Understanding Tarot Spreads
Did you ever wonder how a Tarot reader decides what spread to use? Or maybe you’ve tried to do your own reading and wondered what the difference was between a one-card, a three-card, or the Celtic Cross spread, and what they might tell you. Here’s a short explanation that perhaps will help you on your journey of understanding Tarot spreads.
One-Card Tarot Pull
You’d be surprised at how in-depth a one-card Tarot reading can be in answering essential questions. Sometimes the most straightforward approach is best; the answer is succinct and clear, even if you have to study it a little longer or more in-depth than a reading using more cards. Use a one-card pull for:
- Yes/no questions
- Reassurance/confirmation of what you intuitively feel or already know
- When looking for guidance or deciding the next step to take in a situation
How to: Shuffle the cards and choose one. Aside from the traditional meaning of that card, notice how it makes you feel initially – happy, sad, excited, etc. Trust anything that comes to mind and try not to overthink or second-guess your first impression. Do you hear a word or see a color? Look at the picture in the card, noticing the symbols and signs, the action taking place in the card, and even the number associated with the card. Naturally, you’re focusing on the most crucial part of a one-card reading – the question.
Three-Card Tarot Spread
The three-card spread is an extremely popular spread, commonly used by beginners as well as seasoned Tarot readers. A three-card spread offers answers to a variety of life’s questions, and it can enlighten us about situations pertaining to:
- Past, present, future
- Situation, action, outcome
- Strength, weakness, advice
- Where you are, where you want to be, and how to get there
- You, your other half (how they feel), and your relationship
The possibilities are endless, which is one of the reasons this spread is so popular.
How to: Intention matters. In other words, pull three cards with the intention of doing a three-card reading – start with one, then another, then one more. Assign meanings to each card (for example, past, present, future.) If you’re clear on the answers you seek, and in what order, the cards will respond in kind. Otherwise the message can get mixed up, become unclear, or even get lost.
The Celtic Cross Spread
The Celtic Cross is one of the best and most-used spreads for general readings or an overview of routine situations. When someone asks, “Will I ever find love,” the Celtic Cross will hold the answer. If you’re looking for details, this is probably not the spread to use; however, it’s a great spread to know, and one you’ll use often.
Like the actual Celtic Cross, most associated with the ancient Celts, where there is a circle in the center of the cross forming an even-armed cross within a cross, the placement of cards 1 and 2 also create an even-armed inner cross.
As What’s Your Sign.com explains, “…If each cross arm symbolizes a branch of higher wisdom, and if there is an encircling symbol to represent unification of these four elements, then the center of the cross will be a focal point that is our spiritual destination. Indeed, should we meditate on the Celtic Cross, and laser in on the very center of it – our energies begin to hone in, and centralize into this exhilarating experience of oneness.”
How to: The left side will look like a cross within a cross (cards 1 through 6), and the energy will move clockwise and then upward. The right side (cards 7 through 10) travel upward with card 7 on the bottom and card 10 on the top. There are ten cards used in total.
Note: There are some variations of this, as well as other readings. Whatever way you learned or feels most comfortable, is the way you should use.
- The first card is the middle of the cross; it represents the client or their question.
- The second card is placed across the first; it represents the immediate situation. It’s the base card for all the rest of the cards you will pull.
- The third card goes underneath cards 1 and 2 (the inner cross) and it signifies what’s going on behind the scenes that the person may or may not be aware of.
- The fourth card is placed to the left of the inner cross. It represents the past.
- The fifth card is placed directly over the inner cross. It hangs over the head of the person being read (some say it “crowns” you.) It represents what could be.
- The sixth card is placed to the right of the inner cross and it completes the cross on the left side of the spread. This represents the near future – what comes next.
- The seventh card is placed to the right of the cross and starts a ladder moving upward. What the person fears or what they would like to be rid of.
- The eighth card is placed above the seventh card. It tells what others around this person feel about the current situation.
- The ninth card goes above the eighth card, and it represents the client’s hopes, dreams, and wishes surrounding the situation. If they’ve been holding their real motivations back from you, this will reveal what they didn’t initially share.
- The tenth and final card goes directly above the ninth card. It’s typically referred to as the “final outcome” card. Compare this card to the fifth card (what could be) and the sixth card (what comes next) while interpreting the outcome overall.
Check the reading overall and how it flows before giving your final interpretation.
Finding Trust in Tarot
There are many spreads out there floating around the Universe, so many that you’ll likely never get to use them all. New spreads are created all the time, and in time, you may even invent your own. However, mastering your understanding of the one- and three-card spreads, as well as the Celtic Cross will give you a good foundation as you become more familiar and more comfortable with having readings or doing them yourself. Keep in mind that the shorter the spread, the more readings and practice you can get under your belt.
Looking for a deeper connection to Spirit? A tarot card reading is your answer. Tarot cards give you a direct connection to Spirit so you receive profound insights into your past, present, and future. Our tarot card psychics interpret Spirit’s messages for you so you know what you’re getting is the unadulterated truth.
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