Tarot Layouts


There are many different layouts for the Tarot.

Perhaps the best know and most widely used is The Celtic Cross layout. It is excellent for getting information on the next few months of your life and what may be occurring and what it is most important for you to know about the time period the reading is for.

NOTE: This reading can be done for virtually any period of time with the most common being 1 month, 3 months, 6 months or a year. It is important to determine before you shuffle the cards and layout the reading that time period the reading is for.

Here are the 12 positions for a Celtic Cross reading:

To begin, start shuffling the deck as you think of the time period you’re asking about…it can be helpful to imagine the months of a calendar going by as you shuffle.

Once you feel you’re done shuffling (3 to 10 times) place the deck in your right hand. Then fan them out and hand pick the card that is to become the issue (#1) of the reading with your left hand. Place that card on the table in front of you. Then the deck into 3 stacks and then restack them in whatever order intuitively feels right. Next turn the cards over from the top of the now shuffled and cut deck in the order given below placing them in the format given on the Celtic Cross form here.

You can download a blank form for the Celtic Cross layout here.

1. The Issue (aka the significator) – This is the most important card in the layout as it indicates the primary topic, area of energy during the coming period. All other cards in this layout relate specifically to this card and what it represents.

2. The Cover – this card gives additional information about the issue card, clarifying how we hold or see the issue. It also helps us to clarify what aspect of the issue card we are to focus on.

3. Cross/Bridge – this is the only horizontal card in the reading and indicates our resistance to the issue at hand. It can also be that once we accept the energy or lesson of this card it can be our bridge from the past to the future, or that which helps us to grow and move along.

4. Crowning position – this is the “best that can be achieved in this matter”. If we work with the energies indicated in the reading, we can thus achieve the message of gift of this card once we have completed the phase indicated in the reading.

5. Base of the Matter – this is the energy that set up the current issue. It can be helpful to know just what brought us to this point.

6. The Past – this is the card that indicates what transpired just prior to this time that had a significant influence on the issue at hand. It is often helpful to remember this and keep it in mind so as we do not have to repeat it again.

7. The Future – this is the next step or phase as it relates to the issue. A key card in getting a feeling for what is around the corner. and will help to bring in the next phase of the issue.

8. The Self – this card is one of the two cards that represents the self in this reading/matter (the other being the Ego card…more on that later). This position is the inner self. That part of us that is often just below our conscious awareness, but that once we hear about what this card represents, we recognize this aspect of ourselves. It helps us to understand how we personally relate to the issue at hand.

9. The Home/Environment – this card indicates what is going on in our home and/or environment as it relates to the issue of a reading. It gives information about the impact of the issue in our environment.

10. The Hopes and/or Fears position – this is a most telling placement of this layout as it gives insight into how we are relating to the issue from a more mental perspective. I have found that what we think about something is a most important component to dealing with it, and that we have either inner hopes for or fears of the issue represented in the reading (hopes being a more positive card and fears being a more challenging card).

11. The Outcome – this card gives us an indication of where things are going with regards to this issue, especially at the end of the time period for the reading. It is helpful to get a feeling for the direction things are moving towards. It is also an indication of the next cycle and what we might expect at that time.

12. The Ego – this is the other self card. While the Self position mentioned above is our inner, more subconscious Self, the Ego card represents the part of us that we do have a fuller awareness of. We often easily relate to what this card is telling us. It is also how others see us as it relates to this issue. I find that by incorporating both of these energies, we can get a good picture of how both your inner and outer selves are relating to this issue.

Daily-Weekly Spread

Here’s another layout I like and use often and is a great way for you to become familiar with the Tarot. Basically you choose five cards daily or weekly (depending upon which you’re doing) to represent the day or week ahead.

To do this, sit quietly at the beginning of the day (or on the same day each week) with your deck. Shuffle focusing on the coming day. Then fan out your deck, holding it in your right hand. Then with your left hand pull the following 5 cards asking these questions:

1. What is my highest focus for the day?

2. How will the physical realm support my highest focus?

3. How will my mind (i.e. thoughts, ideas, attitudes, etc.) support my highest focus?

4. How will my emotions (feelings, moods, etc.) support my highest focus?

5. How will the spiritual realm support my highest focus?

I suggest that you write some brief comments about what happened that day. You may want to record these readings as well as your impressions in a special Tarot journal. You could also read about what the cards mean from a book and make some notes in your journal.

© by Elizabeth Jones. All rights reserved.
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