One-armed Bandit Tarot

A Slot Machine Spread

The archetypical slot machine usually has three reels of symbols, but there’s of course nothing wrong with adding more reels (rows of cards) if you are so inclined, and if it fits a particular reading you would want to do.

In this example, I will use 3 card reads, which literally could be anything that’s supposed to be read in a linear fashion (past, present, future – mind, body, spirit etc.)

You will need: A deck of cards, a coin or something similar (like a stone)  and at least one six-sided die.

With your, or your client/sitter’s question in mind, shuffle the cards in your normal fashion. Cut the deck as normal, and deal out three rows of cards, each with six cards in them, laying them all face down. 

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Offer a coin as a symbolic gesture. This could be a “magical” (consecrated) coin if you have one, or you could make one specially  for this specific purpose, or if you like to practice post-apocalyptic witchcraft, you could use a bottle cap, or really any kind of stone or an object of symbolic value to you or your client. Whatever you feel will work best for you. 

Pull an imaginary lever. Roll the die one time for each row. Turn over the card corresponding with the number on the die. Violà! There you have your results.

Variations:

It’s easy to modify this spread to better suit you needs. I’ve got some more thoughts and suggestions though, if you’d like to try it out. 

For instance, you could use more rows, as mentioned above, or put more, or less, cards in each row, and use polyhedral dice, like a D4, D8, D10, D12, or a D20 if you own them. If you don’t, you just use a random number generator either online or on an app on your phone. They’re easy to find. 

You might also consider using only 9 cards total if you are short on space. Still use three rows, but with only 3 cards in each one. And then use the 6 sided die as a D3:

1-2 = 1

3-4 = 2

5-6 = 3

Additionally, If you have one of those mini tarot decks or oracle cards, then that might be easier and more handy if your reading table or floor is small. 

If you’re like me, you probably have more than one deck. How about using three different decks? A separate one for each row. Maybe just use the Major Arcana from the decks, so that you increase the chance of getting two or three similar cards in a row! Jackpot!  

You could even turn over all the cards before rolling the dice and “pretend” you are allowed to step up or down a number of times in order to make a more favourable read Yes, I know this is a heretical notion, but shouldn’t we break the rules once in a while and deconstruct how to read cards? Why do you think I made this spread up in the first place? Trust me, I’m all for tradition, but let’s experiment more when it comes to actually using the cards. 

Here’s an example of a read: 

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You can see that I rolled 2, 2 and 6. The Four of Pentacles didn’t quite “fit” and I didn’t really see how it related to my question. So decided to “step up” one card (Page of Cups) and that made much more sense, and was definitely something I had hoped for regarding the outcome.

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