Tarot Card Spreads

Tarot Spreads

A spread is a preset pattern for laying out the cards that has its own particular interpretation and meaning. It defines how many cards are to be drawn, and what each one will mean. A spread is a template guiding the placement of the cards so they can help us get more insight into a given topic. Some spreads use only a few cards while others, many.

The Four Card Spread

This first spread is simple and straightforward to use and is useful for quick readings. Starting from the left, lay out four cards face up and side by side.

1. This card describes the overall theme of the spread. The situation at the present, the circumstances of the questioner
2. This card shows influences, either people or ideas, that affect the questioner.
3. This card indicates the questioner’s outward face, the way in which she/he interacts and influences the situation.
4. This card points  towards a solution, action that will overcome the problem or difficulty (should one exist). A negative card here could show the passing of a negative situation or way of thinking.
The Astrological Spread
The twelve cards of the astrological spread represent the twelve astrological houses. Each card is interpreted in the context of the house in which it falls.
1. The questioner, his physical body, personality, outlook, interests and hobbies. Court cards indicate self assertion or people who may affect the reading.
2. Finance, monetary matters, personal possessions of all kinds and the subject’s attitude towards them, worldly resources.
3. Brothers, sisters and cousins, family ties in general, private thoughts, education and studies, communication and speech, neighbours, short journeys, public transport.
4. The home and frequented buildings, land, the immediate environment, the mother figure.
5. Children, amusements, romance, games and play, pleasures and entertainment, holidays, creativity, love affairs.
6. Work and health, hospitals, the working environment, business colleagues, household pets.
7. Close relationships, partnerships, marriage, known enemies, competitors, legal matters.
8. Endings, loans and debts, gifts and bequests, insurance investments and mortgages, other people’s money, crime.
9.Law,religion,mysticism, self-realization, education, intellect, teaching and lecturing, advertising, long journeys, foreign travel and language, foreigners, moral ideas, conscience, dreams.
10. Superiors, reputation, status, career and business, aspirations, ambitions, responsibilities, the questioner’s outward appearance, the father figure.
11. Friends, societies, hopes and wishes, intellectual pursuits and pleasures.
12. The inner self, the psyche, the need for seclusion, escapism, self-sacrifice, institutions and charities, restrictions,
The Cabbalistic Spread
The Cabbalistic, Tree of Life or Sephiroth spread provides a comprehensive view of the subject’s circumstances and personality. It may be used in conjunction with other spreads, as it gives useful background information that may not be available elsewhere.
1. Kether.. Inner spirituality and spiritual development, the higher self, concept of ideas, new beginnings.
2. Chokmah.. Personality, the realisation of ideas, the father figure and male activities and interests.
3. Binah.. Sorrows, the mother figure, female activities and influences.
4. Chesed.. Law, justice and finance, ideals, planning, compromise.
5. Geburah.. Action, strength, enemies and strife.
6. Tiphareth.. Glory and fame, balance and harmony.
7. Netsach.. Love and romance, the emotions, artistic abilities.
8. Hod.. Trade and communications, language, speech and logic.
9. Yesod.. Health, mental and physical, the imagination, sexual needs and urges.
10. Malkuth.. The home and environment, the present, worldly possessions and money.
The Celtic Cross
This spread is included here as it is one of the most popular in use today.
Start by choosing a significator (see below) to represent the subject and place this in the centre of the table (under the number one card). Deal ten cards, from the top of the shuffled and cut deck, in the order indicated by the numbers on the diagram.
1. PRESENT SITUATION-the circumstances of the questioner at the time of the reading. It may indicate a state of mind, or the physical situation relating to the subject.
2. IMMEDIATE INFLUENCES-close to hand. These may be of a positive and helpful nature, or they could be holding the subject back in some way. Obstacles and opposition or the absence of them. There could be an indication of personal excess.
3. NEAR FUTURE-plans and intentions. These may not however comply with the final outcome shown in card ten. This card could also indicate events occurring in the short term as a result of the subjects immediate actions.
4. DISTANT PAST, FOUNDATIONS-people or events which have given rise to the present situation. The inquirer’s previous actions or thoughts which are having an effect on the present. These may or may not be known to the subject.
5. RECENT PAST-this may be any time prior to the consultation. However close the subject may consider this influence to be, it is now firmly in the past and its powers are fading.
6. GOALS, AIMS AND IDEALS-these are determined by an understanding of the situation, and so are open to change following the information provided by the consultation.
7. THE SUBJECT’S EFFECT ON THE ENVIRONMENT-the immediate surroundings, people and events. It may be real or imagined. The card describes the limits of control over circumstances.
8. ENVIRONMENTAL INFLUENCES-either people or events, on the subject. Perhaps the attitudes or reactions of others to the present situation. These influences may be helpful or not. It may also indicate how the subject is perceived by the world, and this could be at odds with the image presented in the previous card.
9. ATTITUDES, FEELINGS AND EMOTIONS-about the present or the future suggested here. Concerns and emotions regarding the matters covered by the spread.
10. THE FINAL RESULT-this card indicates the most likely future outcome when viewed from the present.
Choosing a Significator.
Court cards (King, Queen, Prince and Princess) may be used as significators. These are often used in spreads to represent the questioner. They act as a focus for the reader’s subconscious. The reader chooses a significator in one of two ways. If the questioner is well known to the reader then a card will be chosen that most reflects the questioner’s personality. Otherwise use a card of the suit which corresponds to the questioners birth sign.
Age also affects the choice of significator. The Kings and the Princes represent mature adult males and young males respectively. Similarly the Queens and Princesses represent females.

