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Tarot Spread Theory and Useful Tarot Spreads


 
General Theory
 
Three Card Spreads
Celtic Cross

 
Choice Spread
 
Wheel Spread
 
The English Spread



Tarot Theory

The tarot is a navigation tool for our lives. Symbols in the framework of a tarot deck provide direction.

A "reading" of tarot symbols gives you information about the present. Since the present is a seed for the future, the reading offers a vision of a "probable" future. Once the future has been glimpsed, it can be altered to either insure or deter what is seen. The tarot gives feedback about one’s location along life’s journey. The reading shows the possibilities, giving us choice and greater control over the destiny.

The symbols in the tarot are like symbolic clues we receive throughout life. Events in the world that occur seemingly at random, such as a gust of wind or a falling leaf, are symbolic guideposts of impending events. The tarot reading is simply the intentional allowing of synchronism to furnish a sign.

Questions of the Tarot:

In consultation of the card-symbols, one can ask anything in any way. You can ask why, what, how , when, and where about any issue, decision, or aspect of your inner or external life – past, present, and/or future. Your questions may be specific or general. The tarot can respond to whether you should, can, will, or are. The tarot cards can communicate in a combination of two ways: symbolically and intuitively. A symbolic reading is also known as a "book" reading. An accepted, predetermined meaning is applied to the card. The quality of a symbolic reading is determined by the reader’s understanding of card meanings/symbology, both alone and along with other cards.
The second method of reading is via intuition. When the cards are read intuitively, they "speak" to the reader, and there is no knowledge of underlying symbology required. The intuition of a reader picks up on the pictures in the cards or some other unclassifiable method. Some intuitive readers don’t require the cards, and use them only as a backdrop to a answering a querent’s question. Other intuitive readers use the cards as a "jumping off point", and the reading moves forward from the first impression received from the cards. An analogy of this is being shown on a map that one is somewhere in the Southern United States, and then probable climate based on the time of the year.

Most readers use a combination of symbolic and intuitive reading.

Spreads:

Questions are often structured in the tarot through a spread, or layout. This is a symbolic pattern of positions, each with a given meaning. A card-symbol is selected for each of these positions and interpreted in relation to the assigned meaning of the position.

Individual spreads lend themselves to different questions. Below is a chart with suggest spreads for different readings:

Type of Reading

Spread

Quick Answer

1 or 3 cards

"Probable Outcome"

Celtic Cross

"What is going on"

Wheel

Choices

Choice or English


THREE CARD SPREAD



A three card spread is typically used in many ways. When a reader wants a quick answer to a question, the cards can provide the answer when read as a story, starting from the left and moving to the right. The first card plays on the second, and so on.

A three card spread can provide insight into very specific questions when predetermined meanings are given to each card. The chart below has some examples of meanings that can be pre-assigned.

Method

Card #1

Card #2

Card #3

Time

Past

Present

Future

Opinions

Person’s #1 Outlook

Person’s #2 Outlook

"Divine" Outlook

Conditions

Situation

Present Status

Outcome


CELTIC CROSS

With two future oriented cards, this is an excellent spread for looking at probable outcomes to events and situations. Below in the table I have some traditional meanings of the card positions. The "outcome/future" cards are in bold.

 

Card Position

Meaning

1

Significator – Gives overall tone for reading

2

an indication of the energies directed at the overall tone of the reading

3

basis of the past – those things that affected the past, and may be carrying into the present and future

4

past events

5

basis of the future

6

future events

7

what the querent thinks about the question/situation

8

what other people think about the question/situation

9

querent’s hopes and fears regarding the question

10

outcome of the question

 

CHOICE SPREAD

Cards for Choice Spread

It's a five-card spread for use with specific questions. The reader asks the querent to shuffle the cards. The reader takes the cards and asks the querent to chose five numbers; the first one has to be between one and 78, the second between one and 77 and so on. The reader picks the card from the deck (starting from the top) that corresponds with each number. Lay them out in a horizontal line from left to right.

The first card on the left is the situation as it stands now; what will happen if the querent takes no action and continues on the present course. The second card represents what the querent could do to change that situation, whether for better or worse. The third card represents why the querent is in this situation. The fourth card represents forces (internal or external or both) that can help or hinder the querent. The fifth card is what the outcome will be if the querent follows the changes represented by the second card.

THE WHEEL SPREAD

 Wheel Spread

BACKGROUND:

The Wheel Spread is used when there is no specific question.  The strength of this spread is that it provides information about all areas of a person's life.

INTERPRETATION:

thE  The twelve cards represent the twelve zodiac houses.  When a card is interpreted, it is done so in the meaning of the house the card is placed in.  The meaning and sign assocation of the house are:

House

Ruler

Glyph

Reading of Card

1

Aries

Self Identity

2

Taurus

Values, Possessions

3

Gemini

Communication Skills

4

Cancer

Home, Security

5

Leo

Creativity. Self Expression

6

Virgo

Service, Health

7

Libra

Partnerships

8

Scorpio

Rebirth, Sex, Death, Taxes

9

Sagittarius

Exploration, Expansion, Learning

10

Capricorn

Public Recognition, Career

11

Aquarius

Group Consciousness, Uniqueness

12

Pisces

Subconscious, Secrets


THE ENGLISH SPREAD

English Spread

 

BACKGROUND

The primary purpose of this spread is to provide information on choices in a querent's life. It is made up of five groups of three cards. The numbers on the cards show their order of placement. In the four quadrants, the spread is read from the outside cards to the inside cards. When the cards are read, they are done so in a story book fashion. For example, if the following cards were present:

12: King of Swords

8: Two of Cups

4: Eight of Wands

These cards could be read: A man, one of thinking and intellect, will make a proposal to you in the very near future. 


INTERPRETATION

Card One: This represents the Querent, the problems surrounding them, their present situation and primary influences. This position is a card of summation, telling the nature of the entire spread.

Cards Two and Three: These in conjunction with card One, are the key cards of the spread. They give extended information on the situation of the Querent, and provide clues on the outcome of the paths indicated.

Cards Twelve, Eight, and Four (Upper Left): These show one direction in the Querent's life. If desired, the position can be the possibilities for alternate action, which may be desirable or un desirable, depending on the other cards in the spread.

Cards Thirteen, Nine, and Five: These show a another direction in the Querent's life. If desired, the position show the direction the Querent's life will naturally follow, unless some action is taken to change this course ("The Stars impel, they do not compel").

Cards Fifteen, Eleven, and Seven: These show what cannot not be changed. In all lives, there are events that are out of our control. To be aware of these events keeps one from wasting energy and time.

Cards Fourteen, Ten, and Six: These cards show where the Querent has leverage in life. This can indicate a strength, or provide a warning about events that can be changed.

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