The Celtic Cross Spread

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The Celtic Cross Spread

Lay your cards out as shown in the diagram to use the Celtic Cross spread. Image by Patti Wigington 2008

The Tarot layout known as the Celtic Cross is one of the most detailed and complex spreads used. It's a good one to use when you have a specific question that needs to be answered, because it takes you, step by step, through all the different aspects of the situation. Basically, it deals with one issue at a time, and by the end of the reading, when you reach that final card, you should have gotten through all the many facets of the problem at hand.

Lay the cards out following the number sequence in the picture. You can either place them face down, and turn them as you go, or you can place them all facing up from the beginning. Decide before you begin whether or not you will be using reversed cards - it generally doesn't matter if you do or not, but you need to make that choice before you turn anything over.

Note: In some schools of Tarot, Card 3 is placed to the immediate right of Card 1 and Card 2, in the place where Card 6 is displayed on this diagram. You can try different placements and see which works best for you.

Card 1: The Querent

This card indicates the person in question. While it's typically the person being read for, sometimes messages come through that refer to someone in the Querent's life. If the person being read for doesn't think this card's meanings apply to them, it's possible that it may be a loved one, or someone who is close to them professionally.

Card 2: The Situation

This card indicates the situation at hand, or the potential situation. Bear in mind that the card may not relate to the question the Querent is asking, but rather the one they should have asked. This card usually shows that there is either a possibility for a solution, or obstacles on the way. If there is a challenge to be faced, this is often where it will turn up.

Card 3: The Foundation

This card indicates factors that are behind the Querent, usually influences from the distant past. Think of this card as a foundation that the situation may be built upon.

Card 4: The Recent Past

This card indicates events and influences that are more recent. This card is often connected to Card 3, but not always. As an example, if Card 3 indicated financial problems, Card 4 might show the Querent has filed for bankruptcy or lost their job. On the other hand, if the reading is generally positive, Card 4 might instead reflect happy events that have taken place recently.

Card 5: Short-Term Outlook

This card indicates events that are likely to take place in the near future - generally within the next few months. It shows how the situation is going to develop and unfold, if things progress on their present course, over the short-term.

Card 6: Present State of the Problem

This card indicates whether the situation is on its way towards a resolution, or has stagnated. Bear in mind that this is not a conflict with Card 2, which simply lets us know whether there is a solution or not. Card 6 shows us where the Querent is in relation to the future outcome.

Card 7: Outside Influences

How do the Querent's friends and family feel about the situation? Are there people other than the Querent who are in control? This card indicates external influences that may have an effect on the desired outcome. Even if these influences don't effect the outcome, they should be considered when decision-making time rolls around.

Card 8: Internal Influences

What is the Querent's true feeling about the situation? How does he or she really want things to resolve? Inner feelings have a strong influence on our actions and behaviors. Look at Card 1, and compare the two - are there contrasts and conflicts between them? It's possible that the Querent's own subconscious is working against him. For example, if the reading relates to a question of a love affair, the Querent might truly want to be with her lover, but also feels she should try to work things out with her husband.

Card 9: Hopes and Fears

While this isn't exactly the same as the previous card, Card 9 is very similar in aspect to Card 8. Our hopes and fears are often conflicted, and at times we hope for the very thing we are afraid of. In the example of the Querent torn between the lover and the husband, she may be hoping that her husband finds out about the affair and leaves her, because this lifts the burden of responsibility from her. At the same time, she may fear his finding out.

Card 10: Long-Term Outcome

This card reveals the likely long-term resolution of the issue. Often, this card represents the culmination of the other nine cards put together. The results of this card are usually seen over the course of several months to a year, if all involved stay on their present course. If this card turns up and seems vague or ambiguous, pull one or two more cards, and look at them in the same position. They may all join together to provide you with the answer you need.

Other Tarot Spreads

Feel like the Celtic Cross might be a bit much for you? No worries! Try a more simple layout like the Seven Card Layout, the Romany Spread, or a simple Three Card draw. For one that provides more detailed insight, but is still easy to learn, try the Pentagram Layout.


Try our free Introduction to Tarot study guide! Six lesson plans will get you started with the basics of Tarot!

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Your Citation
Wigington, Patti. "The Celtic Cross Spread." ThoughtCo, Oct. 8, 2016, Wigington, Patti. (2016, October 8). The Celtic Cross Spread. Retrieved from Wigington, Patti. "The Celtic Cross Spread." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 24, 2018).