3 card spread tarot reading -When it comes to reading  cards, one of the most asked questions is how do you set the cards up for a reading. If you do not have any knowledge in the actual meanings of the cards themselves then is best for you to go out and purchase a book on tarot meanings that also offers information on tarot card layouts. Until that time you can go with this very easy to follow guide to start you off.

The first thing that is required is obviously a tarot card deck. The easiest card deck to get the hang of is the Rider Waite deck. This is the most universally known and the easiest to follow when it comes to the meanings. When you get used to this deck itself then you can move further into other different types of tarot decks or Oracle cards. When you have considered the question that you want the answers to make sure that your tarot deck has all the required cards and that none are missing, so that you don’t miss out on any information it may tell you. The second thing you want to do is make sure that the cards are shuffled thoroughly. So this will obviously make sure that the major and minor Arcana are well mixed up within the deck. The next step is not a necessity, but some readers will do a ritual before they start reading, or even meditate on the cards for the answers.

One of the easiest types of readings to do is what is called a three card spread. The first card representing the past, the second card representing the present, and the third card representing the future. 3 cards all laid out side by side. For people that believe that the future is in a fluid state the third card will represent what will happen if the situation is being asked about is not fixed. The interaction of the past, present and future is always apparent after the fact of the question at hand. For instance if you do not go to put money in the bank, then tomorrow you won’t have money available to use. So this reading is based on cause and effect, as the future events are based on what happens in the past and presently.

This is a very simplistic way for you to do a three card reading by yourself in the comfort of your own home. Remember that this is in reference to you physically having the cards in front of you and not with the use of a computerized reading on the internet. The reason why it’s better to do it yourself in this case is that it is running off of your own personalized energy. When it comes to how to read the cards or how to use cards nothing beats getting a reading from a professional psychic reader or tarot reader. This way the answers are not left to chance and there is less likely an opportunity for the reading to be misinterpreted.





Card 1 – The situation as it exists now.
Card 2 – How the situation will evolve in the next four weeks.
Card 3 – Someone or something that will affect the situation.
Card 4 – The outcome.


Fast Solution Spread

1 2 3

1. The nature of your problem
2. The cause of your problem
3. The solution to your problem


HorseShoe Spread

3 7
1 4 6 8 9
2 10

1,2 – Your Present Position
3,4 – Present desires
5,6 – What you do not expect
7,8 – Advice
9,10 – Immediate Future Outcome


Lesson Spread

This spread is for those moments when you know you are walking
through life on a journey that is based around one big test and lesson,
and you would like to get some insight on it.

