If you’ve ever had a tarot reading done, you’re likely aware that there are many ways to go about it. This is done by arranging the cards in different patterns (known as “spreads”). The reason that many different spreads are used is that they are adaptable to different situations. For example, if you’re interested in knowing how a certain aspect of your life came about and how it will proceed in the future, a reader will likely do the Past, Present, and Future spread. In this format the person doing the reading will draw only three cards and arrange them in a line. The first card on the left will represent past influences regarding the situation you are questioning. The card in the middle will represent the situation as it stands and as it affects you. The card on the right will represent future possibilities that could affect the situation. This spread, while simple, can provide you with a lot of insight. However, other spreads can answer and shed insight on more complex questions. One of the most popular spreads is the Celtic Cross. If you’re relatively new to having your cards read, the Celtic Cross is a good request to make for a number of reasons.
Analyzing a Problem
The main function of the Celtic Cross spread is that it serves as a problem analyzer. The spread assesses the problem and any underlying causes. It can also give you insight into what the resolution may be. This spread is useful as a place to begin when trying to solve whatever the problem is. It is also useful in helping people see their problem laid out as a series of images and meanings, which can give new insight into what’s going on in their lives.
What the Cards Symbolize
There are variations on this spread, but the most common layout includes seven cards arranged in a cross pattern with four cards arranged to the right of the cross in a vertical line. Each card in the spread has a position name, and each position name has a meaning attached to it. The first three cards in the center of the cross are named (in order): “significator,” “you,” and “crossing.” The first card is optional, but when used in this manner usually represents your emotions in regards to the problem. The second card, named “you,” represents obviously your relation to the problem. The third card, “crossing,” indicates the conflict that you’re currently facing in your life.
Cards four through seven are arranged in a cross pattern around the three central cards. The fourth card, in the “foundation” position, will show the basis of the issue that you’re currently dealing with. The fifth card, “past,” will illustrate to you anything from the past that may have influenced your life and led to the problem. The sixth card position, “present,” illuminates what elements of your life currently are affecting the problem as it stands. The seventh card in the “future” position will outline any emotions, forces, or actions that could impact the resolution of the problem.
The remaining four cards are used to show you how others view your problem, how you see yourself in light of the problem, what hopes and fears you have regarding the situation, and the probable outcomes you will face.