As mentioned in my last post ‘Finding a Nockwood card to represent a person or a topic’, I’ve been looking for a method or ‘spread’ that allows for a reading around a specific topic.
This ‘spread’ includes elements from “social intuitionalism” that I described in the post ‘Beyond Behavior’ . It also combines a new framework which I’m calling ‘The Six Turnings’. The name comes from a particularly complicated junction that I used to live by as a child. It was six different roads that came together just outside Mylor Bridge in Cornwall, UK.
These ‘Six Turnings’ are an alternative to Steve Bannon’s object of obsession, “The Four Turnings” described by William Strauss and Neil Howe which are a rather dark and dystopian vision of the era we are currently in. Steve Bannon (and others) seem to think we are a transition period (‘the fourth turning’) that will end in a bloody battle and the emergence of a new world order (lets hope not!).
My own ‘six turnings’ is nothing more than a return to the ancient practice of defining ‘saecula’, cycles of history, a practice that dates back to the Etruscans. According to legend, the Gods attributed a certain number of ‘saecula’ to every people or civilization. Each ‘saeculum’ was approximately the length of a human life (a generation) and was divided into 4 ‘seasons’ (22 years each) representing youth, adulthood, mid-life and old age. My division, into six saeculum, meant I could align the saecula to the different suits of the Nockwood cards and in turn identify six stages of history or cultural change. The trick with Saecula is that there must be a causal relationship between one era and the next, where the dynamics of one gives birth to the dynamics of the next. Think of it as birth, youth, adulthood, family-life, mid-life, old-age etc.
Living up in the Hudson Valley I have been made very aware of the cyclical dynamics of nature, of which we are part. Theres something really reassuring about cycles that I find much easier to deal with than the more linear concept of ‘progress’ that we otherwise focus on. Cycles come and go but every time a particular ‘season’ comes around, we increase our understanding of it and can expand our learning so we are better able to deal with it the next time it comes around. To my mind, it’s this cyclical repetition that makes wisdom from the past valuable for the future.
So, here are my “Six Turnings” as i’m calling them:
The turning of Hearts (the suit of inner drives and passions) The cycle starts with the era of the artists. The start of something from within. Originality. Creativity. The fresh shoots of new ideas, the seeds of potential and a social context of uniformity that makes people hungry for artists and revolutionaries to give birth to fresh new ideas.
The turning to Coins (the suit of leadership, power and authority). This is the era of the prophets. The visionaries who see opportunity and set a future vision. They take the seeds of potential (from the artists) and because of their ambition and their ability to connect the dots, they are able to make them grow. The visions of the prophets give this era a sense of awakening, enlightenment and a desire for change or transformation. Everyone looks forward to the potential and opportunity.
The turning to Diamonds (the suit of discovery and exploration) The era of the explorers. After the prophets have seeded their visions we enter an era of ‘discovery’ where everything old is rejected and we desire only the new. This is an era typified by exuberance and optimism. These new ideas seem like the answer to everything and in our high we think they are can solve everything (short term over-estimation of the impact they will have). This is the renaissance, the gold rush, the era of free-love, technology booms and our more recent obsession with entrepreneurism or cyber currencies.
The turning to Spades (the suit of complexity and realism) The era of the Experts. So much exuberance and optimism in the previous era leads to an ‘unravelling’ due to inconsistency and disappointment. Hopes dashed and dreams broken. This is the era where expertise and deep knowledge are sought. Wisdom, depth of knowledge and craft become more valued than promises. We seek evidence, substance and concrete realities over intangibles.
The turning to Shields (the suit of protection and stabilization). The Heroes. In the face of ‘the unravelling,’ new conventions emerge. New rules. New structure. New heroes. In this environment the heroes are the ones who bring new order, allay fears, put protections in place and enforce conformity and order to bring stability.
The turning to Flags (the suit of community and social dynamics) The Enforcers. After the heroes comes a period of cultural retrenchment. Public consensus agrees to controls of individual freedom in an attempt to allay fears and benefit the greater good. This is the environment with the most institutional and social control but it is also an environment that gets stagnant, uninspiring and uniform. This is the environment in which artists and rebels have the most cultural tensions to push up against. By the end of the turning of Flags there is a hunger for something new.
…and so the cycle begins again.
So, the reading method.
Step 1: The first turning: (Position 1) Decide the card that represents the person or the question to be answered. The choice of card will depend entirely on the reader and the conversation they have with the person for whom the reading is being done. This card is placed down at position one.
Step 2: The second turning: The second card is turned and placed above and to the left of the first card. This card reveals the energy and power of the person. The force they can find within them to address the question/subject. The energy they have and by which they are able to effect what happens next.
Step 3: The third turning: The third card is turned and placed above and to the right of the first card. This card represents the controls that need to be in place. The priorities that must be identified and the risks that must be mitigated. Think of this as the constraints that must be applied to the power. The lens that must focus the energy.
Step 4: The fourth turning: The fourth cards should be turned and placed below the first card and to the left. This represents something that is already known. In some ways this is what you already expect. Knowledge or wisdom that you need to keep in mind. Experience or learning that will help you.
Step 5: The fifth turning: The fifth card should be turned and placed below the first card and to the right. This card represents what is unknown. The kicker, the surprise, the thing that you cannot see or have not anticipated. This position identifies other forces at play that you may not have any control over.
Step 6: The sixth turning: The final card should be turned and placed across the first card. This card completes the cycle and represents the final outcome. What will be. The relationship with the first card is the whole story. Where you are now and where you will be. It is both the end of this cycle and the beginning of the next.