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Tarot Reading Spreads 101

Basic tarot reading spreads to start your adventure with tarot. Check out also more advanced and specific tarot layouts.

Interpreting tarot cards is a creative process that involves your intuition and imagination. It can be compared to story telling. Each spread is like a frame that gives a structure to the story.

The meaning of each tarot card depends on many factors like the position in that particular spread, the question that was asked and the surrounding cards.

There isn't a right or wrong way to spread the cards.

You can start with the more simple spreads to get a feeling of card reading and start awakening your imaginative powers, then try more complex spreads or simply design your own tarot card layouts to fit a particular situation.

The Single Tarot Card Layout

This is a great way to get familiar with tarot reading or a new card deck. It couldn't be easier.

Ask a question while shuffling the cards and, when you feel ready, pick one from the pack or draw the top card.

Before researching in a book the meaning of the card, study it, look at the image and try to describe it.

Try to see if the card reminds you of someone or a situation in your life. What kind of feeling do you get from that picture?

Carry the card with you during the day and occasionally look at it and, if possible, record in a notebook your remarks about the image and the events of the day.

In the evening compare your thoughts and feelings about the card with the interpretation from this website or your favorite tarot book.

In time, with your notebook, you'll create your own tarot card guide.

Three Cards Tarot Reading Spread

Lay three cards side by side like in the picture.

3 cards tarot spread

1. Past

This card show some significant event or situation of your past.

2. Present

The second card refers to the present.

3. Future

The last card gives you hints about your future possibilities.

Or you can read the cards as:

1 Present situation

2 Advice

3 Outcome

The Five Cards Tarot Reading Spread

This is a simple but powerful spread especially if you want to answer a specific question.

5 card tarot spread

1. Past

The first card shows the past and its influences to the present situation.

2. Present

This card clarifies your present state, feelings and thoughts.

3. Hidden influences

With this card we have a hint about influences that you might have ignored or you are unaware of.

4. Advice

The fourth card offers you an advice.

5. Possible outcome

The last card suggests a possible outcome of the events. This should never be taken with a fatalistic set of mind.

The result is only a likely occurrence, a consequence of events and forces in motion at the moment of the reading.

The actions and decisions of the inquirer can always change the course of events.

The Triangle

Here is a simple tarot reading spread, ideal for most situations.

Present: How you feel about yourself now

Hopes: What you most want at this moment 

Fears: Your fears

Pro: What is going for you 

Con: What is going against you


The Horoscope

This is a favorite among the astrology aficionados. It makes a good, generic tarot reading spread and an excellent icebreaker if you are reading the cards for a friend and you are tuning into each other.

In this tarot card spread, each card is placed in the position of the twelve houses of the horoscope.

Each position relates to a specific area of life. Here is the description of the meaning of each tarot card.

When you'll be more confident you can place a second card in each position for further information.

1. The Self

This position represents the querent, his or her feelings, thoughts, needs.

2. Money, resources

This card describes the financial situation, the material goods and resources.

3. Communications

Exchanges, letters, calls and local environment.

4. Home

Emotions related to family, parents and relatives.

5. Self-expression

Creativity, hobbies, love and romance.

6. Work

The daily routine, work, health.

7. Partners

Marriage, spouses, partners.

8. Sex, money and death

Sexuality, legacies, major changes and financial resources.

9. Future

Long distance travel, future and hopes.

10. Career

Ambitions, career, status.

11. Friends

Social activities, friends, clubs and groups.

12. Secrets

Hidden fears, unconscious wishes, hidden matters.

13. The significator

The core question of the spread.

The Twelve Month Spread

The layout is the same as the horoscope spread but here the card number one represents the current month, the number two shows the influences that will effect the following month and so on.

The card in the middle gives you a general tarot card interpretation of the coming year.

The Tree of Life

This tarot reading spread is loosely inspired to the cabalistic Tree of Life that represents the path to God and the creation of the universe.

The Tree of Life spread is used to have an overall view of the querent's situation and it's a great way start to a consultation.

1. Yourself

The attitudes and feelings of the inquirer at the time of the reading.

2. Energy

The level of energy and drive toward goals.

3. Limits

Blocks or limiting factors.

4. Resources

Abilities, income and financial resources.

5. Challenges

The opposition that must be overcome to attain success.

6. Influences

The effect of the querent on the situation.

7. Emotions

Love and emotional life.

8. Career

Self-expression, business and career.

9. Health

The unconscious mind and health matters.

10. Family

The inquirer's close relationships and family.

The Star

Last but not least, my favorite tarot cards spread, the star. This spread is a multipurpose card layout and it can be used in most situation analysis.

1. The Past

2. The Present

3. Hidden Influences

4. Home: your environment

5. Advice

6. Result

More Tarot Card Layouts

Tarot Reading Spreads for Love and Relationships

Do your own tarot readings with these easy to use layouts for relationship and love.

The Celtic Cross and the Horseshoe

In this page you'll find tarot layouts you can use for specific questions like the classic Horseshoe spread and the Celtic Cross.

Tarot Spreads for Self-Discovery

These tarot card layouts are designed to help you explore your inner world. Start, with these tarot spreads, an amazing journey of growth and self-discovery.

Back to Home page from Tarot Card Spreads

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