Why are Tarot Spreads so Important?


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.

Why are Tarot Spreads so Important?

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:

  1. Card One is the influences surrounding you
  2. Card Two is the influences blocking you
  3. Card Three is the recent past which caused the current situation
  4. Card Four is the distant past and issues you must deal with
  5. Card Five is what you wish to achieve
  6. Card Six is the future
  7. Card Seven is your attitude or position
  8. Card Eight is how others see you
  9. Card Nine encompasses your hopes and fears
  10. 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:

  1. Your highest ideals
  2. Your creative strengths and powers
  3. Your wisdom
  4. Your virtues
  5. How strong is your Force of being
  6. Your health, beauty and level of altruism
  7. An overview of your lovers, your lusts, your self and your instincts
  8. Who you are as a designer and scientist
  9. Your imagination and psychic self
  10. Who you are physically

Knowing the best tarot spreads isn’t about having a secret group of special spreads that only a handful of tarot-card readers knows. Any tarot card spread can be the best tarot spread. The key to knowing which tarot spreads are the best is in knowing which tarot spreads are better for certain types of questions. For example if you are having trouble trying to decide what to do about a problem with a friend then you want the best tarot spreads for guidance. Or maybe you’re looking for answers about love; then you want the best tarot spreads for love. Choosing the best tarot spread should depend on four basic things: the question you want to ask, the level of detail you want in the answer, how much time you have for the reading itself and which spreads you know well and are comfortable performing. If you’re not sure which readings you should brush up on below is a list of the most recommended tarot card spread depending on the type of question you’re asking.

Five Tarot Spreads To Learn

1. Most Commonly Recommended General Layout
The Celtic Cross is a tarot card spread that’s been used to answer a variety of questions for centuries. It’s a tarot card spread that you should definitely learn how to do because inevitably there is going to come a time when it is absolutely the spread you want to use. A little more involved than a three card spread, it gives a bit more detail without taxing you too much in time or energy while still being able to answer questions that can be complex or emotionally charged.

2. Best Short Answer – Three-card Spread
While a three-card spread can be used for any number of things, you’ll find it most commonly used to tackle Past-Present-Future questions in order to gain clarity on people and situations that may affect you in the future based on what happens in the now. It’s a quick reading to get a temperature gauge reading on situations and people without needing more than a few minutes before running out the door.

3. Best ‘Tell the Future’ Spread
The Year Ahead Spread is used to help you figure out areas of spiritual growth, view potential pitfalls and potholes that could come up, and to learn what blessings may be coming your way. It’s typically a spread used for readings on your birthday, New Year’s Eve, or Samhain as these days are considered excellent ‘new start’ points.

4. Best Quickie
The simple, single card ‘Yes or No’ spread is the fastest way to answer those short, simple questions such as ‘Is there positive energy headed my way at work today’. Cleanse your deck, give it a shuffle, ask your question and then the first card you pull will give you an answer of ‘Yes’, ‘No’, or ‘Maybe’.

5. Finding Love
A cross spread is the best spread to use when trying to figure out your love life. Lay out your cards and assign card one as your personal readiness for love, card two as what your lover will be like, card three describes how you will meet, card four expresses the dynamic of your relationship, and card five will express the relationship potentials. It’s a simple but effective spread for getting answers.


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