Understanding Tarot Spreads

Have you ever been curious about Tarot Cards but unsure of how to decipher their meanings? Maybe you’ve seen a deck of cards and wondered what each one represented or how they could be used to uncover hidden truths. The world of Tarot can seem intimidating, but with the right guidance, anyone can gain insight from these mystical cards. In this beginner’s guide, we’ll explore the basics of understanding Tarot spreads – from what they are and how to choose one, to interpreting the cards and utilizing popular spreads. So let’s dive in and unlock the secrets of the Tarot!

Decipher the Riddles of Your Dreams: Select a Tarot Card and Unveil Their Hidden Meanings!
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What is a Tarot Spread?

What Is A Tarot Spread?
As a beginner, understanding the various aspects of tarot can be perplexing. One of the foundational elements of tarot reading is the tarot spread, which is a method of organizing the cards to gain insight into a particular question or situation. In this section, we will explore the meaning of a tarot spread, discussing its different types, how to pick an appropriate spread, and how to interpret a spread using intuition. If you’re just getting started with tarot, you may want to check out our introduction to tarot guide, which explains the basics of the major and minor arcana, and offers guidance on choosing your first tarot deck.


A tarot spread is a specific layout of tarot cards used in a tarot reading. It provides the framework for the tarot reader to interpret the meaning of the cards drawn. Tarot spreads come in different shapes and sizes, each with its own unique purpose and meaning. Knowing how to use tarot spreads is critical in conducting an accurate and insightful tarot reading.

But what exactly is a tarot spread?

In simple terms, a tarot spread is a predetermined pattern of laying out tarot cards for a reading. Typically, each position in the spread carries a specific significance and represents different aspects of the question asked by the querent. The cards drawn are then interpreted based on their position within the spread and the overall meaning of the layout as a whole.

There are countless variations of tarot spreads, each with its own specific purpose and interpretation. Some spreads are designed for gaining insight into specific areas of life such as love or career, while others are intended to provide a comprehensive overview of a situation.

It’s important to note that while tarot spreads offer guidance, they should not be taken as definitive answers or predictions. Tarot readings can provide insight into the energies surrounding a situation or decision, but ultimately it’s up to the querent to make their own choices and take responsibility for their actions.

Understanding what a tarot spread is and the various types available is a crucial first step in learning to read tarot cards. Once you have a basic understanding of spreads, you can begin to choose the most appropriate layout based on the nature of your question and get the most accurate and helpful insights possible.

Types of Tarot Spreads

When it comes to types of tarot spreads, there are many options to choose from depending on the reader’s preference and the question they’re seeking an answer to. Here are some of the most popular types of tarot spreads:

  • One-Card Spread: This simple spread involves drawing a single card to provide insight into a specific situation or question.
  • Three-Card Spread: This spread includes a Past, Present, and Future card to offer insight into the timeline of a situation.
  • Celtic Cross Spread: One of the more well-known spreads, this involves ten cards and can provide detailed information on a particular situation or question.
  • Relationship Spread: As the name suggests, this spread is used for questions related to love, friendships, and other types of relationships.
  • Decision-Making Spread: This spread is designed to help with tough decisions, offering insights into various possible outcomes.

It’s important to note that these are just a few examples of the many tarot spreads available. Some readers even create their own when they feel that none of the existing ones quite fit their needs. For beginners, starting off with a few common tarot spreads is a good idea so that they can get comfortable with tarot reading and gain a better understanding of the cards’ meanings. Later, once they have more experience with tarot reading and card interpretation, they can explore other types of tarot spreads to expand their knowledge and develop their own unique style of tarot reading.

Decipher the Riddles of Your Dreams: Select a Tarot Card and Unveil Their Hidden Meanings!
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How to Choose a Tarot Spread

When it comes to choosing the right Tarot spread for your reading, it can be overwhelming trying to navigate through the vast array of options available. However, selecting the right spread is crucial to ensure you receive the guidance you need. Understanding your question and considering the type of spread that will best address your concerns are important factors to keep in mind. In this section, we will explore some tips on how to choose the most suitable Tarot spread for your reading. For a better understanding of Tarot basics, check out Major Arcana meaning, Minor Arcana interpretation, and common Tarot spreads for beginners.

