The 7-card Horse Shoe is a convenient basic layout that can be used to answer different types of questions, especially concerning questions where a little insight would be helpful. Like several other spreads, it has cards representing the past, present, and future.
The pinnacle of the Horse Shoe, looking like the top of the mountain, shows the obstacle or challenge that needs to be addressed and overcome. Card #6 suggests a course of action to meet this challenge. The final card shows the outcome or future should you take this advice.
Other clues are provided in Cards #3 and #5, which indicate hidden and outside influences that come into play effecting the journey to your goal.
Your Horse Shoe #1 Reading
Ace of Swords
7 of Cups
8 of Cups
3 of Pentacles
The Past Card represents past events that are affecting the question.
8 of Cups
A man of dejected aspect is deserting the cups of his felicity, enterprise, undertaking or previous concern.
The card speaks for itself on the surface, but other readings are entirely antithetical - giving joy, mildness, timidity, honour, modesty. In practice, it is usually found that the card shews the decline of a matter, or that a matter which has been thought to be important is really of slight consequence - either for good or evil.
The Present Card represents the current state or immediately approaching influence.
Ace of Swords
A hand issues from a cloud, grasping as word, the point of which is encircled by a crown.
Triumph, the excessive degree in everything, conquest, triumph of force. It is a card of great force, in love as well as in hatred. The crown may carry a much higher significance than comes usually within the sphere of fortune-telling.
Hidden Influences - Things that you may not be aware of, or barely be aware of.
The sun shines in the zenith, and beneath is a great winged figure with arms extended, pouring down influences. In the foreground are two human figures, male and female, unveiled before each other, as if Adam and Eve when they first occupied the paradise of the earthly body. Behind the man is the Tree of Life, bearing twelve fruits, and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is behind the woman; the serpent is twining round it. The figures suggest youth, virginity, innocence and love before it is contaminated by gross material desire. This is in all simplicity the card of human love, here exhibited as part of the way, the truth and the life. It replaces, by recourse to first principles, the old card of marriage, which I have described previously, and the later follies which depicted man between vice and virtue. In a very high sense, the card is a mystery of the Covenant and Sabbath.
The suggestion in respect of the woman is that she signifies that attraction towards the sensitive life which carries within it the idea of the Fall of Man, but she is rather the working of a Secret Law of Providence than a willing and conscious temptress. It is through her imputed lapse that man shall arise ultimately, and only by her can he complete himself. The card is therefore in its way another intimation concerning the great mystery of womanhood. The old meanings fall to pieces of necessity with the old pictures, but even as interpretations of the latter, some of them were of the order of commonplace and others were false in symbolism.
Attraction, love, beauty, trials overcome.
Obstacle - This is the challenge.
An erect and princely figure carrying a drawn sword and corresponding, broadly speaking, to the traditional description which I have given in the first part. On the shoulders of the victorious hero are supposed to be the Urim and Thummim. He has led captivity captive; he is conquest on all planes - in the mind, in science, in progress, in certain trials of initiation. He has thus replied to the sphinx, and it is on this account that I have accepted the variation of Eliphas Levi; two sphinxes thus draw his chariot. He is above all things triumph in the mind.
It is to be understood for this reason (a) that the question of the sphinx is concerned with a Mystery of Nature and not of the world of Grace, to which the charioteer could offer no answer; (b) that the planes of his conquest are manifest or external and not within himself; (c) that the liberation which he effects may leave himself in the bondage of the logical understanding; (d) that the tests of initiation through which he has passed in triumph are to be understood physically or rationally; and (e) that if he came to the pillars of that Temple between which the High Priestess is seated, he could not open the scroll called Tora, nor if she questioned him could he answer. He is not hereditary royalty and he is not priesthood.
Succour, providence also war, triumph, presumption, vengeance, trouble.
External Influences - Attitudes about this situation from people around the querent.
The figure is seated between pillars, like the High Priestess, and on this account it seems desirable to indicate that the moral principle which deals unto every man according to his works - while, of course, it is in strict analogy with higher things; - differs in its essence from the spiritual justice which is involved in the idea of election. The latter belongs to a mysterious order of Providence, in virtue of which it is possible for certain men to conceive the idea of dedication to the highest things. The operation of this is like the breathing of the Spirit where it wills, and we have no canon of criticism or ground of explanation concerning it. It is analogous to the possession of the fairy gifts and the high gifts and the gracious gifts of the poet: we have them or have not, and their presence is as much a mystery as their absence. The law of Justice is not however involved by either alternative. In conclusion, the pillars of Justice open into one world and the pillars of the High Priestess into another.
Law in all its departments, legal complications, bigotry, bias, excessive severity.
Suggestion - The recommended course of action.
7 of Cups
Strange chalices of vision, but the images are more especially those of the fantastic spirit.
Fairy favours, images of reflection, sentiment, imagination, things seen in the glass of contemplation; some attainment in these degrees, but nothing permanent or substantial is suggested.
The Outcome - What will happen if the suggestion is followed.
3 of Pentacles
A sculptor at his work in a monastery. Compare the design which illustrates the Eight of Pentacles. The apprentice or amateur therein has received his reward and is now at work in earnest.
Metier, trade, skilled labour; usually, however, regarded as a card of nobility, aristocracy, renown, glory.