The Pentagram spread is something that I’ve shamelessly stolen from Philip & Stephanie Carr-Gomm’s book that accompanies the DruidCraft Tarot deck. After pinballing between several decks for a while, none of which really worked for me, it was precisely the DruidCraft with its gorgeous art by Will Worthington and the exceptionally well-written book mentioned above that made things click into place. This was a long time ago but the Pentagram spread is something that has stayed with me all this time as an exceptionally effective method of doing “general” Tarot readings where you simply want to get a good overview of the situation and of what is likely to pass.
The spread consists of five cards, laid out in the shape of a five-pointed star, with each one there to represent a metaphysical element. Starting at the lower right corner and moving counterclockwise, we have: Fire, Water, Spirit, Air, and Earth. Anyone even remotely familiar with the theory of the classical elements will immediately know what each stand for but, for those that don’t, it is worth repeating.
Fire is the element of action, of movement, of expansion and aggression. A purely masculine force, it looks out to command and conquer, but also to destroy. The card that falls in its place is related to work, ambition, pursuit of action – of things that need to be done and done fast – of movement and the power of the will.
Water on the other hand is in the domain of the Divine feminine. Its realm is that of the subconscious and of intuition. It presides over emotions and thus any card that falls into this position will likely refer to love and interpersonal relationships.
Spirit covers our higher calling and true purpose in life. It is the element of destiny, of what cannot be avoided and what you will need to return to over and over again until you absorb the spiritual lesson you need to learn and the seize opportunity for growth you are presented with.
Air is the metaphysical element of intellectual pursuits, education, of our thoughts, ideas and aspirations. Less forceful than Fire, it is still more on the masculine side. The card falling in this position will reveal the ways to sharpen your wits and outsmart your enemies.
Earth will tell you all about your career but, unlike Fire which is there to flame up your ambition and point you towards your life’s calling, the element of the Earth will be far more materialistic and oriented towards economic gain through sheer hard work and tenacity.
Of course, if a card of one particular suit fails into its corresponding element, this will likely amplify its meaning as well as its importance. This is why we ought to know that Wands belong to the element of Fire, Cups to Water, Swords to Air, Coins to Earth and the potent archetypal images of the Major Arcana to the realm of the Spirit.
The Pentagram spread is an excellent “diagnostic” tool, allowing you to observe the energies at work and catch a glimpse of the near future. It can serve as an solid introduction to a more elaborate reading session and perhaps precede a Celtic Cross or a Horoscope spread.