Consider Your Question

When considering a tarot spread, it’s important to first consider your question. Your query should be clear and specific, aimed at gaining insight or guidance in a particular area of your life. Take a few moments to really focus on your question, and try to phrase it in a way that will be easy to understand and interpret.

Table: Tips for Considering Your Question

Tip Explanation
Avoid Yes/No Questions Yes/No questions can be limiting and may not provide the depth of insight you’re looking for.
Focus on One Thing Don’t try to ask too many questions at once or your spread may become confused or muddled.
Use Specific Language Avoid vague or general questions. Instead, ask specific questions that address your unique situation.
Avoid Loaded Questions Try to avoid asking leading or loaded questions that might influence the outcome of your spread.
Avoid Asking About Others Focus on your own experience rather than trying to gain insight into someone else’s life.

Once you have your question in mind, you can choose a tarot spread that will help you find the answers you’re seeking. Be sure to select a spread that is appropriate for the type of query you have. For example, a general past-present-future spread might not be the best choice if you’re looking for specific guidance on a career decision.

Consider seeking advice from a professional tarot reader, tarot community, or doing your own research to identify spreads that are suitable for your question. You could explore articles on developing intuition in tarot, research first tarot choices, learn about cleansing and energizing tarot cards, understand tarot reading ethics for beginners, or learn tips for accurate tarot readings. Whatever you decide, take the time to carefully consider your question and choose a spread that will best suit your needs.

Pick Appropriate Spread

Now that you have considered your questions, it is time to pick an appropriate tarot spread. Here are some tips to help you make your selection:

  • Think about your question: Based on your question, certain spreads will be more appropriate than others. For example, if you have a specific question about a relationship, a relationship spread would be a more fitting choice than a general spread.
  • Consider the number of cards: Different spreads use different numbers of cards. If you are short on time or looking for a quick answer, a smaller spread may be a better choice for you. However, if you are looking for in-depth guidance, a larger spread may provide more insight.
  • Look for spreads that resonate with you: If you feel drawn to a particular spread, trust your instincts and give it a try. Even if it doesn’t provide a clear answer, it may still offer valuable insights.
  • Experiment with different spreads: Don’t be afraid to try different spreads and see what works best for you. One spread may work well for one person, but not for another. Keep an open mind and be willing to try new things.

Remember, the goal is to find a spread that will help you get the answers you need. By considering your question, the number of cards, and your personal preferences, you can select a spread that is right for you.

Tarot Spread Interpretation

Tarot Spread Interpretation
When it comes to tarot readings, interpreting the spread of cards can be quite daunting for beginners. Understanding the meaning behind each placement and card in the spread is essential for gaining insights and guidance. With a multitude of spreads available, it can seem overwhelming to decipher each one. However, with a bit of patience and practice, anyone can become proficient in interpreting tarot spreads. In this section, we will discuss the steps to interpret a spread successfully, including understanding the card positions, reading the spread as a whole, and using your intuition for a more meaningful and insightful reading experience.

Understanding the Card Positions

As a beginner, understanding the card positions in a tarot spread can be confusing. Each position has a specific meaning and influences the interpretation of the card placed there. Here are some of the most common card positions you may encounter:

Position Meaning
1 The present situation or the querent’s state of mind
2 The challenge or obstacle the querent is facing
3 The root cause of the situation
4 The past and how it relates to the present situation
5 The potential future outcome
6 The querent’s hopes and fears
7 The people or factors that can help or hinder the situation
8 The querent’s attitude towards the situation or the advice they need to follow
9 The querent’s beliefs about themselves or the situation
10 The ultimate outcome or the answer to the question

It’s important to remember that these positions are not set in stone and can vary depending on the tarot spread being used. Additionally, some spreads may have additional or different card positions.

