Common Tarot Spreads: A Guide to Different Layouts for Various Questions
The tarot is a powerful tool for guidance, insight and reflection. Tarot cards have been used for centuries to gain perspective on relationships, career, spirituality and all aspects of life.
There are many different tarot spreads, or card layouts, that readers use depending on the type of question being asked. Choosing the right spread can help provide clarity and focus the reading on the topic at hand.
Popular Tarot Spreads
The Celtic Cross
The Celtic Cross is one of the most common and comprehensive spreads. It provides an overview of the past, present and future relating to the querent’s situation.
- Positions 1 and 2 – The current situation and immediate challenge
- Positions 3 and 4 – Factors affecting the situation – often the distant past and recent past
- Position 5 – The best outcome or goal
- Position 6 – The likely near future if things continue unchanged
- Position 7 – How the querent sees themselves consciously
- Position 8 – How the querent sees themselves unconsciously
- Position 9 – Hopes, fears and expectations
- Position 10 – The final outcome
This spread is excellent for gaining deep insight into a situation and the factors at play.
Three Card Spread
The three card spread is a simple go-to for quick readings on a specific topic or question.
- Card 1 – The past
- Card 2 – The present
- Card 3 – The future
By limiting the cards to just three, this spread provides a condensed snapshot of a situation. It’s useful for a quick check-in or getting straight to the point.
The Relationship Spread
For questions about romantic relationships, this seven card spread provides clarity.
- Card 1 – One partner’s current feelings
- Card 2 – The other partner’s current feelings
- Card 3 – The strengths of the relationship
- Card 4 – The weaknesses of the relationship
- Card 5 – Advice for maximizing the strengths
- Card 6 – Advice for overcoming the weaknesses
- Card 7 – The potential for the relationship
This spread is perfect for gaining insight into the dynamic between two people and identifying productive steps forward.
The Career Spread
When guidance about your career path is needed, this simple five card layout can assist.
- Card 1 – Current career situation
- Card 2 – Factors influencing the situation
- Card 3 – Goals and ideal outcome
- Card 4 – Best steps to take
- Card 5 – Potential results if advice is followed
By zeroing in on career considerations specifically, clarity on professional direction often emerges.
Choosing Spreads for Different Questions
- Love and relationships – The relationship spread is ideal, but the Celtic Cross can also provide a deep dive on romantic issues. For new relationships, a simple 3 card past-present-future works well.
- Major life changes – The Celtic Cross is excellent for big picture insight on major changes, as it overviews the broader landscape. Specific move or change spreads can also be useful.
- Career and work – The career spread gives targeted advice for professional questions. The Celtic Cross also provides helpful perspective on work issues.
- Personal growth – Pick spreads that focus on self-reflection like the Tree of Life or Horseshoe. The Celtic Cross also gives insight on inner landscape.
- Spirituality – The Tree of Life spread provides a great framework for spiritual questions and inner search for meaning.
- Yes/No questions – Try very simple 1-3 card draws, asking for cards representing yes, no or maybe. This provides clear guidance on concrete questions.
- New endeavors – A simple 3 card past-present-future works well for new initiatives or unknown situations requiring an overview.
The possibilities are endless when creating or using spreads. Being clear on the question and then choosing or designing the right spread provides the most fruitful reading experience. With experimentation, readers learn which layouts work best for various inquiries.
Ethical and Responsible Tarot Reading: Guidelines for Readers
Tarot is a powerful modality that should be practiced with care and integrity. Adhering to certain ethical principles as a tarot reader ensures the well-being of clients and promotes positivity. Here are some key guidelines:
Read with Honesty and Clarity
- Represent your skills and experience accurately to clients. Do not claim to have psychic or mediumship abilities if untrue.
- Be transparent about how you do readings if asked. Explain the tarot draws insight from interpreting random card sequences.
- If you feel a reading is unclear or incomplete, communicate this to the client. Additional cards can provide clarity.
Empower the Querent
- Remind clients they have free will and choices. The tarot provides potential outcomes, not predestined fate.
- Avoid paternalistic, authoritative language. Frame the reading as guidance the querent can take or leave.
- Focus on client empowerment, encouraging them to access their own inner wisdom and decide what resonates.
Maintain Clear Boundaries
- Keep the focus on the cards and the querent’s situation, not personal dynamics between reader and client.
- Avoid dual relationships that blur boundaries. Don’t act as tarot reader and therapist/counselor/friend. Refer out if needed.
- Be aware of transference and projection. Clients sometimes project hopes onto readers. Maintain healthy boundaries.
- Keep all readings and client information strictly confidential unless given permission to share.
- Store any notes or records securely and limit collection of personal data.
- When using case studies for teaching, obtain client consent and disguise identifiable details.
Provide Responsible Guidance
- Avoid fear-based predictions or advice. Focus on constructive, empowering guidance clients can use.
- Do not advise the querent to make major life decisions solely based on a reading. Responsibility lies with the client.
- Know when an issue requires professional intervention and be prepared to refer clients to appropriate resources.
Develop Moral Integrity
- Be honest and do not manipulate or exploit clients emotionally, financially or otherwise.
- Handle sensitive issues ethically and with care. Obtain consent before exploring specific areas like health or legal matters.
- Reflect on and monitor your motives and intentions to uphold strong moral character.
By following ethical principles centered on client needs, tarot practice can foster empowerment, clarity and spiritual growth.
Frequently Asked Questions About Tarot Ethics
Should I predict the future for my clients?
Avoid outright predictions. The tarot reveals potential outcomes clients can choose to shift. Emphasize free will and self-determination.
What if a client becomes dependent on readings?
Set boundaries and suggest taking breaks between readings. Recommend journaling for self-reflection between sessions.
Is it okay to learn on client readings?
Get comfortable with tarot fundamentals first. When starting out, disclose your experience level so clients can consent.
Can I ethically do health or legal readings?
Tread carefully here and avoid specific advice. Suggest consulting doctors or lawyers for health/legal issues.
Should I tell a client her partner is cheating if I intuit it?
Do not reveal suspected infidelity without permission. Focus on reading the cards themselves.
Is it alright to trade readings for goods/services?
Bartering can create dual relationships. Reimbursement for time is OK, but avoid entanglements.
Can I break confidentiality if someone seems dangerous?
In extreme cases like danger or abuse, consulting professionals may be warranted. Use great discretion.
What if a querent insists a reading is 100% fate and set in stone?
Politely reiterate that tarot shows potentials not predestined outcomes. The querent has choices.
Should I point out flaws or weaknesses in a querent’s thinking?
You can note self-limiting perspectives evident in the cards. But allow the client to draw their own conclusions.
How do I avoid projecting my own biases into readings?
Reflect on your own worldview and assumptions regularly. Let the cards speak for themselves.
Following a strong ethical framework allows tarot readers to provide guidance in a responsible, empowering way.