Tirage en Croix


Assessment (e.g., of pros and cons); the higher spiritual perspective on the situation or on the querent’s goal.

Supportive conditions.

Summary of situation; aspects and conditions of which to be conscious and to take note.

Oppositional conditions.

Likely outcome.

This layout was described by the Swiss occultist, artist and author Oswald Wirth in his book The Tarot of the Magicians. Wirth stated that “no rule stands” in Tarot divination but offered a method “pointed out to” Stanislas de Guaita by Joséphin Péladan.

It traditionally used only the Major Arcana cards. Upon the querent’s question being posed, four cards are selected and a fifth card is identified through a calculation based on them.

To select each of the first four cards, Wirth suggested shuffling cards, and asking the querent for the first number between 1 and 22 that comes intuitively to mind, then counting off that many cards to find the card corresponding to the number. (He may have meant that all of the cards should be in each shuffle; if so, it would be possible to select the same card for two or more positions in the same layout.)

The fifth card, in the center position, is interpreted as synthesizing the other four cards. According to Wirth, “This synthesis in fact relates to what is of prime importance and on which everything depends.” It may be calculated by adding together the numbers on the first four cards and reducing the result (iteratively summing digits as in numerology), if necessary, to 22 or less. If the result is either 0 or 22, then the fifth card is card 0 “Le Fou” (The Fool). Otherwise, the result indicates the card for the fifth position. (It may happen that the result indicates one of the four cards already placed; some consider a dual placement acceptable, while others may wish to draw another card. For simplicity, this Web site is programmed to use the next available card from the deck, although this may be changed in future.)

The diagram at the top of this page gives a modern rendering of what the positions signify. Wirth used the metaphor of a courtroom in which one’s case is argued, and he labeled the positions as follows:

  2. NEGATION Against
  4. SOLUTION Sentence

A curious coincidental pattern, discovered through this Web site, is formed by summing the first four cards of a suit, and numerologically reducing the sum to a number less than 22. The result is the number of a Major Arcana card containing symbolism relatable in theme or appearance to the given suit.

  • Batons (also called: Arrows, Wands, Clubs, Flame, Rods, Scepters, Staves, Sticks, Fire):
    22 + 23 + 24 + 25 = 94 = 9 + 4 = 13 … Death with scythe or longbow and arrow
  • Cups (also called: Cauldrons, Chalices, Blue, Hearts, Vessels, Water):
    36 + 37 + 38 + 39 = 150 = 1 + 5 + 0 = 6 … Lovers
  • Swords (also called: Blades, Daggers, Spades, Air):
    50 + 51 + 52 + 53 = 206 = 2 + 0 + 6 = 8 … Lady Justice with upraised sword
  • Coins (also called: Diamonds, Discs, Pentacles, Spheres, Earth):
    64 + 65 + 66 + 67 = 262 = 2 + 6 + 2 = 10 … Wheel of Fortune
A curious numerological pattern

As with the Leminiscate Tableau, the apparent pattern works best with the order of the Justice and Strength cards given in older decks, rather than some modern decks where they are switched.