Spreads In Tarot – How Cards Are Used In Tarot

So, what are spreads in Tarot?

Spreads are patterns of cards.

You have 78 cards in tarot, but not each and every card is used to answer a query or give a reading.

So, we either use:

  • one card
  • two cards
  • three cards
  • up to any number of cards like 14, 21 cards

and arrange them in a certain fashion and then give an answer to a query.

Spreads in Tarot

Out of the 78 cards of tarot, we have to choose and select a few cards and place them in a certain pattern to answer a given query.

These are called spreads.

Tarot cards

There are a huge variety of spreads.

You can research these, and even make your own new spread also.

Each spread is used for a certain specific query.

We have a past present and future spread.

  • We have a relationship spread.
  • And a horoscope spread.

If you select three cards in a three card spread, the first card tells about the past.

The second card tells about the present and the third card tells about the future.

So you can see how by using spreads, you can make the answer more specific.

You can get into the details and answer the question.

So let’s get started.

Single Card Spreads

Our first spread is a single card spread.

Single card spreads are sometimes also used in yes and no tarot.

There are certain cards which are very positive, and they signify a yes.

And there are cards which also signify a no.

If you want to get a very quick reading of something, you can just select only a single card, and you have to then relate that card to the query.

Sun tarot

So this single card spread is quite popular for beginners who are very new to tarot.

They generally go for a single spread where you have to just take out a single card from that deck.

And then relate that card to that person and to that query while understanding the message that the universe wants to convey to you.

What is the answer that the universe is trying to give to you for that query?

So single spreads are very easy, but they are at the same time, very difficult.

This is because to employ a single card spread, you need to have a very tight hold on each and every card.

You need to understand what each and every card means.

You must have developed the skill to relate that card to the query and give the reading.

So the single card spread is the basic and the most simple spreads of tarot.

Two Card Spreads

Now, we have a two card spread.

Here, we take two cards, or we tell the person to select either two cards from the tarot deck.

Now, the first card has a set of meanings and the second cards has some different set of meanings.

Justice tarot 11 fool








The first card can tell you what the situation that this person is facing.

And the second card can tell you why he or she is facing that.

Imagine if someone comes and asks you, “Will I get that job?”

So the first card will tell whether they will get that job or not.

Yes or no.

And the second card will tell you why they will get the job or not.

So the second card, it adds another layer to that reading and gives you the answer of why.

It is generally used to dive deeper into the query, dive deeper into the answer and provide new insights.

If something is going to happen, then why it is going to happen.

And if it is not going to happen, then why it’s not going to happen.

Three Card Spreads

Now, the next is spread is the three card spread.

Three card spreads are one of the most common spreads; after single card spreads.

Three card spread

So in the three card spread, either you take, or you tell the person to take three cards from the deck.

Generally, the first card represents the past, the second, present, and third future.

Other meaning are like this:

If you want to ask about mind, body, and soul, then the first card tells about the mind, the second, about the body and the third the soul.

And if one wants to know what their life purpose is and other such questions, then…

The first card signifies the personality of the person.

The second card signifies what needs to be done, what action needs to be done, what steps need to be followed.

And the third card tells what they will get; their destiny.

More Interpretations of Three Card Spreads

Another interpretation is that the first card represents a person’s situation.

It represents what kinds of circumstances or situation the person is facing.

And the second card represents what sort of actions need to be performed.

And third card represents what will be outcome of those actions which would be performed.

So it is a very common spread and to master any spread what you need to do is repeatedly practice.

You need to learn to connect the spread with the card and further connect that card with the person.

The Five Card Spread

Now, we have the five card spread.

It is a bit complex.

As the number of cards increases, the spread will become more and more complex, because you have to interpret those cards in a very fixed fashion.

Five card tarot spread

The first card here represents the past.

So you have to know what any card represents about the past, what it represents about the present and what it represents about the future.

This five card spread is also used for yes and no tarot.

With a single card spread, you will just have one single card and it can be either positive or negative.

But here, you have five cards.

Any of which can be a positive or negative card.

And you have to see those cards in total, and then give the reading.

So the card first and the second represent the past.

The first represents the things which happened deep into the past.

The second, the card represents the recent past.

Third represents the present.

The fourth presents the near future.

And the fifth represents the far future, a very long range reading.

So the two and four are short-term readings and one and five are long-term readings.

