Caelum Terraque (Heaven and Earth) Spread

  1. Introduction
  2. Quaternio Nuptialis (Marriage Quaternity)
  3. Iter Heroicum (Heroic Journey)
  4. Additional Cards


The Heaven and Earth Spread is inspired, in general, by the Jungian analysis of divination (see the Introduction to the Pythagorean Tarot and citations therein) and specifically by the Chinese shih divining board. The inner fourfold circle represents Heaven, the eternal or archetypal realm. The outer square represents Earth, the temporal and mundane realm. The two rotate in opposite directions, and their interaction determines the "quality" of the moment of divination. 12 11 1 10 4 2 9 1 0 3 3 8 2 4 7 5 6

This spread is unusual in that the Major and Minor Arcana are used separately, which seems to have been the method of tarot divination before Etteilla (late 18th cent.) suggested mixing the two in the "Great Pack" (de Givry 289-90). Each deck is separately shuffled and cut, after which they are laid face down in order; when the spread is complete, they are turned up and interpreted in the same order. Naturally, the Major Arcana are spread in Heaven and the Minor Arcana in Earth.

Quaternio Nuptialis (Marriage Quaternity)

0. Ego (Pivot)

The deck of Majors is used to construct the Marriage Quaternity. The Pivot card is laid face down first, and it becomes the center for the rest of the spread. Choosing this card defines the juncture between Heaven and Earth, that is, between the eternal archetypal realm and the temporal world of ordinary life. Psychologically, it represents Ego Consciousness at the intersection of the two realms; when it is revealed (turned up), it suggests the stance to be taken with regard to the eternal and temporal structures that will be revealed by the remaining cards. Alternately, if you prefer to work with a significator, you may use the significator as the Pivot, since it represents ego consciousness at the moment of divination.

The next four cards are laid out counterclockwise, as four rays around the Pivot, beginning in the West. (The tags West, South, etc. are to help you remember the positions.) If you want to distinguish reversed meanings for the trumps, you should consider the bottoms of the cards to be toward the center of the circle. These cards represent four principal archetypes in a structure called the "Marriage Quaternio," especially as it appears in the Cross-cousin Quaternity (Jung, Aion 63-4, 209-52, MC 101, 185, 425-6).

I. Coniux (Spouse: West)

The Coniux is the Spouse to the Self; it is an aspect of the contrasexual component of the psyche, which mediates between the Ego and the unconscious, that is, the Anima of a man and the Animus of a woman. It is a form of the Anima/Animus to which one relates sexually. In the Cross-cousin Marriage Quaternity, this is the Cousin as Spouse, who is also Sibling to the Shadow. The Anima (female version in the male) tends to be dark, mysterious and passionate; the Animus (male version in the female) tends to be brilliant, intellectual and heroic.

II. Umbra (Shadow: South)

The Umbra is the Shadow, the disowned and rejected component of the personality; it is ipsisexual, that is, of the same sex as the Self. The Shadow may manifest as the (ipsisexual) Sibling of the Self, but in the Cross-cousin Quaternity it is the Spouse's Sibling and the Sibling's Spouse. It is like the Self (in sex) and opposed to it (in intent). Though disowned and rejected by the Ego, the Shadow is the source of many valuable qualities, and so the reconciliation of the two should be sought.

III. Genus (Sibling: East)

The Genus is Sibling to the Self; it is an aspect of the contrasexual component of the ego in the psyche, which mediates between the Ego and the unconscious, that is, the Anima of a man and the Animus of a woman. It is an aspect of the Anima/Animus to which one relates nonsexually, fraternally and as a companion. The Genus may manifest as Sister/Brother, Mother/Father, Daughter/Son (whichever is contrasexual to the Self). In the Cross-cousin Marriage Quaternity, this is the Sibling as Helper, who is also Spouse to the Shadow. The typical qualities of the Anima/Animus are as described under II.Coniux.

IIII. Ipse (Self: North)

The Self is the central archetype of the unconscious and is superordinate to the Ego. It comprises the conscious psyche and all components of the unconscious, including the Spouse, Shadow and Sibling, although it may be perceived as separated from them, and sometimes in conflict with them. The Self is center and circumference, therefore it stands above the other four (Ego, Spouse, Shadow, Sibling) and mediates between the archetypal and temporal realms (Heaven and Earth).

