The other day, I was playing around with my method for reading probability, when I found myself asking not if something would or wouldn't happen, but what the pros and cons would be, should it occur. In that moment, I began contemplating methods to simply construct a spread that would tackle this sort of inquiry, and that was when this method for weighing pros and cons was born. It is inspired both by my "yes/no/maybe so" system and decision making method for reading the cards.
The idea behind weighing the pros and cons is that with most of what we experience and pursue in life, there are ups and downs. Sometimes those ups and downs are of equal impact, and many times the situation skews one way or another. If you're trying to determine the ups and downs or pros and cons or something, whether that be embarking on a new path, leaving a current relationship or having a difficult conversation - keep reading; this method is for you.
With your question formulated, you're going to shuffle your deck and lay in front of you 4 cards. This method relies on reversals, so make sure you shuffle in such a way that they may be possible. And keep in mind, the reversals don't need to be read as reversals, they simply need to be able to show up, as they will help to distinguish something important.
Once you've shuffled as per your normal procedure, lay 4 cards out in front of you. The first thing you're going to do is quickly scan to see what cards appeared upright and which appeared reversed. The upright cards will represent the pros or positives and the reversed cards will represent the cons or negatives.
You can then go on to interpret the cards as you normally would, but in this case you will do so through the lens of them either being what is contributing to the positive or negative aspects of the situation. You'll also want to take into account how many cards were reversed and how many were upright. If they are all upright, for example, then this would be a nice indication that the situation is looking mostly, if not wholly positive. On the other hand, if you received an equal amount of reversed and upright cards, it could be said that the situation is fairly neutral - though, the specific cards will give more insight into how negative the con cards are and how positive the pro cards are, if that makes sense.
Let's look at an example. Our seeker has questions about getting back together with her ex. She knows there is still a connection and mutual interest, but she's also worried they will find themselves having the same problems they did the first time around. She wants to know the pros and cons of pursuing this situation further.
You shuffle the cards for our seeker and pull the following: The 2 of Cups, The Tower, The 7 of Pentacles reversed and The Hanged Man reversed.
In this case, there are an even amount of reversed and upright cards, so the situation carries potentially equal pros and cons. On one hand, it looks like this union could be a balanced and loving one that brings about big (but ultimately positive) changes in the seeker's life. On the negative side, the 7 of Pentacles and Hanged Man both speak to a sense of patience, stillness and even stagnation. While the union could be very fulfilling, it may not happen overnight. Cultivating this partnership will take maybe more time than desired, more patience than anticipated and some effort on both their parts. However, if they are willing to put in the time and the work, then they could end up with very positive results.
I hope that example helped to illustrate how this method could be used and interpreted. What I like about it, is that it is pretty simple and straightforward, though has the ability to show you quite a bit of helpful information. And you don't need to be limited to 4 cards. If you think the situation is fairly complex, you could pull more cards, as long as the total pulled is an even number! This is about weight and balance, so you must allow for things to sway to either side or land evenly in the middle.
I hope this method is something you'll be able to add to your tarot toolkit. If you have questions or just want to share how you're making out with it, feel free to leave a comment below!
Until next time...