So once you become an expert in single, double and triple spreads, you can use the five card spread to dive deeper into the query and deeper about the readings.

The Nine Card Spread

Now, we have this nine card spread.

The nine card spread may seem a complex, but actually it is not.

It goes deeper into the consciousness and into the mind and into the feelings and into the emotions of that person.

So the first three cards of the upper row represent aspirations.

What are a persons aspirations, dreams and goals?

The second represent the conscious.

Consciousness means what they’re feeling in their mind.

Peace of mind

What is going on.

The ideas that are going on

What plans are there?

And the third represents the subconscious.

It is the hidden part of the mind, the unrevealed part of the mind.

So this represents the hidden side of the things.

The columns are past, present and future.

So it is a very good form of tarot reading because in this reading, you can confirm the reading by giving predictions about the past of the person.

If you employ the nine card spread, then you can tell, “Okay, in the past you were thinking like this.

You had these aspirations and deep into your mind, you felt like this.”

So that person now can relate to it and say, “Yes, I felt like that.”

Or “No, I didn’t feel like that.”

Then further, you can also confirm the present circumstances of that person, like at present these are these situations are you facing or not?

These are your thoughts, or these are your aspirations and what do you want to achieve in future?

What are your aspirations?

Your goals?

What are your plans?

So it is a very good form of tarot reading.

It is a very good spread and it is generally recommended to use a nine card spread.

Relationship Spreads

Now we have relationship spreads.

They employ 10 cards, so each card in the relationship spread has a different meaning.

So the first card represents the past history of the relationship.


The second card represents your past experience.

The first card tells what are the things that happened.

The second card tells that what happened, like what were your feelings with respect to the past of the relationship?

The third card represents your partner’s past experience, how you feel about the past of the relationship.

The fourth card represents your current experiences in the relationship.

The fifth card represents your partner’s current experience in the relationship

And the sixth card represents your relationship all together.

The complete picture of the relationship at the present.

Then further, card seven to eight represents you and your partner’s expectations with respect to the relationship.

The ninth is where the relationship is headed.

It is improving or there is improvement in the relationship or the relationship is going down the drain.

And the 10th is the overall outcome.

It is the sum total of all the nine cards and tells you what will be the overall outcome of the relationship.

Whether it’ll be fruitful or not.

The Celtic Cross

Next, we have the Celtic cross.

This is another ancient spread, which is used in tarot astrology.

The Celtic Cross Tarot spread

In the Celtic cards, the first signifies your personality, you can say.

Your general atmosphere and the second card which crosses the first card represents your support, like who are the people supporting you?

What is the quality of their support?

The third represents your past.

It also represents what your focus was.

What were the things on which you were focusing in the past?

The fourth presents your past in general.

The fifth represents your strength.

The fifth card will represent what your strengths are.

Are you emotionally strong, intellectually strong, or you are monetarily and financially strong.

The sixth represents your near future.

The seventh is the general suggestion.

Like the universe is giving you a suggestion; do this to achieve success.

The eighth presents what you need to know.

Like, what are the things on which you need to work upon?

What are the lessons you need to learn?

The ninth presents your hopes and fears.

What are the things you fear the most?

Do you fear failure, or you fear anything else.

The tenth represents your potential future.

Like what will be the future outcome of your activities?

The Zodiac Spread

Now, we have the zodiac spread.

It is a very complex and a very advanced stage tarot spread.

In this tarot spread, we take 12 cards and which represent the 12 signs of astrology.

Astrology card

Each card represents another sign, like each and every card in tarot represents certain sign in astrology and then we compare whether there is compatibility between the two signs or not, and what is the overall result.

So it is one of the most complex and advanced tarot spreads.

The Mandela Spread

Finally today, we will introduce the mandala spread.

This is also a zodiac based spread.

But it also represents the direction, like the upper part represents north, south, east, west.

So it represents your life altogether.

You can divide the lifespan into 12 parts and then say:

“Okay. During your childhood, these were the circumstances.

These were the situations you faced in your youth.

You faced these circumstances in your adulthood.

And in your old age, in your mid age, these were the circumstances.”

So this is how the mandala spread is used.

It is another very advanced stage tarot spread.



Spreads In Tarot: A Summary

So, we you can see, there are numerous spreads in tarot from basic to more advanced.

We hope you enjoyed learning about them and if so, please share this post with anyone you feel would find it of value. Other than that, feel free to follow us on Facebook or subscribe to us on YouTube.