Tarot Spreads and What They Mean for Your Reading

From tarot spreads for beginners to tarot spreads for advanced readers, this blog will show you exactly what tarot card spreads are and what they mean for your tarot reading.

What are tarot spreads? 

Put simply, tarot spreads are the way that tarot cards are laid down during your tarot reading - in effect, the patterns in which they are placed. 

There is a huge selection of tarot card decks you might use for your tarot card spreads, including the immensely popular Rider-Waite deck, and they may have designs such as the Castillian pattern, Franco-Spanish pattern, national pattern, or even themed on your favourite TV show. 

The decks will usually contain examples of what is known as a Major Arcana tarot card.  

Major Arcana cards

In a standard 78-card pack, there are typically 22 Major Arcana cards. 

These Major Arcana cards are numbered cards that have a detailed picture of a symbolic event. For example, the tenth card (stylised X) has the symbolic picture of the Wheel of Fortune

On the other hand, The Fool is typically an unnumbered card, or numbered zero (stylised 0). 

the fool tarot card

How do tarot spreads affect your reading? 

The way that your tarot cards are spread depends on what information you are trying to find. 

If you are looking for insight into a financial situation or how to get out of the funk of life in retrograde, for example, you wouldn’t want to choose a tarot spread that focusses on your sex life

In this sense, the tarot spreads not only affect card readings, but must be a well-informed, conscious decision you must think clearly about before undertaking any reading. 

The spread you choose will dictate the answers you get, as well as the clarity and accuracy of your tarot reading. 

How to read tarot card spreads

Different tarot card spreads are also read in different ways, too. If you are looking for a quick ‘tarot spreads for beginners’ summary, the cards are laid in a specific order and then read in the order that they are laid down, with each card representing something different. 

If you are a complete beginner and wondering how to use tarot cards full stop, firstly shuffle the deck. Then place your hand atop and take deep breaths, clearing your mind, getting rid of any negative energy, thinking about the question or situation at hand, and manifesting that you will get an answer to your question. 

Some readers will then take the number of cards from the top of the deck, whereas others might fan out the deck and ask the querent to choose the cards that feel ‘right’. 

Practice makes perfect, so start small and work your way up to the harder tarot spreads. 

Interested in a tarot reading? Ask a psychic

If you are unsure how to read tarot card spreads, we recommend getting the help of a professional reader, all from the comfort of your couch on your mobile phone. 

That said, let us take a look at some of the most popular tarot spreads - from basic spreads and tarot spreads for beginners to how to read tarot card spreads as an advanced reader, and even how to use tarot spreads as experienced tarot readers. 

What are some of the most popular tarot spreads? 

Whether you do your own tarot reading or employ the intuition of a professional reader, there is a choice of spreads available that’ll inform your reading.

One Card Spread 

Simple is sometimes better, and it doesn’t get much simpler than this. The key here is to narrow down your biggest questions into one, focussed question - often one with a yes or no answer - before turning over the single card to reveal the answer to your question. This is perfect for those with busy lives. 

Three Card Spread 

The card position for a three card spread is 3 cards in a straight horizontal line. There are three options when it comes to what each card means, and the one you choose depends on the knowledge you wish to gain: 

Option 1: Past, present and future 

Option 2: Situation, obstacle and advice 

Option 3: Mind, body and spirit 

tarot three card spread

Five Card Spread 

Add two additional cards to the above for a five card spread. However, this time, either arrange them in a cross or a rectangle. What configuration you choose determines the meanings of the cards, as listed below: 

Cross arrangement: Past, present, future, reason, potential 

Rectangle arrangement: Present situation, external influences, challenges, outcome, lesson to be learned 

Celtic Cross 

The first and central card is placed, with the second laid rotated above the centre card - the crossed cards make a small cross. The third, fourth, fifth and sixth card are then laid to form a larger cross. The seventh card, eighth card, ninth card, and tenth card are then placed to the right of the cross going upwards. 

The meanings of each card are as follows: 

Present (your current situation)



Past (essentially your life story)


Near future

Internal influence (attitudes and experience)

External influences

Hopes and/or fears

Probable outcome 


Horseshoe tarot card spreads are fantastic for when you need to make a decision. Seven cards are arranged in an upside-down V shape. From left to right, this is how to read horseshoe tarot card spreads:





How others affect life choices

Hidden influences 

How to resolve the current situation


This uses twelve cards, one for each sign of the Zodiac. Thus, each theme card represents the core value of each sign, helping to question yourself and set personal goals. Arranged in an O shape, the card meanings are below:  

Aries - identity

Taurus - traditions and values

Gemini - love

Cancer - focus and safety

Leo - confrontation

Virgo - emotions and inner wisdom

Libra - fairness

Scorpio - release

Sagittarius - balance

Capricorn - temptations

Aquarius - heart’s desire

Pisces - hidden thoughts 

Why are tarot cards used? 

Tarot cards can help the reader to advise the querent about a specific situation, or about overarching issues in their lives. The cards and questions asked can build insightful pictures into what the universe is telling you and what might be to come. 

Tarot cards have been used for divinatory purposes since the mid 18th century, and continue to be a popular spiritual practice in the present day. Even in the digital age, traditional spiritual practices can help to solve modern problems - just now, you have the added benefit of being able to do it over the phone, text, or even email

If you have a question in mind, a difficult decision you need to make, or simply need some spiritual guidance, book your tarot card reading today from one of Psychic Sofa’s experienced tarot readers, or get in touch to find out more.  


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