Understanding the card positions is just one aspect of interpreting a tarot spread. It’s important to consider the individual meanings of each card as well as their placement in relation to the other cards in the spread. Trust your intuition and let the cards guide you towards a deeper understanding of the situation at hand.

Reading the Spread as a Whole

Reading the spread as a whole can be overwhelming, especially for beginners. However, it is an essential part of tarot reading, as it helps in gaining a deeper understanding of the situation at hand. Here are some tips for interpreting a tarot spread as a whole:

  • Look for patterns: Analyze the cards in the spread and look for any patterns or connections. For example, if there are multiple cards from the suit of swords, it could indicate mental conflict, stress or decision-making ahead.
  • Consider the positions: Remember to take into account the positions of the cards in the spread. Each position represents a different aspect of the situation or question being asked. Consider how each card relates to its respective position.
  • Pay attention to the story: Tarot cards often tell a story. Look at the cards in the spread in the order they were drawn and try to make a coherent narrative. This will help in understanding the message the cards are conveying.
  • Use your intuition: While it is important to keep your rational mind engaged, it is equally important to listen to your intuition. Pay attention to any gut feelings or impressions that you get while interpreting the spread.
  • Context matters: Remember to take into account the context of the question. The spread may be influenced by past events or surrounding circumstances. Be sure to consider every aspect of the situation.

By keeping these tips in mind, you can gain a deeper understanding of the message the tarot spread is conveying. With practice, reading a tarot spread as a whole will become easier and more rewarding.

Using Intuition

One important aspect of tarot reading is using intuition to interpret the cards. Intuition is the ability to understand something instinctively, without the need for conscious reasoning. When reading a tarot spread, it is important to tap into your intuition to gain a deeper understanding of the cards and their meanings.

To use intuition in tarot reading, begin by examining the images on the cards. What do they make you think or feel? What is your first impression? Take note of any thoughts or feelings that come up, even if they seem unrelated or insignificant.

Next, consider the card position in the spread. How does the card’s meaning relate to the position it is in? Is it a positive or negative position? What does that tell you about the card’s significance in the spread?

It is also important to pay attention to any patterns or connections between the cards. Do they seem to tell a story or message? Are there any repeating symbols or themes? Again, trust your instincts and allow your intuition to guide you in interpreting these patterns.

Finally, remember that tarot reading is a personal and subjective experience. Your intuition may lead you to interpret the cards differently than someone else. Trust your own wisdom and insights, and don’t be afraid to approach the cards with an open mind and heart.

The following table summarizes the key points of using intuition in tarot reading:

Using Intuition in Tarot Reading
– Examine the images on the cards
– Consider the card position
– Look for patterns or connections between the cards
– Trust your instincts and personal experience

Popular Tarot Spreads

As you venture into the world of Tarot reading, you’ll find that there are numerous spreads to choose from. Each spread has a unique layout and serves a specific purpose, making it an effective tool for tackling different types of questions. In this section, we’ll explore some of the most popular Tarot spreads that you can use in your reading practice. From the classic Celtic Cross Spread to the insightful Three-Card Spread, you’ll discover how to use these spreads to gain deeper insights into your clients’ questions and concerns. So, let’s dive in and explore these powerful Tarot spreads!

Celtic Cross Spread

The Celtic Cross Spread is a popular tarot spread that is often used when seeking guidance on important matters. This spread is made up of ten cards, each with its own specific position and meaning.

One of the key aspects of the Celtic Cross Spread is its ability to provide insight into both the present and future situations. The first six cards in the spread are arranged in a specific pattern, which represents the present circumstances and immediate future.

The first card represents the present situation and the question at hand, while the second card represents the obstacles or challenges that may be standing in the way. The third card reflects one’s unconscious beliefs and attitudes, while the fourth card represents past experiences that may be influencing the current situation. The fifth card provides insight into the potential outcomes, while the sixth card reflects the overall energy surrounding the situation.

The remaining four cards are laid out in a vertical line, representing the future events and outcomes. The seventh card represents one’s attitude towards the situation, while the eighth card reflects outside influences that may be affecting the outcome. The ninth card represents hopes and fears, while the tenth and final card represents the outcome or resolution.

