You might already regularly pick up the Celtic cross tarot spread (I mean, how else are you supposed to know the vibe of the day?) or perhaps you’re just getting into tarot but don’t want to miss out on any challenges.
Celtic cross spreads consist of 10 card positions representing different questions, arranged in the shape of a cross, with a vertical row of four cards positioned to its right. Clarisse Monahan, an astrologer and tarot reader, says this spread helps you dig even deeper into a question than, say, a simple one- or three-card spread, which can help you find clarity and answers. This has a long history.
There are many types of tarot spreads, but the Celtic cross spread is without a doubt the oldest and most classic. Monahan says Arthur Edward Waite, the co-creator of Rider Waite’s Tarot Deck, took the first published reference to this tarot deck. This spread was used for many years prior in British Isles, according to his book The Pictorial Key (1910).”
In the OG tarot spread, 10 tarot cards are interpreted together in a reading, which can be overwhelming for some people, especially new readers. Monahan points out that a structured tarot spread, such as the Celtic cross, can actually be helpful because it systematically frames the querent’s (aka inquirer’s) questions. Tarot cards, such as the moon, take on a different meaning based on their position, so when the same card appears in a position that involves their environment, it can be easier to understand.
Would you like to try the Celtic Cross Tarot spread? Take a peek at this how-to, which includes a description of each card position and its meaning.
Tarot spread based on the Celtic cross
1. Focus on the question as you shuffle the cards
Monahan recommends shuffle the cards for Celtic cross tarot spreads while considering the question you want to focus the reading on. The focus can either be general or specific. Several specific questions can be asked, such as “Am I going to be chosen for this job?” or “How do I attract more abundance into my life?”
2. Lay out 10 cards in a Celtic cross
In Monahan’s opinion, after you have shuffled the cards enough, you should split the deck in three with your left hand. As you place each card in its section of the Celtic cross tarot spread as described below, choose one of the three piles and pull ten cards from it.
Card 1: The questioner
A Celtic cross tarot spread always starts with a card that represents the querent, or the person asking the question. The meaning and interpretation of any card that lands in this position will relate to the querent themselves.
Karte 2: The block
Celtic cross tarot spreads place the second card horizontally across the first card. Monahan says this card represents the obstruction preventing the querent from achieving their goals.
This is card 3: the root
Monahan says that the third card of the spread represents what is causing the block, the “root of the problem” or the unconscious energy that is grounding it.
Card 4: Recent past
Monahan says this card is found to the left of the center cards and represents recent events.
Karte 5: Possibilities
The fifth card of a Celtic cross tarot spread indicates opportunities that are available to you now. According to Monahan, the fifth card is above the center cards.
Card 6: Your destination
Your future is represented by the sixth card, which is located to the right of the center cards. According to Monahan, this card can also reveal the best and most efficient path to your desired outcome.
Card 7: How you see yourself right now
As the sixth card in a Tarot spread using the Celtic cross, a cross appears. Counting from 7-10, Monahan says the cards are read together, with the 7th card at the bottom and the 10th at the top. The seventh card focuses on how you see yourself, positively or negatively.
This is card 8: Your environment
This card, placed above the seventh card, Monahan says represents your environment, which encompasses friends and family who help and hinder you in different ways.
Greetings 9: Hopes and fears
Just about the eighth card in the Celtic cross tarot spread reveals how the querent feels, their hopes and fears regarding the situation. “It does not represent what actually will happen but more our outlook on it,” Monahan says.
Card 10: The result
“This card is not a definitive outcome, but it is a good indicator of where the energy is going.” We all have free will, of course, and the beauty of tarot is that you can change your approach in any given situation and lead to a unique outcome.
3. Customize the Celtic tarot cross spread
By arranging your cards in the spread and looking at their positions, you will be able to determine the meaning of each one. Monahan recommends that you check out other variations of the Celtic cross tarot spread to see which one resonates with you, though staying with the traditional layout can be helpful. You shouldn’t be afraid to personalize it. She advises playing with what each card represents until something feels right. “If you don’t vibe with the traditional interpretation, give it a try. Tarot is about being creative and embracing our intuition.
4. Pay attention to patterns and repetitions
Monahan says you should pay attention to patterns and repetition when reading the cards. A card repeated seven times, for example, may indicate stress and difficult challenges you must overcome to succeed. It may indicate that security and money are the main focus in a spread if many pentacles appear.
5. Trust your intuition
Tarot spreads are as much about your intuition as they are about the traditional meanings and positions of the cards. To help you focus on the right cards to zone into, Monahan suggests using your inner wisdom. It is possible to really be drawn to a card that is not the result card. “Follow your intuition, then put the pieces together using the structure of the cards to tell the story they’re trying to tell.”
As a final step, try to read a Celtic cross. Monahan suggests writing down your first impressions and then revisiting them later.
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