Tarot Spreads

A Tarot 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.

Before a reading is performed, the cards are shuffled by the person receiving the reading. Some say this transfers that person’s energy to the deck. The person receiving the reading should also be concentrating on the question or area for which they want guidance while he or she shuffles the deck. Once the cards are shuffled and the deck has been cut, the reader lays out the cards in a pattern called the spread.

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. Each spread is designed for a particular type of reading.
Which spread is used is up to the reader and the specific type of question or reading. These might include the subject’s thoughts and desires (known or unknown) or past, present, and future events. Some spreads focus more on a specific type of information. For example, one spread might focus more on emotional matters, while another might bring in more information about the influences of others.

Generally, each position in the spread is assigned a number, and the cards are turned over in that sequence, with each card being contemplated/interpreted before moving to the next. Each position is also associated with an interpretation, which indicates what aspect of the question the card in that position is referring to.
Sometimes, rather than being dealt randomly, the initial card in a spread is intentionally chosen to represent the querent or the question being asked. This card is called the significator.

Before you begin using Tarot spreads, it is important for you to understand your cards. Learn what each card represents, and keep this in the back of your mind.

Here you will learn a few Tarot spreads to get you started, or add to your library of spreads. These are all classical spreads, written for general situations.


Some methods of interpreting the tarot consider cards to have different meanings depending on whether they appear upright or reversed. A reversed card is often interpreted to mean the opposite of its upright meaning. For instance, the Sun card upright may be associated with satisfaction, gratitude, health, happiness, strength, inspiration, and liberation; while in reverse, it may be interpreted to mean a lack of confidence and mild unhappiness.

However, not all methods of card reading prescribe an opposite meaning to reversed cards. Some card readers will interpret a reversed card as either a more intense variation of the upright card, an undeveloped trait or an issue that requires greater attention. Other interpreters point out that card reversal is dependent on the order of the cards before shuffling, so is of little bearing in the scope of a reading.

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