Tarot Card Spreads assist the Tarot Reader in determining one tarot card relationship to another. Over time many Tarot Readers develop their spreads or variations on the more traditional Tarot Card Spreads.
Spreads are generally implemented with specific goals to gain clarity on readings that may be ambiguous without additional cards to help define portions of the reading that may not be clear. Throughout my journey, I’ve been trying to increase my familiarity with some of the more simple tarot spreads to assist with my readings. Building my repertoire has made my readings a lot more in-depth, informative; eye-opening to say the very least.
Tarot card decks have been used for many years – guiding people and helping them understand their day to day. Life is a complicated affair – it only makes sense that you get as much help as possible when you’re trying to decide what to do about important events or relationships. With a Tarot Deck, you can begin to make more informed decisions about love, family, and career options – at least it has for me.
Many people don’t realize how versatile a Tarot Card Spreads can be. Not only are there many Tarot Card Spreads from which to choose, but you can also use straightforward Spreads or more complicated Spreads, depending on your question and or concerns. For example, The Celtic Cross Spread might be utilized for complicated problems, while a Past, Present, and Future Spread may be all you need for a more straightforward query.
In short, there are tonnes of Spreads, I started with some simple Tarot Card Spreads and have built upon them.
Asking Questions with Tarot Cards – What Should You Consider?
It’s fair to say; questions have an unlimited number of possibilities. When it comes to Tarot, I suggest that some general rules are applied; primarily, smoothing the card translation process. Tarot is far from an exact science, and it can’t tell us exactly what to expect today, tomorrow or six months down the line – but what it can do is give us an insight, a glimpse of what we can expect.
Try to avoid questions that start with ‘Will’ and ‘When’ or answers to Open / Closed questions – ‘Yes’ or ‘No.’ From personal experience, these types of questions lack depth; I feel that a lot more can be gained from keeping the questions open-ended. I’ve compiled a list of the kinds of questions I’ve felt most comfortable reflecting on:
How can I express myself creatively this week?
How can I attract abundance to my life?
What do I need to do to find my inner strength?
What do I need to do to help me through this transformation?
What obstacles do I need to look out for?
The Three Card Spreads
The Three Card Spread is perfect for beginners – it’s simple, and it covers the past, the present and the future.
Reading the cards from left to right; tackle any Major Arcana Cards drawn first. The Major Arcana Cards set the tone; in the following example, we have The Hermit, Reversed Five of Wands, and the Ten of Cups respectively.
Position 1: In the Three-Card Tarot spread, position 1 symbolizes the past – It can be anything that happened in the near or distant past. Alternatively, it can be something you did or suffered in the past that has a link with the current situation. In this example, we have The Hermit Card in the past position. The Hermit represents a phase of self-examination or a period of inner reflection. In this case, The Hermit symbolizes that period, but from our past narrative, an issue we have overcome via self-examination.
Position 2: Symbolising the present, position two assists in the understanding of your current situation. In the example, we have Reversed Five of Wands suggesting that someone may be projecting negativity onto you because of their perception that you somehow “better than them.” often associated with people with wounded egos.
Position 3: The future card – events that ‘may’ turn out in your life. Make sure to follow the assessment of the past and present cards before making your final assessment. The Ten of Cups represents true happiness, emotional, and spiritual fulfillment. This Minor Arcana card represents happy families, luck, caring, and domestic bliss.
To summarise, the seeker has experienced a historical period of isolation and overcome that with the help of a mentor and or soul-searching. Presently there is negativity directed toward the seeker because of that accomplishment – and to flourish, the seeker should recall lessons from the past.
The Horseshoe Spread
Probably my favorite – The Horseshoe Spread is made up of seven cards,1 through 7 read from left to right. I like the spread. As I started to gain a better understanding of the cards, The Horseshoe Spread opened up my readings. It’s a bit more in-depth than The Three Card Spread but worth learning.
Position 1: Symbolises past events concurrent with the situation. It also gives a glimpse of how the past factors into the overall scenario – sets a tone.
Position 2: Talks about the current situation. It places emphasis on present circumstances affecting and shaping the scenario.
Position 3: Is something in the immediate future that will influence the outcome.