NOTE: No Layout on Card Positions
So just lay them out the way you wish

1 what is the lesson
2 what is the importance of this lesson
3 why am i being given this lesson now
4 what is underlying about this lesson
5 how do i learn this lesson
6 how do i use this in everyday life
7 what is the outcome when i overcome this lesson


Making a Decision Spread

1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8

1-3: What will happen if you chose option A
4-6: What will happen if you chose option B
7: Outcome if you chose A
8: Outcome if you chose B
9: Something you need to know before deciding


Monthly Spread

From Power Tarot by MacGregor and Vega

— 1 —

— 2 — 3 — — 4 — 5 —

1) General atmoshpere of the upcoming month
2) First week of the month
3) Second week of the month
4) Third week of the month
5) Fourth week of the month





Card 1 – Outlook for the situation, event, or project.
Card 2 – What/who will help.
Card 3 – What this will lead to.
Card 4 – How you will feel about the outcome.


Past-Present-Future-Outcome Spread

Cards 1 and 2 – Past influences, how the situation came to be
Cards 3 and 4 – Present influnces, what the situation is in the current time
Cards 5 thru 8 – Future influences, what the situation will come to be
Card 9 – Outcome, or Advice


The Week Ahead Spread

You Take 8 cards.
Laying one in the middle first, this foretells the flavor of the whole week.
Then Follow with seven cards clockwise.

————–Middle Card

1 – Monday
2 – Wednesday
3 – Friday
4 – Sunday
5 – Tuesday
6 – Thursday
7 – Saturday

What Direction Spread


1 .. 2
4 .. 3

1.) Situation
2.) What’s the worse possible direction I could take?
3.) What’s the best possible direction I could take?
4.) Overall Advise

What are your favorite spreads to use for reading? let us know below.

Melissa Martinez

Melissa Martinez

Melissa Martinez currently has 10+ years of experience helping people navigate life with the use of astrology. When not working on the website she is busy writing her first book on love and astrology.


  1. Great for an in-depth look at a specific situation or focused question. This spread is very linear, so it’s easy to read and understand as each position builds on the last. I got this spread from Spiritual Tarot, Seventy-Eight Paths to Personal Development (great book!)

    Star Guide Readings Spread

    Card 1: Facts First; present situation, reason for asking.
    Card 2: Sage Advice; what is causing conflict or impediments.
    Card 3: Dragons to Slay; what needs to change to overcome challenges.
    Card 4: Right Use of Talents; what you need to draw upon to make the change.
    Card 5: More Possibilities; additional areas that need work or resources available to you.
    Card 6: Crucial Insight; final advice or outcome.

  2. Scotti P. says:

    Horoscope Spread: This is one of the most commonly used and explained spreads in Tarot. The Horoscope Spread can be read in many ways. I will describe two. The first is to read each position as the chances, challenges, and tasks to be presented in each month of the upcoming year. The second relates more to your current situation. Position explanations can be found below the layout.
    horoscope spread

    Card 1: All Beginnings. Personality, potential, outward appearance.
    Card 2: What one values, tangible assets, material possessions.
    Card 3: Mental activity, communication, writing, siblings, neighbors.
    Card 4: Private life, home, family, and parents.
    Card 5: Creativity, emotions, romance, children, art, entertainment.
    Card 6: Health, work, hygiene, employees, service.
    Card 7: Relationships marriage, partnerships, contracts.
    Card 8: Sex, death, degacies, the occult, external influence
    Card 9: Higher education, law philosophy, religion, dreams, long-distance travel.
    Card 10: Public life, career, profession, ambitions, honors.
    Card 11: Friends, associations, groups, hopes, wishes.
    Card 12: Unconscious mind, karma, secrets, hidden limitations.

  3. charlotta says:

    The Single Card

    is actually a very useful Tarot tool for meditations, simple questions and daily practice. I usually pull a single card for myself daily to get a view of how my day will go and to get advice or inspiration. Yes you can read for yourself. The only problem you will usually find reading for your self is your own opinions. You may find yourself reading only the good parts of a card or spread or conversely reading to harshly so as to not give yourself false hopes. My best advice here is to look into your heart when you read and know that you are being true to yourself.

    You can also pull a single card to meditate on, sleep on, or just to contemplate. I often do single card pulls for individuals in groups, or at parties just to give people an idea of what Tarot can tell them.

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