Spreads are, for many people, the part of Tarot reading that scares them the most. The idea that they have to memorize the cards and then read them in a spread can often be daunting.
And it doesn’t matter how much you prepare yourself. I think that the best way for you to get to know your cards is to use them. You will find it challenging to build your confidence without doing this.
After you understand each card’s meanings, you will want to combine them into spreads even if you are still learning.
When you pull one card, you can see how a Tarot might answer your question., Imagine when you pull several cards how much more information you will gain.
Spreads are an arrangement of cards, usually three cards or more. You could think of a Tarot spread as a puzzle when all the pieces fall into place, and then the picture is revealed.
In a spread, each position within the overall pattern means something specific. There is a relationship between the cards that I find becomes as important as the individual card themselves. They have a story just waiting to be told.
You will probably find that some spreads appeal to you more than others, or you see that they are more beneficial given the question you want to ask.
There isn’t one spread that’s better than another—the choice of what spread to use is totally up to you. When you begin to feel comfortable with the cards, you might design your own spread. Or, I often adapt a traditional spread to suit me.
There is probably more Tarot spreads out there than there are decks. And also opinions on what to use and how to use them. Do not be allow yourself to become ridged about Tarot spreads. If you feel like the card is saying more to you, it is alright to dive deeper by pulling another card. For me, Spreads are like having a conversation with the cards. They are telling you a story and continue to do that throughout the reading. Trust what comes into your mind. Do not worry if there is silence, do not feel that you have to say things to fill in that silence with words. The cards will start to talk to you. Take your time to look for those developing patterns in the spread. Begin by scanning the cards. What are your first impressions?. Is there a card that is jumping out at you?. Or you might notice that a card is giving you nothing at all.
Next, look for the overall them, are there more of one suit than another?. Are there primarily Major cards in the spread, which might indicate that significant issues are happening. If you mainly got Minors, it shows you that things are very much in your control. It’s all about the day-to-day issues.
If you have many court cards, that tells you that other people are involved in the situation.
I also. I like to try and notice what cards are not in the spread, are there any Cups? Are there court cards? for me, these might show places where there needs to be more balance in your life or the querent’s (the person your reading for)
All Majors: A heavy Karmic time. (which rarely happens if you are doing an extended reading)
All Minors: the focus is on regular day-to-day life events.
Mostly Swords: Notable Conflicts
Mostly Cups: plenty of emotion, highlight on relationships.
Mostly Pentacles: Focus on money and the material side of life
Mostly Wands: focus on Career.
Mostly High Numbers: You are nearing the conclusion of a situation.
Mostly Low Numbers: You are at the beginning of a situation.
Many Aces: New Opportunities, fresh starts, New Begining.
Many Twos: Big Decisions.
Many Threes: Birth, Creativity, Positive Change.
Many Fours: Stability.
Many Fives: Difficulties and change.
Many Sixes: Harmony.
Many Sevens: facing challenges that you need to overcome.
Many Eights: Success.
Many Nines: Endings are necessary.
Many Tens: Closure and New Starts.
Mostly reversed cards: Blockages, delays.
When it Comes to the Court Cards
Three or more Pages: child teenager, school age, New Beginnings
Three or more Knights: Young Person, Lots of Action.
Three or more Queens: Feminine energy, leadership, Scandal.
Three or More Kings: Masculine Energy, Government, Structure.
BEFORE YOU START
Before you do a spread or a reading, decide which spread you are going to use.
Take a moment with your cards.
Clear your mind.
Send a blessing asking your angles or spirit guides or whoever you feel comfortable with for love, protection, guidance, and clarity.
Then allow yourself to focus on the question as you shuffle the cards.
Shuffle the cards until you feel ready to lay them into the spread.
For me, it seemed to take a long time to learn how to shuffle with confidence. I have tiny hands, and most decks just felt awkward and hard to shuffle. Some people make it look so easy. I have small hands, so often, a deck is too big or just feels too stiff. I actually spent time watching videos on youtube.
And even though you might find it easy, here is a way that I use it.
Take the deck and hold it with the back of the cards facing you.
While doing this, keep asking your question. It doesn’t matter if you do this out loud or in your head. If you do this while shuffling, it gives your rational left brain a job to do. It allows it to become distracted from judgment, allowing your right brain free to find space for you to read intuitively.
To cut the deck, take it in your left hand and separate it into three piles. Traditionally people use their left hand. Its referred to as the “Hand of Fate.” Because there is a connection between your left hand and the brain’s right hemisphere, which is the place of your emotions and intuition.If your reading for a querent, ask them to make the three piles with their left hand.