The Celtic Cross Spread is particularly effective for gaining insight into complex situations and decision-making processes. By analyzing each card’s meaning and position, it is possible to gain a deeper understanding of the current circumstances and determine the best course of action moving forward.

Here is an example of what the Celtic Cross Spread might look like:

1. Present Situation 2. Obstacles/Challenges 3. Unconscious Beliefs/Attitudes 4. Past 5. Potential Outcome 6. Overall Energy
Seven of Wands The Tower The High Priestess Four of Swords The Sun King of Cups
7. Attitude 8. Outside Influences 9. Hopes/Fears 10. Outcome/Resolution    
Queen of Swords The Hierophant The Fool The Empress    

As you can see, each card is carefully placed to represent a specific aspect of the situation being considered. It is important to remember that the cards themselves do not hold any magical power, but are simply a tool for self-reflection and exploration. As such, it is up to the individual to interpret the cards and their meanings in a way that resonates with their unique situation and experience.

Three-Card Spread

The three-card spread is one of the easiest and most versatile tarot spreads. It is appropriate for beginners and experienced readers alike, as it can be adapted to suit a wide range of questions. The three-card spread consists of three cards laid out in a row, each representing the past, present, and future respectively.

To use the three-card spread, first, the seeker should shuffle and cut the deck, thinking about their question. Then, they should lay out the first card, which represents the past, in the leftmost position. The second card, representing the present, goes in the middle position, and the third, representing the future, goes in the right-hand position.

Once the cards are laid out, the reader should interpret each card in turn. The first card represents the past, and may provide insight into what has led to the current situation. The second card represents the present, and highlights the current state of affairs. The final card represents the future and offers insight into what might happen next.

The three-card spread is ideal for simple questions or when the seeker wants a quick answer. It can be used to gain insight into specific situations, relationships, or other areas of life. Some examples of questions that can be answered with a three-card spread include:

Question Past Present Future
What led to my current job situation? Five of Cups The Tower Nine of Pentacles
What can I expect in my love life in the coming weeks? The Lovers The Devil The Star
What should I focus on in my spiritual practice? The High Priestess The Hierophant The World

The three-card spread is a simple but effective tool for gaining insight into a variety of situations.

Relationship Spread

The relationship spread is a popular tarot spread that helps gain insight into the dynamics of a relationship. It can be used to evaluate any type of relationship, whether it’s romantic, platonic or familial. This spread usually consists of five to seven cards, each card representing a specific aspect of the relationship. Here is a breakdown of the card positions in a typical relationship spread:

  • Card 1: Represents the querent’s (the person seeking the reading) perspective and feelings towards the relationship.
  • Card 2: Represents the other person’s perspective and feelings towards the relationship.
  • Card 3: Represents the strengths in the relationship and what is working well.
  • Card 4: Represents the weaknesses in the relationship and what needs to be improved.
  • Card 5: Represents what the relationship needs in order to move forward in a positive direction.
  • Card 6 (optional): Represents any external factors that are affecting the relationship.

It is important to note that this spread is not meant to predict the future of the relationship, but rather provides a snapshot of where things currently stand. The cards can provide valuable insight into what both parties are feeling, the strengths and weaknesses of the relationship and what needs to be done to improve it. It is ultimately up to the individuals involved to take action and make any necessary changes.

When interpreting this spread, it is important to rely on intuition and consider the overall message of the spread as a whole. Each card’s meaning should be taken into account, but it’s also important to consider how the cards interact with each other. Keep in mind that tarot readings are subjective and can vary based on the individual reader’s interpretation, so trust in your own judgement and use the cards as a tool for guidance.

