Tarot Card Spreads: The Very Basics

You’ve mastered the meaning of the cards (or at least you’ve become more familiar with them). Now it’s time to take the next step and put them into greater context. There are literally hundreds of different types of “spreads,” or ways the reader can lay out the cards to answer a query. Not only that, but in the Tarot community it is often completely acceptable to create one’s own spreads, adding to the already numerous possibilities! To keep it manageable, the following are the simplest and/or more common spreads used by many Tarotists.

1. The “Card A Day”

Alright, so maybe this doesn’t fully qualify as a spread since it only consists of one card, but it’s a great way to sharpen your skills with the card meanings and also get an idea of the tone your day can take. With this method the reader shuffles their deck, chooses a single card, and interprets it to see what they can expect from their day. Incredibly easy, and incredibly useful!

2. The “Three Card Spread”


With this spread, the reader again shuffles the deck to their preference (over hand, riffling, mixing them all together into big pile, etc.) and selects three cards. These are laid out horizontally and represent the querent’s past, present, and future. You can lay out the three cards face-up, one at a time, or face-down, flipping them one by one (this latter method helps newbies stay focused on the card at hand and not become overwhelmed).

3. The Celtic Cross


This spread isn’t exactly simple, but it’s extremely popular so I thought I’d give it a mention. To understand this one, it’s best to refer to the diagram I’ve provided above (thanks to LearnTarot.com for this!). Keep in mind, like everything else with the Tarot, there are a number of different ways Tarotists interpret the cross, this is just one way.

Cards 1 and 2 represent the central idea of your query.
Cards 3 and 5 determine what is occurring within the querent at multiple levels of themselves/their situation.
Cards 4 and 6 refer to the people/events in the querent’s life and the possible effects they are having on said individual.
Cards 7 and 8 concern the querent and their environment.
Card 9 can serve as a modifier – it can emphasize or mitigate the cross as a whole, depending on what it is.
Card 10 is the potential outcome.


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