Below is a list of basic terms that will help you understand this guide.
Oracle: An oracle is a system of symbolic images with predefined associations, intended to be arranged and interpreted in a way that serves the mental or spiritual growth of those consulting it. Dragonfruit Alchemy is a way to use Anthromancer as an oracle, but the term ‘oracle’ applies to any similar system, such as Tarot Divination, Cleromancy, the I Ching, or Astrology. Different oracles rely on different symbolic themes, and many have philosophical underpinnings or ‘intentions’ that set them apart from others. The ‘intention’ of the Dragonfruit oracle is ‘Self-Knowledge’.
Spread: A spread is an arrangement of symbols (usually on cards or tiles) in which different positions within the arrangement correspond to different ideas or contexts. A set of cards turned face-up for contemplation is called a spread. Different styles of spreads are based on different principles, and this section of the codex contains several examples with step-by-step guides for how to build them. While the word ‘spread’ usually only implies the presence of oracle cards, we also use the term to refer to arrangements that include Anthromancer’s Fool, Fox, and Zodiac dice.
Position (station): A position, or station, refers to a specific place within a spread. Most spreads are designed to assign specific meanings to different positions. For instance, in a ‘Past, Present, Future’ spread, the card that appears in the first position is related to the Past, the second is related to the Present, and the third, the Future. More complex spreads have more positions and often include nuanced position meanings such as ‘friends and family’, ‘fate’, ‘vices and virtues’, and so on. When designing your own spreads, you can choose to define positions however you like, but in the sample spreads in this section their meanings are previously assigned.
Reading: A reading refers to the ritual of consulting an oracle. Once you have generated the field of symbolism known as a spread (by dealing cards or rolling dice into relevant positions), a ‘reading’ is performed by using your creative intelligence to search that field for useful or interesting reflections on the symbols therein. Readings can be simple and straightforward, or they can grow into hour-long ordeals in which each new card seems to add another layer of complexity and intrigue to an already-fascinating story. The depth of a reading is dependent upon the person (or people) involved.
Reader: The reader is, in the most traditional sense, the person who understands the oracular system and offers to translate it for the benefit of another person, called the Querent.
Querent: The querent is the person who approaches an oracle with the intention of receiving a reading related to them. If you are performing a reading for yourself, then you are the querent as well as the reader.
Query: A query is the specific question or intention that a querent brings to an oracle reading. Often, the querent approaches an oracle with the hope that it may offer some new perspective on a specific situation that has been troubling them, and this querent may be instructed to keep this query in mind during the reading. The query gives the querent a filter through which they may view the symbolism in a spread, which will ultimately affect how their reading goes, and whatever conclusions they draw from the process. Queries are not necessary to perform a reading, and it’s just as common to perform ‘general readings’ in which no expectations are set beforehand.
Situation: The situation refers to the specific matter expressed in the query, or otherwise the querent’s life as a whole. It represents the overall arrangement of variables in the querent’s life at the present moment that are relevant to the symbols appearing in a spread. The situation is a collection of all the thoughts, feelings and memories that come up during a reading, and the driving theme of the ‘story’ that the symbols seem to be telling. For instance, if a querent approaches a reading with the query “I am concerned about the next step”, in this case ‘the situation’ would refer to the querents transitional period and the anxieties they feel related to it.
Catalyst: A catalyst is any new symbol that is introduced to change the meaning contained in a completed spread. In some readings, it can be difficult to interpret a specific symbol in a useful way. Sometimes the imagery doesn’t trigger a connection in the querent’s mind; sometimes the ideas expressed by the symbol come across as counterintuitive or are otherwise too challenging to be useful without more context. In these situations, a reader may turn another card over as a catalyst, to see if it can change the story in a more satisfying way.
Insight: An insight is the most desirable outcome of a Dragonfruit reading. Insights are those ‘aha!’ moments in which a new realization arises, or a new perspective sinks in, allowing the querent to feel moved along the path towards greater self-understanding. Insights are, conceivably, ‘the point’ of the Dragonfruit process. A skilled reader can interpret abstract symbols in such a way that insights are more easily gleaned. The deeper your understanding of the system, the better you’ll be at unlocking insights for yourself and others.