The Vitruvian Square | A Slice of Life (Part 2)

In chess, as in life, a man is his own most dangerous opponent.  – Vasily Smyslov

Happy holidays, everyone! In the spirit of gift-giving, last week I showed you the basic technique for the Slice of Life reading. If you missed Part 1, you can easily find it here:

A Slice of Life (Part 1)

Now that you’ve had a chance to see the strength of this method and learn how powerful it really is, I’d like to give you some additional meanings and symbolism to consider when doing your interpretations.


This 9 square board (with the “0” resting above it all) embodies the world in which your spectator/querent plays their game of life.  Here you find your spectator’s domain (as it is currently recognized by your spectator). The Vitruvian Square is a very visual representation of the game of life in which we all find ourselves. Here you find all of the competitions, trials, journeys, excitements, and wonders that combine into our heavenly and earthly concerns. In other words, The Vitruvian Square replicates a person’s life journey.

As I explained in last week’s video, once my participant sees The Vitruvian Square Casting Cloth, I then move on to the use of the chess pieces. I do not explain the Casting Cloth nor what any of the positions mean until after all the pieces have been moved to their respective positions by the spectator and I have laid down any Deck of Shadows cards I wish to use.

Perhaps this doesn’t need repeating, but I will do so, anyway: The Slice of Life reading technique’s underlying potency rests in the fact that the spectator is intentionally placing the chess pieces (or other oracle device you might choose to use) on the board.


The King and The Queen are the central figures in the symbolism we will be interpreting. They represent your spectator (or yourself if you are reading for yourself).  The King is generally used to represent a male spectator/querent and to show the response to the question, “Where are you now?” I believe you can readily see how, with such a question, the placement of The King or The Queen is vital and something to be cherished. This is the Present.


This is generally used to represent a female spectator/querent and to show the response to the question, “Where are you now?” As with The King, the placement of this piece undeniably shows you a person’s here and now.


This chess piece is used to represent the Past and to show the response to the question, “Where have you just come from?” The Knight’s placement shows what someone did or experienced that launched them into their present place in life (the latter represented by the positioning of The King or The Queen). The Knight’s deployment embodies the very action that its placement foretells. Here you will find a complete story of your spectator’s determination, impulses, and passion. The landing point for The Knight can also represent your spectator’s world view; their comprehensive or overall perspective of the way things work or the way things are supposed to be.


The Castle (Rook) is the token used to represent the Future and to show the response to the question, “Where are you going?” In its original form, this chess piece was actually a mobile tower or battlement; fitting for this technique as the Future is not fixed but continues to to be pliable and receptive to many things. The Castle personifies where your spectator wants to or believes they are going. This is their oasis, haven, or goal in the temporal world. From The Castle’s position, your spectator is able to have an objective and wide-ranging view of the way things are – as opposed to the way things are supposed to be (as indicated by The Knight).


A Slice of Life allows your spectator to use their imagination and make-believe abilities to give a superb voice and visual depiction to life themes that they might not otherwise have been able to do. Essentially, you are helping them paint a literal picture of things that, in any other way, are unspeakable or unknowable to them.

To recap, the steps of the Slice of Life technique are:

1.  Lay out The Vitruvian Square Casting Cloth or use some other physical representation of The Vitruvian Square that you and your spectator can interact with. As I noted in the video, you can also lay out 9 cards from The Deck of Shadows or 9 Tarot cards to form your 3×3 matrix.

2.  Hand The King (if you are using a male spectator) or The Queen (if you are using a female spectator) to the person you are working with. Ask them to place the piece on the matrix with the question: Where are you now?

3.  Hand The Knight to the person you are working with. Ask them to place the piece on the matrix with the question: Where have you just come from?

4.  Hand The Castle to the person you are working with. Ask them to place the piece on the matrix with the question: Where are you going?

One more thing: there will be times when your spectator places more than one piece in the same Place of Power. That is perfectly fine. Such a sharing of the same space can represent the lack of forward movement (if The King/Queen and The Castle are used), a plateau that was reached before a major shift occurred (if The King/Queen and The Knight are used), and a return to where one first began or a coming home (if The Knight and The Castle are used). In those rare times when all three chess pieces are placed together in one square, you are likely dealing with some procrastination and obstructions.

Remember, your spectator, in placing their pieces, has unfolded a story that is waiting for you to give it a voice. Be a spellbinder and do their story proud!

If you would like to learn more, information about The Vitruvian Square and The Deck of Shadows can be found here:

The Vitruvian Square book

The Vitruvian Square Casting Cloth

The Deck of Shadows

Just some thoughts. If you enjoyed this, please click below to share this with others.

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© 2011 by Scott Grossberg. All Rights Reserved.

One thought on “The Vitruvian Square | A Slice of Life (Part 2)

  1. Pingback: The Vitruvian Square | The Labyrinth (Part 3) « Scott Grossberg | Thinking Magically™

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