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The different types of spread of Tarot cards

In cartomancy, the spread is the tool that will help structure the interpretation according to the question asked and the type of response that we hope. This goes from the simplest: the cut that responds binary: yes/no, the more complex with, for example, a spread of 21 cards.

There is no absolutely strict rule to give any value to a card from a spread. There are of course "recommendations", examples, but everyone is free to give the meaning he/she wants to the location of each card, provided he/she sticks to it. For each Tarot reader, this can be “his”/”her” method but it must be constant in the practice of his/her discipline and not change these meanings according to his/her moods or expectations.

Beginners are often puzzled by a lay-out, which is why it is good to start on the basis of an existing method, even if he/she changes or refines it to his/her personal account.

There is no real ritual to spread cards, although many recommend mixing the deck, having the consultant cut it off, and asking the consultant to take the cards with his/her left hand.

The cut

This is the simplest and fastest spread: you mix the deck and have it cut by the consultant. The card that appears is the answer to the question. You can optionally cover it with another card to refine the interpretation.

Cross spread

This is by far the most common spread, the easiest and the most practical. It comes in several combinations :

Example 1
- The first card is on the left, this card symbolizes the consultant and his/her potential.
- The second card is on the right, it symbolizes the enemies, the obstacles, everything that acts against the consultant.
- The third card is at the top, it symbolizes the situation of the consultant.
- The fourth card is at the bottom, it indicates the evolution of the situation of the consultant in the future.
- The fifth card is considered the final answer, the synthesis. This last card can be spread as the others or calculated on the basis of the first four cards.

Example 2
- The first card symbolizes the question or the problem.
- The second card symbolizes everything outside the consultant: supports, means, enemies, obstacles...
- The third card symbolizes the consultant's expectations, his/her projects in relation to his/her situation.
- The fourth card symbolizes the evolution of the situation.
- The fifth card gives the answer or advice.

The spreading of the first name

This spread offers a balance sheet; it does not answer a particular question. The consultant spread as many cards as the number of letters in his/her first name. The first card indicates the concern; it draws attention to a particular point. Each card is then interpreted one by one, each containing its own message.

The spread in 3 cards

The cards are mixed and the consultant chooses three, the interpretation of which will give a tendency, a context and situate the problem in progress.

There are several variants of interpretations. For example :

Example 1
The first card symbolizes the consultant's question. It indicates his/her situation and his/her state of mind.
- The second card shows what the consultant is hoping for, the potential evolution of the situation.
- The third card indicates what the consultant should do, the solution of the problem, the outcome.

Example 2
- The first card symbolizes the emotional situation.
- The second card symbolizes the state of mind of the consultant.
- The third card symbolizes the work to be done to improve his/her situation.

The spread of the pyramid

There are several forms of pyramid spreading (lay-out). Here is, for example, the simplest spread: The consultant chooses six cards.

- The first card describes the consultant.
- The second card represents the past of the consultant, his/her potential, strengths and weaknesses.
- The third card shows the steps to take.
- The fourth card symbolizes the support and the enemies of the consultant, all that influences from the outside.
- The fifth card is the answer: the evolution of the consultant's situation in the near future.
- The sixth card shows the future situation of the long-term consultant.

The astrological wheel

The consultant chooses twelve cards that will represent the 12 classic astrological houses.
- The card or house 1 (Ascendant) describes the consultant, his/her temperament, motivations, state of mind.
- The card or house 2 represents money and material assets, financial wealth.
- The card or house 3 symbolizes siblings, the immediate environment, neighbors, colleagues and mobility.
- The card or house 4 (bottom of the sky) symbolizes the home, the family, the house.
- The card or house 5 describes the loves, the pleasures, the hobbies and the children.
- The card or house 6 talks about health, daily work, domestic chores.
- The card or house 7 (descendant) symbolizes marriage and associations, contracts, agreements, associations.
- The card or house 8 describes crises, losses, legacies, bereavements and sexuality.
- The card or house 9 symbolizes travel, ideals, advanced studies, knowledge and philosophy.
- The card or house 10 (middle of the sky) symbolizes the socio-professional life, the career, the ambitions, the social status.
- The card or house 11 symbolizes friends, projects, protections, expectations and hopes.
- The card or house 12 symbolizes trials, failures, secrets, the unconscious, spirituality.

Finally, there are countless other spreads :
- The spread in seven cards
- Horse Shoe
- The "coupettes"
- Celtic spread
- The yes or no spread
- The big cross

Choose your deck, test some spreads and get started !

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The meaning of the Tarot cards
- The Fool
- The Magician
- The High Priestess
- The Empress
- The Emperor
- The Hierophant or Pope
- The Lovers
- The Chariot
- Justice
- The Hermit
- The Wheel of Fortune
- Strength
- The Hanged Man
- The Nameless One
- Temperance
- The Devil
- The Tower
- The Star
- The Moon
- The Sun
- Judgment
- The World
The origins of the Tarot Learn about Tarology Different types of Tarot
What is Cartomancy ? Types of spread of Tarot cards All tarot articles