Although generally, I prefer the quick and simple spreads, respectively three up to seven cards, in some circumstances, specific questions, requires further in-depth analyses.
The Unified Esoteric Tarot spread, is highly recommended for personal development, self-observation, self-remembering and so-called ‘spiritual’ matters, but it is also an excellent choice to obtain a detailed answer to any specific question regardless of its subject.
The UET spread incorporates elements from Astrology, Numerology, Alchemy, Kabbalah and The Fourth Way.
The structure of the spread is based on the God’s Formula (See Section 2.45. The God’s formula).
The three columns represent the three primary energies of the Universe, and the four rows represent the four Elements, the four stages of the alchemical process, respectively the four kabbalistic worlds.
The first column represents the Active, feminine energy, respectively cards 1, 5, 7 and 10. The second column represents the Reactive (Passive), masculine energy, respectively cards 2, 4, 8 and 11. The third column represents the Neuter (or Reconciling), androgynous energy, respectively the cards 3, 6, 9 and 12.
From an alchemical perspective, Active is attributed to Salt, Reactive to Sulfur and Neuter to Mercury.
The Three Pillars of the Tree of Life are called the Pillar of Severity (Gevurah), the Pillar of Beuty (Tiferet) and the Pillar of Mercy (Chesed) according to the three Sefirot of the World of Creation.
The first row, cards 1, 2 and 3, represents the first stage of development, the foundation of the current situation. At the first level, the cards may also symbolise someone’s basic desires for sustainability, respectively for sex, food and shelter.
In Astrology, it corresponds to the Element Fire, and in Numerology to the Intuitive Plane. In Alchemy the first stage is called Nigredo. In the Kabbalah, it corresponds to the World of Emanation, called Atziluth.
1st card – Current situation – the core of the question.
The 1st card represents the Sun (Leo), respectively the alchemical process called Putrefaction.
The rotting of a substance, often under a prolonged gentle moist heat. Usually, the matter becomes black.
From a psychological and self-development perspective, Putrefaction is the process of mortification and decomposition of the ego. In order to start something new or rebuild something, someone has to decompose the old self. Putrefaction is the process of disintegration.
In practical terms, the first card represents the starting point, the current situation, respectively the core of the question.
2nd card – The trigger.
The 2nd card represents Mars (Aries), respectively the alchemical process called Calcination.
Calcination represents the breaking down of a substance by fierce heating and usually burning in an open crucible. Calcination is an operation of purification.
In practical terms, the second card represents the inquirer’s reaction to the current situation.
3rd card – Primary options.
The 3rd card represents Jupiter (Sagittarius), respectively the alchemical process called Fermentation.
Fermentation represents the rotting of a substance, usually of an organic nature, often accompanied by the release of gas bubbles. (Example: convert sugar to alcohol). Fermentation is the conversion of organic substances into new compounds in the presence of a ferment.
In practical terms, the third card represents the awakening, respectively recognising the current options.
The second row, cards 5, 4 and 6, represents the second stage of development.
The second level represents someone’s desire for wealth, to accumulate and have more (sex, food and money, respectively proprieties and material goods). However, to have more is not a guarantee to be happier. Most of the time is nothing but an illusion and a temporary sentiment of satisfaction. Psychologically it symbolises someone’s emotional attachments.
In Astrology, it corresponds to the Element Water, and in Numerology to the Emotional Plane. In Alchemy the second stage is called Albedo. In the Kabbalah, it corresponds to the World of Creation, called Beri’ah.
4th card – Attachments.
The 4th card represents the Moon (Cancer), respectively the alchemical process called Conjunction.
Conjunction is the birth of a new reality through the union of action and emotion. Conjunction represents the joining of two opposite components, often seen as the union of the male and female, the subtle and gross, or even the elements.
In practical terms, the fourth card represents our beliefs, respectively the emotional foundation of our actions – what motivate us in our démarches – our attachments. Sometimes the fourth card might be the clue of what keeps us blocked, respectively what drag us back.
5th card – Aims (Objectives).
The 5th card represents Pluto (Scorpio), respectively the alchemical process called Sublimation.
Sublimation occurs when a solid is heated and gives off a vapour which condenses on the cool upper parts of the vessel as a solid, not going through a liquid phase.
Sublimation is elevation. It is the operation which may bring someone to a higher level of consciousness by extasy and revelation.
In practical terms, the fifth card represents our desire to discover deeper meanings and rise beyond our current possibilities.
6th cards – Signals.
The 6th card represents Neptune (Pisces), respectively the alchemical process called Projection.
Projection represents the throwing of a ferment or tincture onto a substance in order to effect a transformation of the substance.
Projection is the operation which allows the individual to project on the outside a number of different personalities according to momentarily, circumstantial, singular or social expectations while enabling to keep her or his true personality secret and private.
In practical terms, the sixth card represents the external manifestation of our emotions, the signals we send, how we present ourselves on the outside and in front of others.
The third row, cards 7, 8 and 9, represents the third stage of development, and represent the human desire for power. The third level also represents someone’s desire for appreciation and recognition. The need for being validated and admired by others, in some cases to be feared. These cards show who we really are when no one can see us.
