A tarot spread is the way a tarot card reading is performed. It’s a layout for the cards, done in a certain way, to answer a certain question. There are tarot card spreads for every question or topic and some have multiple spreads. Relationship questions, for example, have spreads related to relationship problems, being ready for love, new relationships, heartache, and many more. Because tarot is meant to answer a specific question or to give a broader generalization as to career or the future, the tarot spreads are only meant to answer a single question at a time.
Each spread has a series of cards and each card is laid in a particular position. The position of the card and the order in which they are placed determines their meaning in the reading. For example, the Annual tarot spread looks ahead to the whole year. With the Annual spread, you begin at the position of 9 o’clock and work in a clockwise fashion placing a card at each hour in a circle with a thirteenth card in the center. Each of the cards is a prediction for each month, beginning with January for card one and ending with December at card 12. The thirteenth card is the definitive card and is used to clarify any cards that seem to have a confusing or unclear meaning behind them.
Another highly common spread is the Celtic Cross. Most commonly performed with ten cards, they are laid out with a cross on the left and a vertical bar on the right. To begin in the center of the cross you lay card one and on top of it, crossing it, is card two. Beneath cards one and two is laid card three, then the fourth card is to the left, card five at the top, and card six to the right. Then you lay cards seven, eight, nine and ten in ascending order.
In the Celtic Cross tarot spread the cards signify the following things:
- Card One is the influences surrounding you
- Card Two is the influences blocking you
- Card Three is the recent past which caused the current situation
- Card Four is the distant past and issues you must deal with
- Card Five is what you wish to achieve
- Card Six is the future
- Card Seven is your attitude or position
- Card Eight is how others see you
- Card Nine encompasses your hopes and fears
- Card Ten is the outcome you seek
Three card tarot spreads are also very common as they are a quick way to get the answer to a very basic question. The most basic three card spread simply asks for the past, present and future. However three card spreads can also be used to look for answers to dreams or whether or not you’re in the right job.
Lastly the Tree of Life tarot card spread looks at you, the querent as a whole and is a great way to get a picture of yourself. It is ten cards laid out with card one at the top, two to the right and slightly beneath it and three across from two. Four and seven are laid beneath two while five and eight are beneath three. Six, nine and ten lay beneath card one.
The cards have the following meanings:
- Your highest ideals
- Your creative strengths and powers
- Your wisdom
- Your virtues
- How strong is your Force of being
- Your health, beauty and level of altruism
- An overview of your lovers, your lusts, your self and your instincts
- Who you are as a designer and scientist
- Your imagination and psychic self
- Who you are physically