The block of 9 layout is a popular spread to use as well. No question is needed prior to shuffling and the cards will fall accordingly.
You should decide ahead of time what the rows and columns will mean. This layout can give quite extensive predictions (or forecasting -see Mary K. Greer’s article on this subject) or it can give you a scan or overview of past, current and future.
For the purpose of the study post, I will assign only the rows. However, I will reference combinations too.
ROW #1 – recent past
DEATH, DESPAIR, MISFORTUNE
ROW #2 - current
LOVER, ENEMY, HOUSE
ROW #3 - pending future
CONVERSATION, FAITHFULNESS, GIFT
Instead you could designate the columns with the same headings, it is entirely up to you. Also, crisscrossing the cards is common in the spread to give additional information.
It depends if you want to do an in-depth reading and if you are reading someone else I would suggest reading all the columns, rows and diagonals including the card combinations that fall together or separate.
Interpretation of this study layout is forthcoming.
DEATH, DESPAIR, MISFORTUNE- Top row – the recent past.
At first glance these 3 cards speak of some disturbing situation that probably just happened. It can be anything from a break up in a relationship to the loss of complete hope in regards to a situation. The DESPAIR card depicts a man with a gun to his head. Well at least he’s dressed for the occasion. :) I think the point of this card is to emphasize the stupidity of how we sometimes over dramatize events in our lives. It’s like saying to yourself & not really meaning it, “I might as well just kill myself”. It’s one of those off the cuff statements.
Something did happen, though. The DEATH card has brought a message of defeat and the MISFORTUNE card supports the theme speaking loud and clearly “if anything went wrong – it did”. With any DEATH card there is the opportunity for rebirth. The gun in the DESPAIR card can mean news. The traditional European meaning for dreaming about a gun is “news”. If you hear the gun shot, the news is coming immediately and is surprising in nature.
I want to read the DESPAIR card as information that has been delivered with some serious consequences. At this point scanning the other cards is a good idea. What is this news about?
LOVER, ENEMY, HOUSE – Middle row – current/now.
Here we gain more information regarding the preceding row. Two valuable clues lie within the LOVER and the HOUSE cards. If the person getting the reading is a female, the LOVER will represent her significant other and he will play a very important role in her life especially over the next few days or even weeks. If it is a male seeking the advice of the cards – it is his card, and he is directly involved with the event(s).
The DEATH card above the LOVER card will tell you the female has just experience a major change in the dynamics of her relationship. If a male, he is weighed down with a situation that has left him no choice but to start anew or to think of other alternatives. The ENEMY card warns of potential dangers in this new direction of events. It also means that the female or male with have to be guarded in matters pertaining to the home (emotions).
The MISFORTUNE card is above the HOUSE card and there is every indication this is about a family/home upset. Well for a temporary time at least. The feeling I get from the cards so far is that it is not as bad as it looks. I get this from looking at the bottom row of cards- they are all positive in nature. If they were not, then whatever this situation is- it will most likely have drastic results that will require immediate attention.
CONVERSATION, FAITHFULNESS, GIFT – Bottom row – potential result or future.
If female, she will kiss and make up with her significant other. They will have lengthy discussions which will restore the trust (FAITHFULNESS) within the relationship or situation involving him. In fact he might even buy her something to get on her good side or as a “I’m sorry present”.
If male, he will snap out of this mood of doom and gloom. His confidence comes back and he realizes that he blew the entire situation out of proportion. In the end, he will benefit (GIFT) from this situation because he decided to shed his guard (ENEMY) and to stop thinking the world is against him (DESPAIR).
I bet you there are probably another dozen or so interpretations with these 9 cards. My interpretation is only one way of looking at these cards based on the categories I assigned to the rows.
The worst is over no matter if the person getting the reading is female or male. The pending future is filled with promise of happiness and a settling down of the chaos represented by the top 3 cards.