‘Tarot card spreads’ refer to the way individual cards used with any Tarot pack in a reading are laid out in a pattern on the table.
Though many people use only the simple Tarot card spreads which are explained in the instructions which come with a deck, there are many ways of laying out Tarot cards, and the one you use should be carefully chosen.
Why are the Tarot card spreads you use so important? Surely it is enough to be familiar with the meaning and significance of each Tarot card, and to use this knowledge to build the reading, whatever the spread might be?
This is completely wrong, and I’m going to tell you why.
Consider this scenario: you have your pack of Tarot cards, you are familiar with each card, and a friend or relative who is going through a rough patch in her life suggests you do a reading for her. So you agree. You’ve heard that any spread you use will do as well as any other, so you sit at a table, and after shuffling and cutting the Tarot deck you lay out a simple line of seven cards or you use the Celtic Cross method from the instructions. You talk about each card as it is turned over, and give a reasonable reading. At least you think you have.
What will you have missed by doing this? You can probably see right away some of the possibilities you have lost here, but I’ll list some for you:
1. A dynamic and really meaningful reading, based on a range of cards each representing the past, present and future. You really need more than one card representing each period in the life of your subject to allow your insight and intuition to develop as you give the reading. Most generic spreads don’t allow this.
2. A structure for the reading based on the needs of the querent (the person you are doing the reading for). If you have access to a range of Tarot card spreads, you can select one to use which fits the needs of the reading – whether it be the answer to a particular question, the future of a romantic relationship, how to change current circumstances, or the likely course of the querent’s life. ‘One spread fits all’ is just not true.
3. The development of a true skill. By learning to use many Tarot card spreads, you are really learning to use a valid method of relating to a querent and gaining insight into their life and possible future which is hugely different from doing a mechanical party trick. By using many spreads regularly, the potential of the cards will be revealed to you, and your ability to get to the heart of the querent’s life will grow stronger. In addition, you will soon be able to devise new spreads which fit your own personality and method of giving a reading.
4. Really helping the querent. How impressed would you be if you went to a psychologist for a course of treatment, and she gave you exactly the same inkblot test every time? You would reckon that she had a limited repertoire of skills, and that you would be unlikely to get any real help from her. Many people you are doing readings for will respect the help and guidance you are able to give them, and will return for more readings and insight into their changing circumstances. You owe them your best, and that includes the mastery of many Tarot card spreads.
I hope you have seen the benefit of going the extra mile and learning or devising some new Tarot spreads. It’s not that hard to do, and the rewards are huge!