In *principle*, counting a pack of cards in the Opening of the Key process is simple, but the devil, so to speak, will be in the details. In actual practice this is the most complicated part of the process.

- Spread out the pack of cards, maintaining its order.
- Start at the Significator. Note which direction the figure on the card is “looking”. If the card is inverted, that does
*not*affect the meaning, but it changes the direction in which the cards should be counted! - Counting the Significator as “1”, count N cards in the direction the Significator is looking. N is determined by what card the Significator is.
- Note the card you land on, and (counting that card as “1”) count X cards further in the same direction from the Significator, where X is determined by the card you landed on. If you reach the end of the pack, “wrap around” and continue counting from the other end.
- Repeat step 4 until you reach a card you’ve already landed on, including the Significator itself.

The number of cards to be counted is found in this table:

Any Ace | 5 (Golden Dawn) or 11 (Crowley) |

Any Princess/Page/Knave | 7 |

Any other Court card | 4 |

Any 2 through 9 | Its own number |

Elemental Trumps* | 3 |

Planetary Trumps* | 9 |

Zodiacal Trumps* | 12 |

*The breakdown of Trumps is as follows:

**Elemental**trumps are Fool, Hanged Man, Judgment.**Planetary**trumps are Magician, Priestess, Empress, Wheel, Tower, Sun, World.- All others are
**Zodiacal**.

Here’s an example, taken directly from the Golden Dawn’s instructions. Suppose the pile of cards, when spread out, is:

And let us suppose that the Significator is the Queen of Cups, and that the figure on the card faces left. We therefore count as follows:

- Starting with the Queen of Cups, count four (see the table above). Count left since she faces that way. The Queen herself is 1; the Tower is 2, then we “wrap around”, the Moon is 3, and the Five of Pentacles is 4.
- Starting with the Five of Pentacles, count five (including the Five of Pentacles itself). You will see that you will land on the Six of Cups.
- Starting with and including the Six of Cups, count six. This takes us to the Queen of Cups, which we have already read, so the “story” ends there.

So we now make a “story” out of all the cards we hit: Queen of Cups, 5 of Pentacles, 6 of Cups. The Querent (Q. of C.) will face some financial or material loss (5 of P.) but nevertheless come to some success (6 of C.)

If the Queen of Cups had been facing *right* instead of left, we would have told our story thus:

- Queen of Cups; count four rightwards to …
- King of Pentacles; count four to …
- The Fool; count three (elemental trump!) to …
- Two of Pentacles; count two to …
- Five of Pentacles; count five to …
- The Hierophant; count twelve (zodiacal trump!) to Queen of Cups, which we already read, so the story ends with the Hierophant.

You can see how the inversion of the card can tell quite a different story!

Just to give one last example, suppose the Significator was the Page of Wands, facing left. Then the story is:

- Page of Wands; count seven leftwards to …
- Two of Pentacles; count two to …
- Knight of Cups; count four to …
- Ace of Wands; count five to …
- Queen of Cups; count four to …
- Five of Pentacles; count five to …
- Six of Cups; count six to Queen of Cups, which we already read, so the story ends with the Six of Cups.

If you used Crowley’s value for Aces (11 instead of 5), the story would have been:

- Page of Wands; count seven leftwards to …
- Two of Pentacles; count two to …
- Knight of Cups; count four to …
- Ace of Wands; count
*eleven*to … - The Fool; count three to Ace of Wands, so the story ends with The Fool.