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.


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