Decision-Making Spread

One popular Tarot spread that can be useful for decision-making is a five-card spread. This spread is designed to provide insight and guidance when you’re faced with a tough decision. Here’s how you can use this Tarot spread to gain clarity and direction:

  • Card 1: The Present Situation – This card represents the current state of things. It can provide insight into the situation you’re facing and the factors that are at play.
  • Card 2: The Challenge – This card represents the challenge you’re facing. It can provide insight into the obstacles and difficulties that are present in the situation.
  • Card 3: The Advice – This card represents the guidance and advice that the Tarot has for you. It can provide insight into what actions you should take or what mindset you should adopt.
  • Card 4: The Possible Outcome – This card represents the potential outcome of the decision you make. It can provide insight into the consequences of different choices and actions.
  • Card 5: The Final Decision – This card represents the decision you ultimately make. It can provide insight into the choice you should make based on the advice and guidance provided by the other cards in the spread.

When interpreting the cards in this spread, it’s important to keep in mind that the Tarot can only offer guidance and insight. Ultimately, the decision is up to you. Use the information provided by the cards to weigh the pros and cons of different choices, but always trust your own intuition and judgment.

Tips for Tarot Spread Reading

As a novice in tarot reading, understanding the intricate details of tarot spreads and interpretations can seem daunting. However, with time and practice, you can become more confident in your abilities. To help you on this journey, we’ve compiled a list of tips to help improve your tarot spread reading skills. By incorporating these tips into your practice, you can further unlock the mysteries of the tarot deck and gain deeper insights into the questions and concerns of yourself and others. So let’s get started!

Take Notes

Taking notes during a tarot spread reading is essential for remembering important insights and gaining a deeper understanding of the readings. Here are some tips for taking effective notes:

  • Use a notebook: A dedicated notebook for your tarot readings will help you keep all your notes organized in one place. Make sure to label the notebook with the date and the name of the spread you used.
  • Write down the question: Start by writing down the question you asked before you started the reading. This will help you stay focused on the intended topic and remember the context of the reading.
  • Record the cards: Take note of each card you draw and its position in the spread. Jot down any impressions or insights that come to mind about the card or its meaning in that position.
  • Write down keywords: Keywords that come to mind while you’re reading can be helpful in clarifying the meaning of the cards. Write down any keywords that come to mind, or use the keywords that you have learned previously.
  • Summarize the interpretation: After interpreting each card, write down a brief summary of your interpretation for each position in the spread. This will help you see the overall picture of the reading and make connections between the cards.
  • Document your intuition: If you have any intuitive hits or flashes during a reading, make sure to document them in your notes. This will help you remember any personal insights that might be relevant to the reading, as well as any mental images, sounds, smells or other sensations that are important.

Keep your notes accurate and honest, and don’t worry about being too detailed or organized. The goal is to capture as much information as possible during the reading so you can refer back to it later on. By keeping detailed notes, you will be able to better understand the connections between the cards, and gain deeper insights into the messages that are being conveyed in the reading.

Trust Your Instincts

One of the most important tips for reading tarot spreads is to trust your instincts. While it’s important to have a good understanding of the tarot cards and their meanings, it’s equally important to let your intuition guide you during a reading.

It’s not uncommon for a tarot reader to get a strong feeling or impression about a particular card or position within a spread. This is where trusting your instincts comes into play. If something doesn’t feel quite right or doesn’t make sense based on the cards in the spread, it’s okay to pause and tune into your intuition.

You can start by taking a moment to close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Focus on the question or issue at hand and ask yourself what your gut instinct is telling you. Sometimes this may mean interpreting a card in a slightly different way than its traditional meaning or even deviating from the spread’s suggested interpretation.

Of course, it’s important to remember that while intuition is a valuable tool, it shouldn’t be relied on exclusively. The cards themselves have specific meanings and interpretations that provide a framework to work within. Trusting your instincts should be used as a supplement to your knowledge and understanding of the cards.

It’s important to acknowledge and trust your intuition during a tarot reading. Don’t be afraid to deviate from the suggested interpretation if it doesn’t feel right to you. However, remember to use your intuition as a supplement to your knowledge and understanding of the cards, rather than a replacement for them.

