The Celtic Cross is one of the most commonly used spreads in tarot readings. It consists of a 10 card lay-out in the form of a Celtic Cross (equal armed cross in a circle) and a staff.
You will find some variations among different tarot readers. These variations are generally found in the order the cards are placed or read, or in the interpretation of the card’s placement. This article describes one version of the Celtic Cross, but don’t be surprised if another article, or a book or person, uses a slightly different method. Likewise, don’t be afraid to change something if you feel you can personalize the spread for yourself, thereby making it more meaningful for your own use.
The significator card simply represents the client. It should be chosen first and can be done by having the reader going through the deck and choosing a specific card that the tarot reader feels represents the individual. Place the card face-up in the center of the table. Often readers will use the client’s zodiac sign based on the elements of Air, Water, Earth or Fire.
Once you have chosen your significator, your client has formulated a question, the cards have been shuffled and cut, you are ready to lay out the cards. The cards should be placed as follows:
Position 1: On top of the significator. It represents what influences the client.
Position 2: Placed on top of the card in position 1. It represents what affects the influence and is always read in the upright position.
Position 3: Below the card in position 1. It is the subject of the reading.
Position 4: To the left of the card in position 1. It represents the recent past, what is leaving the client.
Position 5: Above the card in position 1. It represents the near future.
Position 6: To the right of the card in position 1. It represents the long term.
Position 7: To the lower right of the card in position six. It represents how the client views him/herself.
Position 8: Above the card in position 7. It represents the external forces that the client has little control over. This can be how others view the seeker or the situation, or that which is surrounding the seeker.
Position 9: Above the card in position 8 and shows the client’s hopes or fears.
Position 10: Above the card in position 9. It reveals the ultimate outcome of the situation if the client continues on the current path. Remember, this possible future can be altered if the client does something to change the path.
If you have the cards in the correct positions, you will be able to see on the left that you have the cross (positions 1 and 2), surrounded by four cards (positions 3, 4, 5, and 6) which represent the circle, next to four cards in a vertical row (positions 7, 8, 9, and 10), which represents the staff. You may choose to place all of the cards face-up from the beginning of the reading, or you can place them all face-down, and turn them over for interpretation one at a time. Again, the choice is yours. Do what feels right to you.
When you are shuffling the cards, or when you are laying out the spread, pay particular attention to cards that seem to “jump” or fall out of the deck. Usually, these cards have something specific to say regarding the issue at hand. They could indicate another person or another issue that is closely tied to the seekers situation, so much so that it is influencing the events at hand.
Put them aside for the moment, and examine them when interpreting the reading.
PUTTING IT TOGETHER
Think of a reading as telling a story. The story starts with the client’s current state (position 1), and what may be the biggest current problem (position 2). Next, go into what has propelled the client into that situation (positions 3 and 4). Examine how the seeker feels about the current situation (position 5). What is in store for the seeker next (position 6)? What will be going on inside of the client at this time (position 7), and what will be going on around him/her (position 8)? What are the main expectations or concerns (position 9). Finally, if things go unaltered, what will be the result (position 10).
Remember, the future is not set in stone. The cards are a great tool to help us decide our plan of action in order to obtain the desired result. They don’t rule us, or make things happen to us. Give an honest reading, and you can help a number of people with the Celtic Cross spread.