Opening of the Key Spread – Virtual card counting and strings

What is Opening of the Key Spread

One of many ways to use tarot cards to get a deeper insight into reality and what is going around. This article is not meant to be a full tutorial on how to use this spread, rather a quick reference.

Paul Hughes-Barlow introduced me to OOTK (Opening of the Key) spread and instead of repeating all his words, I will just link to books, websites, and youtube channel, check out Useful menu group. OOTK (Opening of the Key) spread.

Explore card string in Blog of Thoth – Academy

Card splitting

OOTK spread has specific way card should be cut, depending on the question/problem specific pile is taken and analyzed.

Stack 1Stack 2Stack 3Stack 4
Step 1.Full deck
Step 2.Top half from column 4Remaining bottom half
Step 3.Top half from column 2Remaining bottom halfTop half from column 4 Remaining bottom half
Tetragrammaton
associations
HehVavHehYod
CorrespondencesMaterialThoughtsEmotionsPersonal
Splitting cards and pile correspondences

Card values

CardsCountUpwardsDownwardChange directionComment
Aces5ClockwiseCounterclockwiseFive elements
Knight, Princes4CounterclockwiseClockwiseYesFour letters of YHVH
Queen4ClockwiseCounterclockwiseYesFour letters of YHVH
Princesses7ClockwiseCounterclockwiseYesSeven palaces of Malkhut
Minor cards2-10ClockwiseCounterclockwise
Fool, Aeon, Hanged man3ClockwiseCounterclockwiseThree mother letters
Zodiac cards12ClockwiseCounterclockwiseTwelve signs of the Zodiac
Planetary cards9ClockwiseCounterclockwiseSeven planets plus moons
Card counting quick reference table.

How to choose direction

There is no hard rule when choosing a direction. You can use Upwards, Downwards columns from the table as starting direction, you can also choose clockwise or counterclockwise or go in both directions to get more insights.

Changing direction

Let’s say you have 7 Wands Valour Upwards, you will count to 7 clockwise, you stop on 10 Disks Wealth downwards – you will still keep the same direction and count 10 clockwise.

Only court cards change counting direction. Let’s say you have 7 Wands Valour Upwards, you will count to 7 clockwise, you stop on Knight of Disks Upward – you will change direction to counterclockwise and count 4 to next card.

And don’t forget to include current card into count.

Counting steps

  1. Choose any card from the spread
  2. Decide direction: clockwise or anti-clockwise
  3. Find selected card count in the table.
  4. Count in a selected direction, including starting card.
    • If you landed on the card that you have visited previously and from the same direction, the string ends.
    • If you landed on the card that you haven’t visited, go to step 3.

Visual card strings

Using described rules I created a website where you can enter the string of cards and it will display all strings.

You can also press “Random” button to get a random string of cards and observe all relations and different strings.

To get more information about arrow colors and how to enter your own card string into text area, read instructions in “Instructions” tab.

Explore card string in Blog of Thoth – Academy

String with multiple independent strings

Counting clockwise from each card we can see that there are two independent strings.
Looking at the same string as above, but this time starting counterclockwise from each card.

String with court cards changing directions

Landing on court card will change directions. More court cards in string – more often direction is changed and complexity of strings increase tremendously.

Several times found strings with 3 independent strings. Don’t forget to share interesting strings that you find, or if you get string with 4 or more independent substrings.

Additional resources

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