desire to exchange ideas with his ex-wife. He is looking for answers regarding a possible future for the relationship. This search for answers is what has motivated the trip. The 2 of Diamonds can also represent something definite. It’s certain that the trip will happen.

The middle column almost always contains the answer to the question. The Queen of Clubs represents the ex-wife. The suit of Clubs describes her sincerity and friendly intentions toward the querent. The 7 of Spades represents setbacks and frustrations. The Queen of Clubs is not interested in moving forward and resuming the relationship. She frustrates the possibility of a reconciliation.  As a Club, her intentions are friendly, but not romantic.  Her invitation is honestly about allowing her ex-husband visitation with the dog. Therefore the answer to the question is “no, the couple will not get back together– at least not during this trip.”

The third column provides additional information, or factors contributing to the problem or situation. In most cases, the information in the final column will help clarify the answer. The Ace of Diamonds represents the new beginning that the querent hopes for, but the 3 of diamonds shows a temporary situation or a lack of commitment. Perhaps neither one of them is willing or able to put forth the effort necessary to begin anew.

The 3 of Diamonds in the pivot position is always hopeful because it shows that with the right amount of intelligent effort success is possible. but in most cases the card denotes a lack of follow-through. It’s clear from the middle column that the ex-wife is not interested in starting over. He desires a fresh start,  but he may not be able to supply the consistent effort necessary to earn that second chance. Intuitively I have the impression that he will need to prove himself to her. Otherwise, the new beginning represented by this trip will be temporary at best.

Cartomancy Answer Spread for Finding Lost Objects and Missing Pets

Where Is the Cat?

My brother’s cat ran away. He escaped on Tuesday morning while my brother was moving furniture into the house. My brother and several of his friends have been searching the neighborhood and the woods around his townhouse for the past three days, but there is no sign of the cat. My brother is worried, and he hopes that the cards may provide a clue about where to find the missing cat…


The Middle Column

In the Answer Spread, I always look to the middle column to find the answer to the question. Where is the cat? The Ace of Hearts is hearth and home. The 2 of Spades represents a separation. These cards shows that the cat ran away from home.  Well, of course the cat ran away…that is the whole purpose for the reading. I love how straightforward the cards can be when answering the question. Where is the cat? The cat ran away.  This combination of cards also suggests that the cat is removed from the area around of the home. In other words, the cat is not nearby, and will not be found in the surrounding neighborhood.

The First Column

The first column of cards provides a premise for the situation. These cards show that the cat is in an environment (5 of Diamonds) that is warm and safe and secure (10 of Hearts). This is good news. It suggests that the cat has not been harmed or injured. The 5 of Diamonds specifically suggests an urban environment. The 10H can point to a place where people go to relax and have fun. There is a busy street with businesses and food establishments not far from the sub-division where my brother’s townhouse is located. The 5 of Diamonds is also a card of attraction. The 10 of Hearts also corresponds to the compass direction south, which is exactly where the business district is located in reference to the townhouse. It seems likely that the cat has gone in that direction, perhaps attracted by the noise and the smell of food. This is helpful information because it provides an area to narrow the search. My feeling is that the cat may be hiding behind one of the food establishments on the strip.

Last Column

Finally, the last column will provide additional information to consider. The 2 of Hearts can represent the cat, and the Jack of Diamonds suggests that the cat may be in the care of a boy or young man. Or it may be that this person (my nephew?) will be the one to find the missing cat. It’s interesting because I did another reading in which I asked if the cat would return home. The same Jack of Diamonds appeared in the other reading, also in the last column, but with the 2 of Clubs suggesting help or assistance. For the Jack to appear in both readings is a sure sign to me that this person plays an important role in the situation. Fortunately, the 4 of Hearts appeared in the previous reading to indicate that the cat would return home…so we remain hopeful.

I will update when the cat is found.

The Cartomancy Square of Nine

The Square of Nine (also known as the Box Spread or the 3X3) is a popular layout that is traditionally used with the Lenormand cards. There are several different version of the Box Spread that vary in terms of the order in which the cards are laid out, the meanings assigned to each column and row, and how the cards are combined and interpreted.

