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Popular Tarot Card Spreads Explained

Posted by Esra Dagtekin on


Learning how to use tarot requires a strong mix of intuition and familiarity with the symbols of the tarot. There is no right way to do it, and eventually everyone develops their own technique that they are comfortable with. Tarot spreads give you a structure in which you can explore your questions. Each position in the spread reflects an aspect of your question to consider. You don’t have to use them for every reading, but it’s a nice way to get started while you learn about the cards.

One card tarot spread

Pull a card each day. You can ask what energy you need to focus on, and proactively work to manifest that energy throughout the day. Or ask the Tarot, “What might I experience today?” At the end of the day, match up your experiences of the day to what you know about the card you drew that morning. As you draw your card each day, make a note about which card you drew and what you noticed about it. Write it down to reflect on later.

One tarot card opened next to a tarot guidebook

Three card tarot spread

If you want to brush up on your Tarot skills, do a reading in a hurry, or just get an answer to a very basic issue, try using this simple and basic Three Card Layout for your Tarot cards. It’s the simplest of readings, and allows you to do a basic reading in just three steps.

The three card tarot spread is relatively simple, which makes it ideal for beginners. Not only is it a classic, but it’s also adaptable to many questions. It provides enough information for deeper insights without overwhelming a reader or a querent. Thus, the three card tarot spread continues to be a favorite for seasoned practitioners.

The Past-Present-Future spread is perhaps the most popular of three-card spreads. This is a great spread when your question relates to timing. In the past, present, future tarot spread, the first card pulled represents elements from the past affecting present events. The second card, placed in the middle of the line-up, shows the nature of the question or the querent’s current position. the third card represents the likely outcome. Meditating on the past and the present cards can show you how the future card fits in.

Basic three card tarot spread

Five card cross tarot spread

A five card tarot spread can be structured as a cross, which builds on the three-card formation. In this spread, a middle row may consist of three cards showing Past, Present, and Future.

One card is placed beneath these three to reveal a core reason for the circumstances as they exist. Another card is drawn and placed above the three-card row to show the potential of the situation. While it may not be the actual outcome, it shows the brightest and/or darkest possibility hidden within the state of affairs.

Five card cross tarot spread

Celtic cross tarot spread

The Celtic Cross Tarot Spread is one of the most well-known and widely used tarot spreads to this day. And even if you’re just starting out, you’ve probably heard of this spread. I do not recommend the ten-card Celtic Cross tarot spread for beginners, but it is a favorite for isolating issues in someone’s life. The Celtic Cross Tarot Spread is already being used for over a century. In 1911, Arthur Edward Waite, co-creator of the well-known Rider-Waite tarot deck, published his version of the famous tarot spread.

While it can be used for querents seeking general information, it is also a great way to answer a specific question. It’s divided into two sections:

  • The Cross: This consists of the first six cards arranged in a cross shape. These cards represent a current issue, how it came to be, and where it may lead.
  • The Pillar: This includes four cards placed from bottom to top beside the cross. These cards provide additional information that influences the situation. They can help the querent understand the situation and their control over it even better.

The reading begins with a “cross.” The first card represents the theme or the querent’s role. The second card, which crosses the first, is a primary obstacle they must face as they address the issue.

Then, a third card is placed beneath the cross to show the foundations of the issue from the deep past. The fourth card, to the left of the cross, is an event in the recent past affecting the current situation.

Above the cross, the fifth card reveals potential. The sixth card tells you something that will happen in the near future related to the concern.

Notice how this creates a larger cross shape similar to the five-card cross formation. When the larger cross is complete, a column of four additional cards is created to provide additional information about the events at hand. These cards answer the following questions:

  • Card 7: What are the querent’s previous experiences or attitudes about the theme?
  • Card 8: How is the external environment, including the people around the querent, affecting the situation?
  • Card 9: What are the querent’s hopes and/or fears?
  • Card 10: What is the most probable outcome?
Celtic Cross Tarot Card Spread

Practice Reading Tarot Cards

With time, you’ll be able to be more confident in reading. And as you encounter the cards, you’ll start to also notice systems and patterns in how their meanings are set up. For example, how the suits of the minor arcana relate to each other, and how the major arcana tells a story. All these things are beneficial in helping guide you through readings.

Esra

March 21, 2021

I’m glad it was helpful Amber 💕 I really appreciate your positive comment 🙏 it gives me great motivation to continue to write more articles.

Amber

March 21, 2021

Thank you for this article! It’s a great one for us beginners who are just staring our journey with tarot :)

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