Another option is fanning out the cards. After you have shuffled them, you can lay them face down, forming a fan shape. And choose the cards that you feel drawn to. Use your left hand to pick the cards. When you have finished selecting your cards, gather up the reaming cards and put them to one side.
If you read for a querent (another person), then have them pick out the cards themselves with their left hand.
Jumpers: These are those cards that fall when you shuffle. Personally, if any cards fall or I drop during shuffling, I look at them. This is because they often give me an indication of the theme of the reading.
WHAT SPREAD SHOULD YOU USE?
Which spread to use will depend on the question you’re asking and what you want to know. For example, say you just met a man you are interested in and wish to know about relationships’ possibilities.
If you should consider a relationship, you could use a Yes/ No method. Or you could pull a one-card spread.
A FEW SPREADS THAT I LIKE TO USE
One Card Draw
This is probably the one that everyone learns to use first. It is the easiest and the most basic. What I like about it is that it answers all types of questions. Understandably you will not get as much in-depth information from just one card as you would from using a more extended spread. Still, this method is surprisingly helpful, especially if you ask a straightforward question that requires a quick answer.
Shuffle the cards, then cut them all the time, thinking about your question. Then draw a single card from the deck. There are a few ways you can do this. First, you can either pick the top card from your deck after you have finished shuffling. I like to fan out the cards face down and select the one I feel drawn to.
THREE CARD SPREADS
I think that I have a whole shelf just on three-card spreads. There are so many out there. The three-card spread is the perfect spread for practicing your observation skills. I love to use three-card spreads. I feel that it offers me clear and straightforward answers to often complicated problems. It allows room for discussion between myself and my querent. Its most commonly used as Past, Present, Future. I use them to answer an array of different questions. This is a great spread to make your own. I include a list of a few three-card spreads that I like to use.
After shuffling and cutting the deck, select three cards either from the top of the deck or randomly. Then lay the cards out side by side and read.
Past, Present, Future Spread
Mind, Body, Spirt
The situation, The Challenge, The Resolution
Leave, Keep, Take
The Pros, The Cons, The Outcome
Thoughts, Words, Action
Strength, Weakness, Advice
The Four-Card Spread
This spread offers advice when dealing with specific concerns. It’s simplistic and has a direct approach to dealing with advice, everyday problems. shuffle and cut the cards, then lay them out side by side in a horizontal line reading from left to right.
THE FIVE-CARD SPREAD
I find that this is the practical spread. It’s useful when you want to gain insight into those practical matters. After shuffling the cards and cutting them, lay the cards outside by the side.
CELTIC CROSS SPREAD
The most popular Tarot spread, this ten-card spread, allows for a rich, detailed tarot reading. It is excellent for getting in-depth answers to questions. The card’s positions create a path of clues that can show where the querent has been and, even more importantly, where they might be going.
A lot of Tarot readers use a significator with this spread. You can do this to bring you or the querent into the reading. If you use a significator, you can lay it undercard 1.Personally. I do not use one as I find that the energy they bring to the reading will manifest if I’m reading for someone.
Here is a brief description of what each position means.
Card 1: The Concerns.
Card 2: Obstacles
Card 3: Objectives.
Card 4: Thoughts or feelings
Card 5: Past.
Card 6: Immediate future
Card 7: Attitudes.
Cards 8: Outside influences
Card 9: Hopes and Fears.
Card 10:Final outcome.
Quick Answer Spread
This is great to get an answer. When you want a little more than a three-card, spread that’s not as intimidating as the Celtic Cross. After you have shuffled the deck, lay out the cards in a horizontal row, from left to right, I use it like this.
Card 1: concern
Card 2: Where you were (past)
Card 3: Where you are now. (future)
Card 4: State of Mind
Card 5: Obstruction
Card 6: Help
Card 7: Outcome
THE HORSESHOE SPREAD
Like the Celtic Cross, there are many different variations.
This spread offers diversity. Each card represents a specific area of life. You can also use ten cards in this horseshoe spread, but i find that the seven-card layout is more straightforward.
Card 1: Past.
Card 2: Present.
Card 3: The hidden influences.
Cars 4: The Obstacles.
Card 5: The Environment.
Card 6: What needs to be done.
Card 7: The most likely outcome
PICKING A SIGNIFICATOR.
A significator is a card you choose to represent the querent ( or if you read for a third party someone they were asking about). You might find that some spreads ask you to use a significator. This is often the case with the Celtic Cross, but it is optional and profoundly personal.
Some readers like to use Court cards as a significator, as they have the traditional gender and age meaning.