Iter Heroicum (Heroic Journey)

The outer square (or diamond) of the spread represents the Heroic Journey, as described in part I of Campbell's Hero with a Thousand Faces (see esp. pp. 245-6). It charts the temporal structure of such a quest, which may be a major undertaking or one of life's little adventures. From the Minor Arcana twelve cards are laid down clockwise surrounding the Heavens, beginning in the upper right; thus the last (twelfth) card goes on the top of the diamond. (That is, the cards are spread in a diamond-shaped clock face, card 1 at 1 o'clock, card 2 at 2 o'clock, etc., ending at 12 o'clock.)

When these temporal cards are revealed and interpreted, the diviner should pay especial attention to nearby trumps in the Heavenly circle, which can be expected to play a significant role at corresponding stages in the journey. (Also, it should be observed that there is a relation between cards on the same horizontal plane of the diamond, 1/11, 2/10, etc.)

Itus a Mundo (Departure from the World)

1. Vocatio (Summons/Invitation)

This card indicates the source of the call to adventure, which may come from either inside or outside of you.

2. Auxilium Divinum (Divine Aid)

This card represents divine aid which may help you to reach the Threshold. It may also be a god that encourages you, if you are reluctant to heed the call.

3. Limen Periculi (Threshold of Adventure/Danger)

The Threshold typically represents some contest to gain entrance to the realm of adventure. You may succeed in defeating the Gatekeeper, or may be defeated and thus descend to the Underworld, or if you don't accept the challenge, you may be abducted into the Realm of Night.

Labores & Victoria (Labors & Victory)

4. Labores (Labors/Trials)

This card represents the labors or trials that must be faced in the land of adventure.

5. Adiutores (Helpers)

By this card you will be able to identify helpers (e.g. gods) who will come to you and help you to pass the tests. You will know you are on the right path if this assistance comes to you. Typically your helpers will be of the opposite sex to you.

6. Labor Difficilimus (Supreme Ordeal)

This card represents the supreme ordeal to be faced.

7. Summum Praemium (Supreme Reward)

By passing the supreme ordeal you win the supreme reward, which may be, for example, apotheosis, a sacred marriage (union with the divine), atonement with the (ipsisexual) parent, or gaining the "Elixir" - something of great value for yourself and others.

Reditus ad Mundum (Return to the World)

8. Impetus ad Redeundum (Impulse to Return)

Although it may be comfortable to rest on your laurels in the Isles of the Blessed, this card represents an impetus to return to the world. If it doesn't come from within, then you may be driven out of Paradise.

9. Pericula Fugae (Dangers of the Flight)

Often the return journey is fraught with danger; your task is to return to the world with the Elixir (which may be taken away from you or lost).

10. Servatores Fugae (Saviors/Watchers of the Flight)

This card is very important, for it represents aids (e.g. divine beings, inanimate objects, strategies) that will help you escape the dangers.

11. Reditus trans Liminem (Return across the Threshold)

This card will show you the gateway back to the mundane world. Once it is passed, you will lose whatever transcendental powers you gained in the Other World (though you will be able to take the Elixer, if you haven't lost it).

Bonum Captum (The Boon Won)

12. Elixir

This card represents the nature of the boon with which you return, for the benefit of yourself, your own, and the world at large. It may also represent the reception you may expect for yourself and for your boon (which is not always gratitude or understanding).

Additional Cards

Additional cards may be dealt from either the Majors or Minors to elaborate upon the basic interpretations. For example, four additional Majors can be dealt radially around the pivot, between the elements of the Marriage Quaternity, to investigate archetypal relationships. Also, stages of the Heroic Journey can be investigated in more detail by dealing additional Minors on their locations. For example, cards dealt on 4.Labors and 9.Dangers can give additional information about trials to be faced, and on 5.Helpers and 10.Saviors can suggest additional sources of aid.

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Last updated: Wed Jun 9 18:57:23 EDT 1999