Don’t Panic

It is important to remember that reading tarot spreads can be an overwhelming experience, especially for beginners. However, it is essential not to panic when you come across difficult or confusing cards. Here are some tips to help you stay calm and focused during your tarot reading:

  • Take a deep breath: When you feel overwhelmed or confused, take a moment to breathe deeply and center yourself.
  • Focus on the present moment: Try not to worry about what the cards may mean, or what the outcome of the reading might be. Stay focused on the present moment and the cards in front of you.
  • Trust the process: Trust in your abilities and trust that the cards have a message for you. Even if it seems like the reading is not making sense, keep an open mind and remain calm.
  • Take a break: If you feel that the reading is getting overwhelming or confusing, take a break. Step away from the cards and do something else for a while. When you come back, you may have a fresh perspective.
  • Seek support: If you feel like you need help with a reading, don’t be afraid to ask for it. Reach out to a tarot mentor, an experienced reader, or a friend who is familiar with tarot.
  • Remember that the cards are a tool: The tarot cards are a tool to help you gain insight and understanding. They are not meant to predict the future or provide definite answers. Use them as a guide to help you make informed decisions and gain clarity.

By keeping these tips in mind, you can remain calm and centered during your tarot reading, even when you come across challenging cards. Remember to trust in yourself and trust in the cards, and you’ll be able to gain insight and understanding through your tarot spreads.


In conclusion, learning to read tarot spreads may seem daunting at first, but with practice and patience, it can become a valuable tool for self-reflection and guidance. It’s important to remember that tarot readings should not be used as a substitute for professional medical or psychological advice.

If you are just starting out with tarot readings, it is recommended to begin with simple spreads, such as the three-card spread, before moving on to more complex ones like the Celtic cross.

When choosing a spread, it’s important to consider the specific question or situation you want guidance on, and pick a spread that is appropriate for it.

Interpreting the cards involves understanding the meaning of each individual card as well as how it relates to the position it is in and the spread as a whole. Trusting your intuition is key to understanding the messages the cards are conveying.

Some popular tarot spreads include the Celtic cross, three-card spread, relationship spread, and decision-making spread. These spreads can provide insight into various aspects of life, from love and relationships to career and personal growth.

As with any new skill, take the time to practice and experiment with different spreads and techniques. It’s also helpful to keep a tarot journal to track your progress and interpretations.

Remember, tarot readings are meant to empower and guide you, not predict the future or make decisions for you. Use them as a tool for self-reflection and growth, and approach them with an open mind and heart.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I prepare for a tarot reading?

Take a few deep breaths, clear your mind, and focus your energy on your question or intention for the reading. You may also want to light a candle or burn incense.

Can anyone learn how to read tarot cards?

Yes, anyone can learn how to read tarot cards. It does take time, practice, and dedication to become skilled at interpreting the cards.

Do I need psychic abilities to read tarot cards?

No, you do not need psychic abilities to read tarot cards. The cards themselves are simply tools for tapping into your intuition and subconscious insights.

How often should I get a tarot reading?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. It depends on your personal needs and preferences. Some people get readings regularly, while others only do so occasionally.

Can tarot cards predict the future?

While tarot cards can offer insights and guidance, they do not have the ability to predict the future with certainty.

What should I do if I receive a scary tarot reading?

Remember that the cards are simply reflecting the energies and possibilities present in your life. Take some time to reflect on the reading and determine what steps you can take to shift your path if necessary.

Is it okay to ask the same question in multiple tarot readings?

It is generally not recommended to ask the same question in multiple readings, as this can create confusion and muddle the guidance received.

Can tarot readings be done remotely?

Yes, tarot readings can be done remotely via phone, email, or video chat. The important thing is to create a quiet and focused space for the reading.

Do I need to shuffle the cards in a specific way?

There is no one right way to shuffle the cards, but it is important to ensure that they are thoroughly mixed and randomized before drawing them for the spread.

Are there any rules for how I should interpret the cards?

There are no hard and fast rules for interpreting tarot cards. It is best to trust your intuition and personal associations with the cards, and to remember that the meaning of each card may vary depending on the context of the reading.


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