Position 4: The querent – Position 4 covers thoughts, feelings, and desires that are affecting the situation and are involved in shaping the scenario.
Position 5: This position simply represents the attitudes of others.
Position 6: Hindrance, blockage, or obstacles are denoted in this position. It’s almost like – here’s the barrier, how does the querent overcome it.
Position 7: This is the final position, it covers the outcome if the perceived situations do not change.
None complex, easy to understand and versatile – The Horseshoe Spread is my go to Tarot Card Spread.
The Celtic Cross Spread
The Celtic Cross Tarot Card Spread is probably the most commonly used Tarot Card Spread and can be applied to any situation. Most people are somewhat familiar with this Spread – it will provide a great overview of the situation, where the situation came from, and where it is going if circumstances stay as they are. This a great Spread when the querent doesn’t have a specific question.
I highly recommend that any practitioner interested in doing readings for others learn to use this Spread, it’s a perfect choice for commercial or friendly use.
Position 1: This position tells about the querent. It gives an overview of their present frame of mind and what they are currently going through. This helps paint a picture of the querent and what they’re now going through – Self
Position 2: This card will symbolize current challenges; coupled with Position 1; it gives a more detailed overview of what the querent is up against – The Problem
Position 3: This answers why the querent is currently in their situation. It gives insight as to why past influences have led up to this point. So, it explores the underlying unconscious reasons and justifications for whatever is happening – The Past
Position 4: Position 4 represents what could happen in the short term if nothing is done about the current challenges denoted in Position 3. This is another stage in the reading and contributes in the short term but does not provide the outcome – The Future
Position 5: This focuses on the seeker goals, aspirations, what’s in their mind – Conscious
Position 6: I’ve often had trouble interpreting this position. It’s supposed to represent the underlying reasoning or buried feelings that are the driving force to the situation. The querent isn’t always fully aware at this stage and can often come as a surprise or a light bulb moment – Unconscious
Position 7: This relates to how the querent sees themself and how that can influence how this situation pans out – Self
Position 8: This position symbolizes external influences that have an impact on the seeker’s situation. It can be your family, environments, colleagues, or friends – External Influences.
Position 9: Another one I’ve struggled to interpret – it’s supposed to represent the seeker’s innermost desires; their hopes and fears. However, in this case, there fear and greed are one of the same – Hopes and Fears
Position 10: Summarise the outcome of the other cards. It ties together the situation so a countering course of action can be formulated – Outcome
Astrological Tarot Spread
Astrological Tarot Spread or The Zodiac Tarot Spread is another one of my favorites – come January 1st this is by far my most widely used as it can summarise the year ahead. It’s straightforward to interpret and makes for fascinating reading.
Starting with the current month, this Spread has 12 cards placed in a circle. Each card represents a specific House of The Zodiac with an optional 13th card placed in the center that provides a tone or theme for the year. I tend to complete one revolution of the cards; however, for a more in-depth Reading, the circle can be navigated six times, including the center card.
1st House: Describes your own personality and ambitions. In short, it is a description of who you are – Aries
2nd House: This house symbolises your values, belongings and your financial setup – Taurus
3rd House: Denotes the way you communicate with those around you as well as travel – Gemini
4th House: Describes your family – parents, children and siblings – Cancer
5th House: All of your creativity, hobbies, love and romance are represented by the 5th house –Leo
6th House: Denotes your health and career – Virgo
7th House: Deals with your relationships – Libra
8th House: Major changes are all represented here – Scorpio
9th House: Higher learning, morals and spirituality are placed here – Sagittarius
10th House: What people think about you? Your perception and public image is symbolised here – Capricorn
11th House: Your friends, memberships, activities, and gatherings are dealt here – Aquarius
12th House: Your inner self, including your desires, dreams, ambitions, memories, and goals are present in the 12th house – Pisces
All Things Considered
Choosing the right Tarot Card Spread is half the battle; start small and build-up to the larger Spreads when your knowledge and understanding of the cards is greater. We’ve only just scratched the surface; there is a tonne of different Spreads for beginners and accomplished reader alike – take your time, use the Tarot Card Spreads your most comfortable with, and have fun!