The spreads to be used with the Theban alphabet symbol set are taken from chapter three of Greg Jenkins book, The Theban Oracle. As with any divination method, I encourage you to 1: silence your thoughts 2: get into a meditative state of mind 3: ask whatever unseen sources of wisdom you believe in and rely on for guidance to inspire you and 4: concentrate on your question as you draw the cards (or stones, if you elect to paint or engrave the symbols on stones).
The Daily One-Draw
The first one I will cover isn’t a spread at all. You simply draw one card from the deck, or one stone from the bag, as your daily omen or oracle, asking ‘what do I need to know for my life today?’ This is a good way to get to know the meanings of each symbol. Be aware, of course, whether you have drawn the symbol right-side-up or upside-down, for that will affect what your omen is for the day.
The Theban Three
This spread is good for a quick-read on a particular issue or problem you are having. Position number one is your place or situation at the present time. Position number two is the nature of the personal challenge you are facing. Position number three is the possible outcome which will result if you take action to deal with or combat this challenge.
The Theban Four
Recognizing the lack of advice in the Theban Three spread, I have created the Theban Four spread. The addition of a fourth card slightly changes the meaning of the final two cards in the spread. To identify the challenge before you is all well and good, but what advice does the Theban alphabet have for how you can most effectively deal with the challenge? So the third symbol in this spread is ‘what action should I take in order to most-effectively deal with this challenge? The fourth symbol then becomes, ‘what is the most likely outcome if I deal effectively with this challenge?’
The Theban Six
This spread is for those life situations which demand a little more detail or contemplation on your part than the sorts of issues which can be addressed with a simple one- three- or four-symbol spread. In this spread, the upper-triad of symbols represent the most-important aspects of the overall question. The lower-triad represents the next steps you may need to choose in order to rectify the situation. The ‘pivotal option’ symbol represents ideas you may wish to consider in order to make changes to your problem or situation. This is where you can choose to do things differently. The bearing represents the current course of you situation, and in what directly it is likely to continue.
The Theban Nine
This spread is for taking an even deeper, more meaningful look at your issue. In this spread, along with the two triads of symbols in the six-symbol spread, there is the addition of a third triad which delves into how this situation came about in the first place, what in your past led to things as they are now. This triad comes first in the spread. The number 1 symbol represents your past outlook, and indicates what state of mind or way of looking at life led to this situation. The number 2 symbol represents the foundation of the self, and indicates a core element of your psyche which may be drawing this situation into your life and holding it in place. This could also represent an outdated philosophy which needs to die, in order for you to progress. The number 3 symbol, called ‘the ouroboros’ represents a problem which is continuously occurring, or frequently re-curring, never finding a full resolution or ending. This is a deep-seated issue which will keep happening until a long-term solution is found. The other two triads are the same as in the Theban Six spread.
The Tree of Life
Those familiar with the Kabbalah will recognize this spread. Perhaps the main difference in this spread as Dr. Jenkins has designed it is, you read this spread in reverse-order from the way the Sephiroth on the Tree of Life are normally numbered; you start with Malkuth (which is normally number 10) at the bottom and work your way to Kether (which is normally number 1) at the top. This spread is best for an overall/overview life reading. It’s for those times when you don’t have a ‘what’s-wrong-in-my-life-and-how-do-I-fix-it’ kind of question. It’s probably best reserved only for those who are prepared to take a plain, unvarnished look at themselves. When drawing a Theban letter for each of the Sephiroth, you concentrate on the nature of that particular position on the Tree of Life as you draw each symbol. This spread is rather contemplative and instructive in nature, and you may want to perform it alone.
The Hand Cast
This method works only for those who have chosen to paint or engrave the Theban letters onto stones (or who have printed out my cards, cut out the letters, then decoupaged them onto stones or small wooden discs). In this spread, you do as if you were reading the stones or African bone divination and stir up the stones in a bag as you ask your question, then grab a handful at random and cast them onto your casting surface. As always with this kind of reading, it’s best to cast with your less-dominant hand. As with the stones or bones, this is a very organic way of reading. Which symbols landed face-up and which landed face-down? Which symbol was closest to you, and which symbol was farthest from you? Which symbols landed near each other? (They may need to be read as a pair). Did any of the Theban letters appear to ‘point’ at any others? (If so, the ‘pointer’ symbol could be saying ‘this problem requires this solution’ or ‘this situation will lead to this’). Was there a cluster of symbols anywhere? (If so the Spirits may be telling you to synthesize the meanings of these symbols into one coherent whole).
I have found the Theban Alphabet Oracle to be an intensely personal divination method. If you accept that your outer world is but a reflection of what is going on inside of you, and that what is going on inside of you will soon show up in your outer world, then the Theban Alphabet can provide you with a set of much-needed road signs, so you can make course-corrections before ending up in a ditch on life’s highway. Which, when you get right down to it, is but another place of learning.
1. Draw a Theban letter a day for a week. Or two. Note the symbol you draw each day, and whether you drew it right-side-up or reversed. Note what happened each day. At the end of the one or two-week period, look at your notes and what happened each day. How on-target or off-base were the Theban letters? Did they seem to get more-accurate about your day as time went on, or less-accurate?
2. Perform the Theban Three and the Theban Four spreads for the same question. Do a comparison and contrast. Was there any overlap? Did they concur with each other? How did the addition of a fourth stone in the Theban Four spread change the reading from the Theban Three spread? Which of these spreads do you prefer to use?
3. Try the Theban Six or the Theban Nine spread. How did this reading differ from the three or four-symbol spreads? Did you find it more helpful or informative than the briefer spreads? Was it more accurate? Would you prefer one of these spreads over the shorter ones, or would it depend on the situation? Was it too much information?
4. Perform the Tree of Life spread, and note your results. Do you feel it gave you an accurate snapshot of your life at this moment? Did it give you any clues as to how to resolve any ongoing life issues?