Below I have given examples of a few different Tarot card spreads that you can use in different situations. This assumes that you have already shuffled the cards, as described in the main page on the Tarot cards. In each case the number given on the card tells you what order to lay them out in – place card number 1 first, 2 second etc. Deal from the top of the deck, and place the cards face down. If you are taking the cards from someone else who has shuffled them, make sure you note which edge they had closest to their body, and hold the deck the same way yourself when you are dealing.
Many people assign different meanings to the cards when they appear with the picture upside down. This is called ill-dignified, or simply reversed. When you have laid all the cards out, turn them face up by flipping them from right to left as you would turn the page of a book. This will ensure they stay the same way up as they were when they were shuffled. Note that you do not have to work with different meanings for reversed cards, and indeed when you are learning to use the Tarot this may be an unnecessary complication.
To interpret your cards once they are face up refer to both the meaning of the card, and the position it is in. For example, in the Three Card Spread below, card number one will relate to past experiences. The Hermit card from the Major Arcana relates to solitude and introspection, and if it appeared as card number one it would indicate that this period of introspection took place in the past, and may give a background for current events.
3 Card Spread
(Understand and clarify one’s options)
1: Past, experiences which may cast light on the current problem.
2: Present, what the querant is feeling at the moment.
3: Future, shows the result of the querant’s actions.
Six Card Spread
(A broad overview of one’s life)
1: The querant, something about the querant that relates to the problem.
2: Relationships, covers all personal relationships – including friends and family.
3: Finances, the state of the querant’s finances.
4: Career, the querant’s feelings toward work, and their positions there.
5: Health, that of the querant, or someone close to them.
6: Travel, whether the querant will be traveling in the near future, or if others will travel to meet them.
(Guidance on a specific problem)
1: Past, something that specifically relates to the current problem.
2: Present, the current problem.
3: Future, The result of the querant’s actions.
4: Best course of action, what should be done to solve the problem.
5: Other people, how they feature in and influence the querant’s problem.
6: Obstacles, and difficulties there will be in solving the problem.
7: Outcome, the course of action the querant is likely to take, and their feelings.
Celtic Cross Spread
(Guidance on a specific problem)
1: Current influences, the basis for the whole reading.
2: Obstacles, nature of the problems before the querant.
3: Specific goals, things the querant should aim for, the best that can be achieved.
4: Past foundations, influences from the past with bearing on the current situation.
5: Past events, more recent events that have influence.
6: Future influences, a new influence that will soon be brought to bear on the querant.
7: The querant, and their feelings and thought on the current problem.
8: Home and environment, the querant’s influence on the people around her.
9: Emotions, the querant’s hopes and fears.
10: Result, the final outcome and product of the other influences.
For a complete guide to using Tarot cards check out this ebook for beginners. It includes illustrated meanings of all the major cards in normal orientation and reversed, and in different spreads.