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The Predictive Tarot, Part One

by on April 13, 2022

by Auntie Tarot    

Tony Willis has been taking care of the blog while I have been having time off. He’s made rather a good job of it. However, for the past month he has been working on protection for Ukraine. Working astrally, that is, or, applying the phrase he likes to use, he has been operating ‘in vision’. As Mr Willis is otherwise occupied, I am stepping into the breech. This gives me the opportunity to speak about an aspect of tarot dear to my heart but which I fear is greatly neglected at the present time.

I discovered the tarot in the nineteen-forties, and had great difficulty acquiring a tarot deck. Eventually I found one in an antique shop! How times have changed! The way tarot is approached today is also markedly different from the approach in which I was schooled. Half a century ago the accent was on prediction. While there was a psychological aspect to every reading, the amount psychology involved was minimal; in the main, it told the reader what type of personality her client had. At the present time, the pendulum has swung in the other direction: spreads are interpreted largely from the psychological point of view with, now and then, a predictive element creeping in.

So prevalent has the psychological approach become that it is possible that predictive reading of the cards will become a lost art. In recent years there has been sterling work done on re-presenting the predictive tarot to the general public (I mark out in particular Caitlín Matthews’ outstanding Untold Tarot (Red Feather, 2018)) and some older books on reading the tarot predictively remain in print. Even so, I thought I would add my own thoughts on the technique to the general pool of knowledge in the hope that they might strike a chord in some minds where no chord has been struck before in respect of this subject.

As an opening gambit, I’m going to step away from the tarot for moment and look at the predictive method in relation to another, simpler type of fortune-telling. The Fairy Crosses consist of only nine symbols; nine colored crosses each with its own distinctive significance, the way they combine dictating the content of the predictions. Madeline Montalban, who wrote a great deal on the tarot, some of whose articles I have posted on this blog, introduced the Fairy Crosses to a wider audience in the 1959 edition of the Prediction Annual. She explained what they are, how they are used and interpreted, and how to make them. It is the interpretive part of her article that I am going to concentrate on, but I’m posting it in full so that those who would like to make their own set of Crosses, and try out the method for themselves, can do so.

Forecasting by Fairy Crosses

by Madeline Montalban     

How often we hear people say: "I would love to be able to look into the future, but I’m just not psychic." When I hear this I always have to chip in and explain that there are many ways of predicting that don’t require any clairvoyant gifts at all. This always seems to surprise the hearers.

In last year’s Prediction Annual I wrote about rune-stones, one of the simplest means of divining the future, and described how they could be found. This year I am going to tell you about Fairy Crosses, which you can make for yourself.

Just how Fairy Crosses came by their name I don’t know, but I first encountered them when an old lady "told my fortune" with them (and very accurately too) using nothing more psychic than an ordinary magnet. This is how it was done.

The old lady took from a box nine metal crosses, not made in the crucifix shape, but in the form of X’s, like the kiss-sign. Each cross was of a different colour but all were of equal size. She handed me the box lid and told me to put all the crosses into it, shake it well, and then pick out the crosses one by one and lay them in a straight line before me on the table. While I was doing this I was to "Think hard about what I wanted to know".

Using that first lay-out of crosses as an example here is the order of colours as they were picked out and laid in a straight line from left to right on the table.

Yellow, red, black, rainbow, purple, orange, green, blue, and white. That done, I waited for the old lady to translate them but she said: "That’s only the beginning, my dear. Now, you take this magnet in your right hand, and move it very slowly along just below the line of crosses, but you must not touch any of them with it. Nor must you stop at any cross, for that would be picking it out and you must let the magnet do the choosing. See those queer little symbols on the magnet? That’s a mysterious word meaning ‘Tell me true’, or something like it. Very old is this way of telling fortunes and I have heard that the signs on that magnet are fairy words that were cut into a stone found on a fairy hillock, but it doesn’t do to believe all you hear. Still just keep moving that magnet slowly along the line of crosses – See now! The red one has jumped out of line and stuck to the magnet. Use that to begin a new line of crosses, and lay it down well away from the others, and go on."

As I moved the magnet slowly and evenly under the line of crosses starting the line again as I came to its end, one by one different coloured crosses leaped to the magnet, in apparent haphazard fashion. These in turn I placed by the side of the first cross picked out, and continued until the last cross had been picked up. Now I had a new line of crosses in an entirely different order.

The old lady began interpreting, reading the crosses from left to right in order as they lay.

"You’ve picked out red, black, yellow, rainbow, orange, blue, purple, white, and green in that order," she said "and that’s the order they will be interpreted in. Nothing hard about this.

"Starting with the red one, that stands for quarrels and disputes you’ve been having. A man is concerned in them, because the red cross always represents a male influence, too. This quarrel will never be settled. It is of long standing, and will go on for a long time – that’s the meaning of the black cross that follows the red.

"You realize this, my dear, for the yellow cross follows on, and this represents changes you are thinking of making. If you do make those changes, it will lead to the altering of your whole life, and the following of your true destiny. That’s what the rainbow cross, which comes next, always stands for.

"I believe that rainbow cross signifies a life being turned topsy-turvy, so that the old way of things can give way to the new. That will certainly happen in your case. You’ll make a new life, and it will be lucky from the start, because the orange cross of success follows the rainbow, and that’s a lucky one indeed."

By then my eyes were popping out of my head, but the old lady continued: "The next cross, being a blue one, can mean either one of two things. Either it’s a love affair that’s going to start, or the beginning of an important new friendship. But as the blue is followed by the purple cross, which either means money gain, or some person of power who helps you to get it, I reckon that preceding blue cross represents a new friendship.

