Enlightening Sample Tarot Card Spreads

by Charlie Reese

There are so many different kinds of tarot card spreads in existence that is can be very difficult to decide which to learn and which to use. Therefore, it is a good idea to look at one or two as a sample so you can get a handle on just how spreads work and why you might favor one over another.

Two spreads that are both effective and easy to use, the Celtic Cross and the 12 Card Spread, will be described here.

The Celtic Cross is a type of tarot reading that gives you a character sketch, a personality profile, as it were, of the recipient. The Celtic Cross provides you a representative slice of the person. It is like a photograph, a stop-action view, not a whole movie. This type of reading is good for people, but not for situations. It is a great way to get a quick personality profile which may be useful for you as a reference at a later reading. It is not so good for answering questions.

The 12 Card spread is suitable for reading people, situations, businesses, financial concerns, relationships and other situations that involve more than one person. The 12 Card spread shows past, present, and future aspects, thereby allowing you to better track cause and effect chains rather effectively. Known to be an incredibly flexible spread, some people even claim it can be sued to trace your history back through all your past lives!

Other spreads worth mentioning include the 1-card spread, the 3-card spread, the 4-card spread, the horseshoe spread, and tetractys. The 1-card spread, simple as it is, should be used for simple yes/no questions, card of the day inspirations, or as a prompt for meditation. The 3-card spread is a fairly direct interpretation of 1) past events that influenced a person or situation; 2) present circumstances, and 3) future events that represent the outcome of a given situation. The 4-card spread has the following implications: 1) what you desire; 2) skills and talents that you posses; 3) blockages or what is lacking; and 4) obtaining what you desire.

The Horse-shoe spread is a very common spread used for asking questions. In this spread, seven cards are arranged in a “V” shape. The cards from left to right represent 1) past; 2) present; 3) influences; 4) obstacles; 5) expectations, hopes or fears; 6) the best course of action; and 7) probable outcomes or resolutions.

Tetractys are the layout of 10 cards arranged in rows of four, making a pyramid. Each row represents Earth, Air, Fire and Water. Each card within the row also has a specific meaning within that element. The single card at the top of the pyramid is the signifier.

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