Spreads

Tarot SpreadsTo perform a Tarot reading, the Tarot deck is typically shuffled by either the subject or a third-party reader, and is laid out in one of a variety of patterns, often called "spreads". They are then interpreted by the reader or a third-party performing the reading for the subject. These might include the subject's thoughts and desires (known or unknown) or past, present, and future events. 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.
Some common spreads are:
Celtic Cross
This is probably the most common spread. Ten cards are used, with five arranged in a cross and four placed vertically beside the cross. Another card is placed horizontally across the central cards of the cross to make a total of 10. The first central card of the cross is frequently the significator and the second card which is placed over the first represents the conditions surrounding the question; or the crossing card often represents an obstacle they must face, an aspect of the question they have not yet considered. The third card which is placed above the first represents what the person hopes for in relation to the question being asked. The fourth card which is placed below the first is what the subject has already experienced in relation to the whole spread. The fifth card is placed to the left of the first card and shows what was in the past. The sixth card is placed to the right of the first card and shows the influence that will come in the future. Then on the right of these cards are the remaining 4 cards, which are placed from bottom to top. So the seventh card represents the attitude of the question being asked. The eighth card is how family or friends will influence the question. The ninth card shows the hopes and fears in relation to the question and the final card, the tenth card, is the Culmination Card which shows the end result of all of the previous nine cards.

Horse-shoe
Another very common question asking spread. Seven cards are arranged in a semi-circle or 'V' shape. The cards, from left to right, represent the past, present, influences, obstacles, expectations, best course of action and likely outcomes.

3-card spread
Three cards are used, with the first representing the past, the second the present, the third the future.

Astrological spread
Twelve cards are spread in a circle, to represent the twelve signs of the zodiac. A thirteenth card is placed in the middle; often the significator.

1-card spread
It should be noted that a single card can constitute a spread.

Tetractys
Ten cards arranged in a four-rowed pyramid. Each row represents earth, air, fire or water and each card within the row has a very specific meaning. The single card in the top row is the significator.

Star spread
This star starts in the lower left part and follows the star pattern. (1)-what you see (2)-what you can't see (3)-what you can change (4)-what you cannot change (5)-what you can expect.

The Mirror Spread
This Spread works primarily on existing relationships, but can assess anything from a budding love affair to an established partnership. It will often reveal inconsistencies between viewpoints. Obstacles will sometimes produce very positive cards. The Probable result card is drawn with circumstances as they currently are - but if changes recommended by the reading are effected, then this final card can change.

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