The card that is chosen is usually incorporated into the spread that you are using. Some people like to lay it face up to symbolize the person they are doing the reading for. Sometimes you can use the Significator to represent a group, organization, or in some cases, even an event.
How do you choose a significator?. First, select a card that you believe best describes the person or event being asked about. Some people like to remove the significator card from the deck, or others want to leave it in. This can all depend on the spread that you are using.
Here is my list of Significator’s using only the Major Arcana
THE FOOL: The Fool can stand for a child or young person or someone who lacks experience in life. It can also show someone seeking adventure or someone who is looking for a life change. Or the fool can symbolize a decision that someone needs to make, especially if that decision involves taking a risk.
THE MAGICIAN: The Magician can represent someone who has a hidden talent that they desire to bring to manifestation. The Magician is the card of potential and describes a person with strong powers. Its energy is masculine.
THE HIGH PRIESTESS: The High Priestess represents secrets, intuition, and mystery. She portrays a very private person and shrouded in secret and is good at keeping those secrets. This is a good significator for anyone who is dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge. This card has feminine energy and can represent a mature female with psychic powers or even sage older women.
THE EMPRESS: This card signifies a woman of substance, mature, and capable of coping with the challenges life throws at you. She is a person of authority, wealth, and power with a strong maternal instinct. The Empress can signify a person with creativity.
THE EMPEROR: You can use the Emperor card to signify a man of authority, wealth, and power. He is someone that commands respect. He can seem stern at times but will often have your best interests in the heart.
THE HIEROPHANT: This is the card of the mentor or teacher figure. The Hierophant can represent a ceremonial figure with public obligations.
THE LOVERS: This card represents two people or a situation that involves two people who have to interact with each other. This could be a married couple or even a business partnership. This is an excellent card to use if there are issues concerning love, friendship, marriage, or any one-on-one situation between two people.
THE CHARIOT: This card signifies a messenger or someone who is waiting to receive a message. Use the Chariot to represent any situation where conflicting ideas are involved or need to be controlled, such as a group of people with different views and objectives.
STRENGTH: Strength can use to signify someone who is strong and has things under control. Strength can be used to describe a male or a female. The Strength card can be used to represent any situation where physical strength might be required or if someone requires inner strength and perseverance.
THE HERMIT: This is an excellent card to use if someone is seeking guidance. The Hermit can symbolize someone who might be seeking knowledge. The Hermit seeks and favors solitude. He is a person who has chosen to retreat from ordinary life for a while, someone who needs to take a break from a situation and take time to reflect. It can also signify anyone who is concerned about the past and what it held.
THE WHEEL OF FORTUNE: This card is not used to represent a person. But you can use it to signify a situation that has started to move forward and is now playing itself out.
JUSTICE: You can use this card to represent someone who is in the process of weighing up decisions or for someone who is looking for knowledge to help them make a decision. Justice is often used to represent someone in the law field or can stand for the legal system. It’s an excellent significator for someone who is involved in a lawsuit. Or any form of negotiation.
THE HANGED MAN: This card represents someone who might find themselves at a crossroads in their lives. It can be used for someone who is at a standstill and needs to move forward.
DEATH: This is the card that makes everyone nervous, and because of that, it’s not often chosen as a significator. But it is good to use when there is a situation that involves a significant transformation.
TEMPERANCE: This card can be used as a significator for a healer or Career, someone in the medical field. Temperance can also be used to show someone resourceful.
THE DEVIL: Use this card to signify someone who is feeling depressed. Or has an obsessive or compulsive personality, is addicted to alcohol or drugs, or has found themselves trapped in a situation that they can’t see a way out of.
THE TOWER: The Tower can signify an explosive situation or when situations are happing out of your control.
THE STAR: The Star can signify someone kind and willing to help others without expecting rewards. It can also be an entertainer or artist. The Star can be either masculine or feminine energy.
THE MOON: You can use the moon to represent a person who might have a free spirit. One that doesn’t often take into consideration other people’s thoughts and might be a little selfish. The Moon card can relay to anyone who is connected strongly with the inner feminine energy.
THE SUN: This card can be used as a significator for children or concerns about them. It’s an excellent card to use if you want to shed some light on a situation. This is someone with a sunny, happy personality.
JUDGMENT: This is an excellent card for someone who has just had that Ah-Ha moment when they suddenly become aware of what they need to do or what they should be doing with their life. This card represents someone who is looking for the truth about a particular situation.
THE WORLD: I love this card. It represents some who is confident and happy in their skin. It’s a great card to use to signify a situation that is going exceptionally well.