Cross Spread with the Rosenwald Deck
I just did my first reading with my new Rosenwald deck. This deck reads like a dream. The fluid lines bring the images to life, and the pips are enough like the TdM so little adjustment is required.
Since my question was “should I or shouldn’t I” do something, I used the Cross Spread. (There’s a link below to a blog post I did a few years ago on the details of this spread).
The cards on the left and right are attorneys arguing for and against what I propose to do. The card at the top is the judge synthesizing both arguments and taking an objective viewpoint. The bottom card is the judge’s pronouncement on what I should do.
The center card (the theme of the reading) is derived by adding up the numbers of the four surrounding cards and using the trump card that corresponds to the sum. The French tradition uses only trump cards for the entire spread. I put my own twist on this by using only suit cards for the spread with a trump card in the center. In this case the four cards of the spread add up to 18 – the Moon (in my system Kings = 5).
My question: “should I buy the expensive deck I’m considering.” I saw an opportunity to purchase a handmade deck that exists in only a few copies. This is an existential question for me because it will push my deck buying into another category. I usually only purchase decks if I think I’ll read with them or if I need them for research and study. This pays off when I write an article and I can illustrate it with scans from my own collection rather than having to scrounge around online hoping to find the card I want in a clear enough image.
Purchasing this deck will mean acquiring a precious object for its own sake with no other use but the joy of owning it. Since I’m retired on a fixed income, this means dipping into my savings even more than I already do to support by deck-buying habit.
Here’s the Rosenwald deck’s answer:
The argument against purchasing the deck is the Nine of Coins on the left. It’s literally saying “too much money”. The center coin seems to vacillate between the two groups of four, bouncing back and forth so one group becomes five then the other group. “Balancing the budget” pops into my mind.
The argument for purchasing the deck is the Two of Cups. I want it — it’s an object of beauty that will enhance my life. Why shouldn’t I indulge myself?
The King of Coins at the top is hanging onto his money and looking at the other coins. The judgments seems pretty clear, “you can’t afford to go down this road; be sensible and don’t even think about it.”
What action is the Two of Coins prescribing? This card is very different from the standard TdM card. Please resist the temptation to read the Rosenwald card with the familiar and comfortable TdM meanings. This card is rather enigmatic and I may need everyone’s help in interpreting it. We have two coins, or two material objects, that are separated by quite a distance. They don’t interact at all, as in the TdM. I see these two coins as my money and the deck I desire. I’ve got to keep them separate.
The Moon as the theme of the reading is telling me there’s an element of fantasy or delusion in all this. I don’t want to look at my finances realistically. Maybe the deck will turn out not to be as thrilling as I thought it would be.
One could add another layer by reading the three horizontal cards as a story. It pretty much comes out to the same thing – money, desire and delusion.
I would love to hear if anyone has an alternate interpretation.
Get the Rosenwald deck at Tarot Sheet Revival where you can also find the Budapest deck, a near contemporary of the Rosenwald, but with a very different look and feel.
Love the way that you set this spread up!
Thanks, Bonnie. The cross spread is Europe’s version of the Celtic Cross. It’s in every French and Italian book and LWB I’ve ever seen. I like how you can modify the spread positions according to the kind of information you want from the reading.
Great post. Your two of coins reminds me of a playing card two of diamonds, and they’re often associated with money changing hands or the receiving of a message. So, perhaps your coins are showing that you may still be tempted to hand over the money despite it all, but also reminding you that you should heed the king of coin’s message by remaining resolute!
No fun, but neither is being short on cash.
Thanks for running such a great site.
Hi Devin, thanks for the comments. I think it’s fascinating how traditional cartomancy, the TdM tradition, Etteilla and Waite all draw on the same pool of influences to create a common card reading tradition no matter what your reading style. The pre-TdM pips can be tricky since they are often configured differently. The Rosenwald two coins could be magnetically attracted to each other, repulsed by each other, indifferent, tempted but resisting, or some other scenario. So far I’ve remained resolute. The desire for the deck didn’t last long.
with the moon, i’d say give it time. your emotions are swaying you too much right now. Come back to this issue once you feel a little more grounded (which could be the advice of the top card as well-be grounded). …the two of coins could be concequences…all that said …i agree with your intepretation
Great comment. Yes, I was swayed by emotions to even think of purchasing the deck. It’s been more than two months since I’ve done this reading and I’ve forgotten about the deck. Obviously it was a passing whim and it’s good I didn’t act on it.
Wonderful article! I really appreciated and learned with it. Thanks and congratulations on your amazing work.
Carlos, thanks so much for your comment. I’m glad you’re finding useful information here.