On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…

4 Calling Birds

This post, being brought to you by the number four, is going to be about reading using the four elements. Specifically, a four-card elemental spread. It’s quick, easy, and has proven quite valid in my experience.

(Because I am posting more than one entry today, please don’t miss my previous post, 5 Gold Rings.)

I have made good use of this spread, which is actually a preliminary step for Opening of the Key. I always use it with tarot, but there is no reason it can’t be used with other decks. What I do is to shuffle the deck and divide in half to the left; then divide each of those piles in half, again to the left. I end up with four piles, created in this order:

4 – 2 – 3 – 1

If that is confusing, don’t worry. You can divide the deck however you like, or just lay out four cards. You can search this blog or the web for Opening of the Key (sometimes OOTK) to find more details if you aren’t familiar.

Each pile represents one of the four elements. For me, and OOTK, they are ordered from right to left:

Earth – Air – Water – Fire

Your own use of the elements and understanding of the meanings may differ, but here is a synopsis of what I read into these piles:

Fire: Inspiration, passion, drive, action. Because it’s action, it can also represent the past that lead to the question for the reading.

Water: Emotion, relationships, nature of interaction with others.

Air: Thoughts, communications, plans.

Earth: Stability, concrete things, material things, and — because it’s things that are solid — the possible final outcome of the question.

If you use cards that have elements and you are familiar with elemental dignities, you can also dignify each pile. So if you had a water card (a playing card heart or a tarot cup, for example) in the Fire pile, then that card is weak, and creates a conflict in the Fire position. If you use Lenormand you could use “natural dignites.” For example, the Sun card would probably be strong — too strong? — in the Fire pile, whereas the watery Fish would be weak in the Fire pile.

This is a sketch of the spread and the process. I have one example of this posted previously, which focuses more on elemental dignities than on the meaning of each individual pile.