Similar: Major Arcana, Minor Arcana

You’ll often hear Tarot readers talk about a spread or a layout.

A spread is a pattern in which the cards are placed as they are taken from the deck and put onto the table to be interpreted by a Tarot card reader. There are as many different spreads as there are readers—in fact, whole books are dedicated to just this! Spreads can be as simple as a one-card draw, to very complex and involved patterns using all 78 cards.

The most popular spreads are probably the 3-card spread and the Celtic Cross.  There are astrological spreads that reveal a bit about timing; there are past life spreads that bring you hints of what happened in previous lifetimes; there are karmic spreads that help you to understand a bit about your circumstances and how to bring things back into balance, and more. 

All Tarot cards will have an upright and a reversed position. Upright (or dignified) means that the card is the “right way up,” and reversed (also called inverted, challenged, contrary, or ill-dignified) means that the card is upside down. This alters the meaning of the card, and it will also influence the way that the card’s position in the spread will be interpreted.

Different Tarot readers often design their own unique spreads.

Some other popular Tarot spreads: 

  • Birthday spread
  • Celtic Cross spread
  • Dream exploration spread
  • 5-card spread
  • 5-fold kiss spread
  • Four corners spread
  • Hand of fate spread
  • Karmic spread
  • Last supper spread
  • Mandala spread
  • Planetary spread
  • Rainbow bridge spread
  • Relationship spread

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