The following diagram illustrates the version that I have found works best with the playing cards. This spread provides a nice overview of the past, present and future influences surrounding the matter in question. I use this version of the spread whenever I need a bit more information than I can get from the standard six-card Answer Spread…

Square of Nine Spread
Square of Nine Spread

The center card (#1) is the Significator, and it provides the focus for the reading. You can choose a Significator ahead of time to represent the person or theme you are asking about. I generally prefer to allow the center card to be drawn randomly from the shuffled deck.

Sample Cartomancy Square of Nine Reading

I think the best way to explain the Cartomancy Nine Card Spread is to present an example. The following is from an actual reading I did several years ago for a long-time client. At the time her son was being deployed to Iraq for his 2nd tour of duty, and the querent was anxious for reassurance that he would return home safely. I did not pre-choose a specific Significator for this reading.

Question: Will my son return home safely from his second tour of duty in Iraq?

I had the querent shuffle the cards while thinking of her question, and then I had her draw nine cards randomly from the shuffled deck. The cards were laid out in the order presented in the above diagram.




Normally I incorporate the meanings of the rows into my interpretations of the columns, but for this example I will also interpret the rows separately to better illustrate how the spread works.

Middle Column:
The middle column represents the present influences surrounding the question. I look to the center card first because it describes the current situation and provides a focus for the reading. The 9 of Spades in this position suggests that the situation is outside of the querent’s direct control, and she is feeling stressed and upset that her son may be harmed. Interestingly, the 9 of Spades is the card that represents “war,” which is the focus of the reading. This confirms for me that the cards are in tune with the question. The top card (Ace of Hearts) shows that the querent wishes that her son would stay home and not go back for an additional tour of service. The bottom card (10 of Clubs) confirms that he will be leaving soon for overseas regardless of what she feels or thinks.

Top Row:
The top row shows the querent’s hopes and wishes regarding the situation. The querent wishes that her son had decided to go to college (Jack of Diamonds) and remain at home (Ace of Hearts) where she can nurture and protect him (Queen of Hearts).

Left Column:
The left column represents the past influences that led to the current situation. The top card (Jack of Diamonds) shows that the querent wanted her son to be a student and go to college. The bottom card (Jack of Spades) shows that he wanted to be a soldier. The middle card (6 of Spades) indicates that he has decided to leave home for his second tour of duty.

Middle Row:
The middle row answers the question. The son has decided to leave (6 of Spades) for a second tour of duty in Iraq (9 of Spades = war), and this is causing the querent worry that he will be harmed (9 of Spades) in the war. The querent’s fears are unfounded. Her son will return safely and with honors (7 of Diamonds).

Right Column:
The right column represents the future outcome. The middle card (7 of Diamonds) represents success and honors, and answers the question that the querent’s son will return home safely and with honors. The top card (Queen of Hearts) suggests that all the querent wants for the future is to be a mother and to protect and nurture her son, and the bottom card (5 of Clubs) represents good luck, and also shows a return to service. These cards confirm that despite the mother’s wishes, the son will return to service and complete this 2nd tour of duty with courage and distinction.

Bottom Row:
The bottom row represents factors contributing to the situation. The querent’s son is a soldier (Jack of Spades) who is presently being deployed overseas (10 of Clubs) where he will serve his country with courage (5C).

The son did complete his second tour of duty, and he returned home safely with honors. Whenever I review this reading I consider what I would have told the mother had I seen in the cards that her son would be killed in the war. I know I would not have told her bluntly that I see death, but I would have given a warning of possible harm. I don’t believe in only one possible future. I believe in our potential to create the future through the choices and decisions we make. I would have advised the mother that there would be dangerous situations, and that the son should be careful and not take unnecessary risks. Perhaps it would have been the soldier’s fate to die in the war, and perhaps not. In any case, I believe the cards can provide a warning that if heeded may successfully avert potential danger.

You can also employ other techniques that are associated with the Square of Nine Spread. For example, you could read the inner cross, the four corners, the diagonal rows, and apply the techniques of knighting and mirroring. But I find that these additional techniques merely support what has already been learned in the main part of the reading. I encourage you to experiment using the Square of Nine with playing cards to see which techniques work best for you.