The Ammonite: A Card Layout for Solstice and Equinox

This is a card layout gifted by the ammonite, a crystalized fossil from ancient sea, which forms in the shape of the sacred spiral. This layout was brought to life on the Solstice, when two good friends met for tea and cards. It is a perfect spread for those of you who read cards with the 52 card playing deck, as both the deck and the layout are measures of time, and how it spirals through our lives, the seasons, the Solstices and Equinoxes.

My friend and I created this layout on the Summer Solstice. Anytime within a week or so of the Solstice is a perfect time to do this layout, but other good times would be the Winter Solstice or either of the Equinoxes. These are of course naturally significant times, natural beginnings within the year, AND they work with the natural structure of the playing card deck. The playing card deck is a model of the natural year, with each of the 4 suits of 13 cards representing one of the 4 seasons of 13 natural weeks. The 52 cards together represent the entire year of 52 weeks. So it is a very common sense kind of spread.

 The Ammonite Layout

Begin with the center of your layout and turn one card. OF COURSE, never ever ever flip your card tail over head as is done in card gaming when laying out your cards. I am sure to find out about it if you do, and will come and torment you through my many elemental companions until corrected. This way of flipping in card reading is like fingernails on a chalkboard to me. Don’t you know? As a card reader you are in a story teller tradition, and your cards are your story book. Pages unbound for infinite story telling potential. So turn your cards off the deck side to side. Goodness sake!

Onward. As mentioned, begin in the center of your table or floor. This layout is grande so give yourself LOTS of room. Continue turning cards as you spiral outward with your formation clockwise. Stop when no cards left! That’s it.

Now. What to do with this gigantic spiral, or ammonite formation. Keeping in mind that each card naturally represents one week of time, it all becomes easy. The first card you laid out is NOW, or in otherwords, the week of time at hand. The top of the deck is always now in calendar work with the playing cards. This card is significant, obviously, not only because it is now, but also because it is happening on either a solstice or equinox, it is astronomically significant. It is a beginning for you. It is like the first note in a song. It rings out.

Now this first card is number 1. Count cards in your spiral in the order you laid them out until you reach the number 13, then start over with the number one again and repeat. You should be able to come out evenly, counting to 13 exactly four times when all your cards have been counted. If not, you are either missing a card or you messed up your counting. My friend and I, when creating this spread, had the most vexed time ever getting our counting to come out evenly. It was beyond belief. I think the shape of the spiral had our brains spinning.

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John Alan Elson –

Now, go back and locate the cards that were the number 1 in your counting. All of these represent either an Equinox or Solstice time to come. They are markers in the year ahead for you. This spiral is the yellow brick road of your future for the next year. You begin in the absolute center, which is now, and spiral outward into time, through the weeks, the seasons – the numbers, suits, and colors of the cards. I recommend journaling this spiral and at the very least writing down the cards that appeared as the number 1.

Now if you are doing this layout on the Summer Solstice as we did, your first card represents the week of the Summer Solstice, the next time you count the number one is going to represent the Fall Equinox. The next will be Winter Solstice, then Spring Equinox. I think it is significant also for sure to write down the 13th card that appears as well. Together, the 13th card along with the card of the number one create an ending with a beginning, a doorway of sorts. Also 13 is highly significant, of course, in this magical tradition so don’t downplay the four cards that appear in this position. It is likely to be as significant for you as cards of the number 1.

Another suggestion. If you are up for it, write down all 52 cards in order, as it can serve as a template, or the yellow brick road we talked about, for your year to come. It is a wonderful opportunity for self study and card reading practice to watch as your year unfurls itself within the language of your cards.

In my Ammonite Layout, I put one small crystal on top of each of the 52 cards. I have a bag of 52 tiny crystals I keep for work with my cards and it is WONDERFUL to just sit with this layout, ponder over cards, drink tea, and let everything steep. I feel the individual cards are meshing with the energy of the crystals, working to resolve, elevate and heal life dynamics. Nothing is really required except my own presence.

If you’d like to know more about card reading with the 52 card playing deck, you can read reviews, get your free ebook copy or order your own signed paperback copy of the acclaimed The Playing Card Oracles HERE.  Please share your own experiences, questions or comments about this work below. Thank You 🙂

Lisa with cards

After we first laid out the spiral – MUCH contemplation!

Lisa with cards3

After we defined more clearly the spiral, making the spread more beautiful and also easier to go back and count 🙂


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