The term “Spread” in the tradition of Tarot means the pattern in which the cards are laid out to address a question.  In a spread, each card position addresses a specific aspect of the question; for example, one card might represent the “Past” circumstances of the issue, another might represent the “Present” circumstances of the issue, and yet another card might represent the “Future” circumstances of the issue. 

When purchasing a boxed Tarot deck, in most instances the little booklet of instructions that comes with the deck will suggest certain spreads. The Celtic Cross spread pictured is a classic, but the use and availability of different spreads is literally infinite, and there are many books on the subject of spreads.

There are those readers who consistently use only one spread. There are a couple of advantages to that practice:  (1) the reader will always know how best to formulate a question to suit the spread (see last week’s blog); and (2) the reader has a chance to learn how the cards are read in the different positions of a spread that they use all the time.

Some readers have become familiar with the use of several different spreads in order to accommodate the type of question posed.  Spreads can even be designed specifically to suit a particular question.

There are some readers who like to use every single card in the deck in a spread, and other readers who prefer to do only one-card readings.  This writer finds that “less is more” but that more than one card is better.

In the following weeks, we will explore the advantages and uses for spreads using 1 card, 3 cards, 5 cards, 7 cards, and 12 cards.

For more information about Hermetic Astrology, Tarot, and Alchemy, classes and activities, please visit our website


About letstalktarot

Allyn McCray began reading Tarot in 1971 after discovering a deck in an occult shop in San Francisco, California. In 1999, the American Tarot Association recognized her as a Certified Tarot Reader. During her experience as an Internet reader between 2000 and 2002, Allyn’s readings were regularly featured on the websites, Psychicnut and Roadtalk. In 2002, Allyn joined The Church of Light, aka Light.Org, a non-profit international school of esoteric studies, where she is now a Hermetician, Certified Teacher, and Minister. Allyn also serves as the Communications Director of The Church of Light and is a Section Advisor in The Order of the Sphinx.
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