"You can take it then that you’ll make a new and influential friend who will put you on the road to material success. The white cross that comes next usually represents a lady but when the querent is a woman it stands for herself, like the red cross usually represents a man Querent. With that white cross, representing you, sandwiched between the purple one and the green that follows, it looks to me as if you had some kind of mystic guidance in making your future plans, for the green cross always means that.

"I would say that you have already decided to end this unbearable situation now prevailing, and that you have been guided in some strange way to do it."

"You are right," I admitted. "I’ve already made up my mind to go to another town and make a new life for myself. It was a big decision, for I must go alone, and I’m pleased your fairy crosses show such good prospects."

"You don t get away with it so easily," old lady smiled. "I want you to tell me what it was that guided you – for I know by the placing of the green cross that something did."

“I awoke suddenly one morning exactly six o’clock, a most unusual hour for me," I admitted. "I seemed to have been wakened by a loud, clear voice telling me that from now on, I had to strike out for myself, stand on my own feet, and begin a new life, leaving the old one completely behind. And that," I concluded, "is just what I decided to do. But where the voice came from is a mystery, for I was quite alone in the house at the time the folks being away on holiday.”

"Some might say it was angels, or spirits or even the tail-end of a dream but I reckon it was the fairies that talked to you," the old lady said. "Most folks don’t believe in ’em but I do, and their little crosses too." She was about to sweep them all up in the box when I asked her if I could study them for a while and write down their meanings.

So here are what the crosses mean, and given in the order I found most easy to memorize. Where there are alternative meanings remember that the crosses preceding or following the one under consideration can determine or modify what they are.


Success. (Fortunate.)


The Querent (if female) or a lady inquired about. (Neutral.)


Occult guidance, reliable intuition or hunch. (Fortunate.)


Long-standing obstacles or difficulties. Overcome if followed by purple or blue cross. (Unfortunate.)


Complete reversal of circumstances prevailing. If followed by "lucky" crosses –good new life. (Variable.)


A male Querent, or any man inquired about. Otherwise, quarrels and disputes, especially with unfortunate crosses lying on either side. (Variable.)


Money luck, or some person of power who helps the Querent. (Fortunate.)


Important new friendship or love affair. (Fortunate.)


Changes, journeys, removals, sometimes emigration. (Fortunate.)

Thus you will see that each cross has its own meaning and character, but the interpretation can be modified by the crosses lying immediately to left or right.

Now I shall describe how you can make your own set of Fairy Crosses, providing that you can handle metal shears and a soldering iron (I can’t, myself – they turn into lethal weapons in my hands, but I have seen it done successfully).

Before I begin, let me make one request. Please, if you are going to make your own Fairy Crosses, don’t write to me and ask where you can buy a magnet. Try the nearest hardware store or toy shop. (I swiped my own from an unwary nephew.) But I can tell you where to get Fairy Crosses, with magnet and instructions, all complete in a box, if you prefer a ready-made outfit, instead of embarking on “Do it Yourself” magic.

How To Make Your Own Fairy Crosses!

There are nine crosses, so you begin by cutting eighteen pieces of metal into equal strips of one inch in length by a quarter of an inch wide. This metal can be any kind that will be attracted to a magnet, so get your magnet first and try it out on the metal you intend to use. Magnets will attract any metal that contains iron.

Having cut your eighteen strips (use metal shears for this) you take two pieces and place them in the shape of an X. Where one metal strip crosses over the other, solder them together. If the metal is light enough, cold solder might do, but the hot type is always better. Or there is some ribbon solder that requires very little heat. When all the crosses are complete and firm, you paint them on one side in all the various colours described, but do let one side dry thoroughly before turning them over to paint the other side, and both sides must be painted to make the crosses of equal balance. Do not, of course, put on the paint so thickly as to form an insulation from the magnet.

If painting is not your idea of fun, the crosses can be covered with strips of thin ribbon (use striped or shot-silk for the rainbow cross) and the ribbon stitched into place with tiny stitches. Care is needed to ensure that the ribbon of the different coloured crosses is all of the same thickness. Make your sewing neat, for equal balance is of the greatest importance. Should one cross be covered by a thicker silk than another, the magnet would have less “pull” over that one, and the selection of crosses be hampered. Silk, nylon, artificial silk or even cotton are all suitable for covering the crosses, but choose the thinnest possible material, and remember that the thickness of any material used must be the same for all the crosses.

Then, following the method I have described of shaking the crosses up first in the lid of the box, pick them out one by one and lay out your first line, then run the magnet under the line from right to left, slowly, without touching the crosses, and let the magnet select the nine crosses, one by one, in its own order. It is the crosses in the order selected by the magnet that are to be read, using the interpretations I have given, and not the first line that you pick out of the box, remember. The idea of first picking out the nine crosses is that your personal magnetism gets into them through touching them. Then, for the actual “forecast line”, you use the magnet.


The mystic symbols on the magnet? Well, I have illustrated them, and you can paint them on it anywhere. I have also found out the meaning of the symbols, and they just mean “Fortune”.


In part two of this post, we will go through the predictive element in Miss M.’s article, picking up all the tips we can find there. In part three, I will apply what we have learnt to tarot reading from the predictive angle.

From → tarot divination

  1. Wonderful! Looking forward to more😊

  2. Chris Longhorn permalink

    Please pass on my sincere appreciation to Tony for the work he is doing for Ukraine. “Astral” work, however it is defined, is among the most noble endeavour if applied with right intent to the right problem. It is especially needed now and I can’t think of anyone better than Tony to bring wisdom and grace — and love — to that awful situation.

    If I wasn’t just about the most hopeless neophyte going, I’d try similar, but wary of being inexperienced and fearing unintentionally causing harm, I’m happy to leave it to those more capable.

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