In Astrology, it corresponds to the Element Air, and in Numerology to the Mental Plane. In Alchemy the third stage is called Citrinitas. In the Kabbalah, it corresponds to the World of Formation, called Yetzirah.
Citrinitas is a term given by alchemists to “yellowness”. It refers to the process of “transmutation of silver into gold”, respectively “yellowing of the lunar consciousness.” In the Jungian archetypal schema, Citrinitas is the wise old man (or woman) archetype.
7th card – Our thoughts.
The 7th card represents Uranus (Aquarius), respectively the alchemical process called Multiplication.
It is not how much someone is thinking but how she or he thinks.
Multiplication will be possible only if and when we change the way we are thinking. Subsequently, multiplication is also a matter of communication and gathering, respectively exchanging information.
In practical terms, the seventh card represents our thoughts – all the ideas circulating in our heads, our doubts and hopes.
8th card – Received information.
The 8th card represents Venus (Libra), the alchemical process called Cibation (which means feeding).
The feeding of the substance being acted upon in a flask, with some reagent, usually a liquid.
According to Dennis William Hauck, “psychologically, Cibation is a sensitising process in which painful memories and hardened reactions are dredged up and felt again with the goal of refining the emotional tied to them.”
However, I think this is not an emotional, but a rational, mental process. Cibation is the process of adding new information to those someone already has, and by that, someone may expand her or his horizons.
In practical terms, the eight card represents the impressions, impulses we receive from outside and add to, respectively compare with our own. It is the information someone receives, the pros and cons regarding the question.
9th card – Decision.
The 9th card represents Mercury (Gemini), respectively the alchemical process called Separation.
Separation is the process of separate two opposite components from each other. It is often alternated with the conjunction process.
Separation is the process of distinguishing between what someone wants and what someone needs. It is also a choice between the needs of the heart and the needs of the spirit.
The very essence of Separation is perfectly depicted in the Tarot card called The Lovers. Adam is at the crossroad. On the one hand is Lilith, on the other is Eve. Driven by the passion he would choose Lilith, but his mind says to choose Eve.
In practical terms, the ninth card represents the choice: someone will take the path to the right or to the left?
We must understand that the result of our decisions is the foundation of our future. Take a turn to the left in a specific moment, or take a turn to the right, can make a significant difference. People do not like to assume responsibility and instead of taking firm decisions, they deluding the problem and consequently postpone taking the decision – which is a decision by itself and has unwanted consequences.
The fourth row, cards 10, 11 and 12, represents the final stage of development, respectively the manifestation and materialisation of the entire process. Without the materialisation, the whole process is pointless and meaningless. Without firm action, the desires, emotions and thoughts will remain inconsistent.
In Astrology, it corresponds to the Element Earth, and in Numerology to the Physical Plane. In Alchemy the third stage is called Rubedo. In the Kabbalah, it corresponds to the World of Action or Manifestation, called Assiah.
In the Jungian archetypal schema, Rubedo represents the Self-archetype and is the culmination of the four stages, the merging of ego and Self. The Self-manifests itself in “wholeness,” a point in which a person discovers their true nature.
10th card – The solution.
The 10th card represents Earth (Taurus), respectively the alchemical process called Solution/Dissolution.
“Alchemists stressed Solution as one of the important stages in the work. The volatile becomes fixed, and the fixed becomes volatile.”
Dissolution is the transformation of a substance by immersing it in water or other liquid. In the lab, it is the liquefaction of a solid or the absorption of a solid into a liquid. It usually involved dissolving the ashes from Calcination in water or liquid chemicals. The water in which the ashes were dissolved took on magical proprieties, and the term ‘elixir’ emerged from the Arabic Al-iksir which literally means ‘from the ashes’.
Each time when a door is shot in the front of us, somewhere another door or a window will open. If we do not waste our time and energy to open up the closed door, we will find another opportunity nearby.
The tenth card represents the recommended solution to the question; it is a practical advice to the specific question.
11th card – How someone should behave. Action.
The 11th card represents Saturn (Capricorn), respectively the alchemical process called Exaltation.
An operation by which a substance is raised into a purer and more perfect nature.
According to the dictionaries, exaltation is an excessively intensified sense of well-being, power, or importance.
Exaltation is the moment of fulfilment and victory. However, the wise man knows to keep his balance and remain humble.
In practical terms, the eleventh card represents the behaviour pattern someone should follow in order to achieve her or his goals. What needs to be done to complete our demarche.
12th card – The outcome.
The 12th card represents Ceres (Virgo), respectively the alchemical process called Congelation-Crystallization.
Congelation is the conversion of a thin flowing liquid into a congealed thick substance, often by heating.
Crystallization is the formation of crystals out of a solution of the substance usually in water, either by their gradual formation from the liquid or by evaporation of the liquid.
Congleation, respectively Crystallization is the operation of fixation, the finalisation of the process.
In practical terms, the twelve card represents the outcome, the result of the process – according to the current course of our actions.
(Excerpt from the book “The Unified Esoteric Tarot Handbook – Volume One, A general introduction to Tarot, The Fourth Way, Astrology, Numerology, Kabbalah and Alchemy” by Attila Blága. Full or partial use of this text for commercial or non-commercial distribution by any means whatsoever is strictly prohibited unless expressly authorised by the author.)