List of Several Tarot Spreads
Compiled by Nina Lee Braden
Number of Cards Name of Spread
9 Dancing Maidens
7 Medicine Wheel
3 Moving On
15 Creating a New Relationship
15 Enhancing a Relationship
6 Relationship Path
Blessings Spread by MAGE (Adolph Lopez), using 3 cards.
Blessing Spread based upon an old Navajo legend
| The sun rises in the East and sets in the
North | West. We awaken to the rising sun which
| brings to us KNOWLEDGE and we reflect with
West East | the setting sun on the WISDOM we've acquired
| These are only the things of man and those
| who need more must journey North into the
Sig | heart of the night where reside the MYSTIC
| or esoteric forces that surround & guide us.
Sig: Significator = may be a card or an object
1st position = East
2nd position = West
3rd position = North
This is one of my favorite spreads and it is extremely
versatile, more so than you would expect. It is good for
holidays, birthdays, celebrations, beginnings, endings,
blessings, and greetings.
Here are the meanings of the positions for the 5-card Seeker
spread (meanings my own, based on comments by Robin Wood and
1 The question itself. This card helps to define the question
and sets the tone for the whole spread.
2 The background. This card describes the past environment,
background and overall situation which have =led up to= the
question--both the question itself and the reason that the
question is being asked.
3 The seeker. This card represents the querent in the
situation at hand. It may show many different aspects of the
seeker, but all/any of them relate specifically to the question
that prompted this spread. Often, it gives a clue as to the
querent's strengths or weaknesses that will affect the outcome
of the situation. In other words, if it points to a strength,
that strength will be a key in the situation. If it points to a
weakness, that weakness will also be a key.
4 The environment. This card represents the impact of the
outside world on finding the answer to the question. It
represents the present, as opposed to the past of position 2.
This card points to places to look for advice and counsel and
also reflects the importance and place of family, friends, co-
workers in making the decision.
5 The answer. This card tells you what step you should take
for the question/situation--provided that it is interpreted
Rachel Pollack's Work Spread, 9 cards:
Here is a brief description of the spread:
Card 1, Cover card which covers the Significator (if chosen)
Card 2, Card crossing to make a small cross, similar to Celtic
Together, these two cards show influences upon the situation or
starting point, often opposing, but not always. Pollack calls
them inner and outer aspects of the situation or Center and
In a straight line below the small cross, 7 cards are dealt
out, left to right.
Card 3 = Past Experience
Card 4 = Expectations (similar to Hopes and Fears)
Cards 5-7 = Work: situations, influences and attitudes to be
used and/or overcome, ways of creative possibilities--these
three cards are read together, with no one card having an
Card 8 = Outcome, or what will happen
Card 9 = Result, or the reaction to the Outcome
This is an interesting and useful variation on the Celtic Cross
and is good for ongoing concerns. It uses one less card than the
Celtic Cross, however, and gives a slightly different focus.
Dancing Maidens spread by MAGE (Adolph Lopez), using 9 cards,
plus an optional significator.
1 5/S 9
1: Self in the Past
2: What you Saw
3: What you Heard
4: What you Felt
5: Self in the Present/Significator underneath if using one
6: What you will See
7: What you will Hear
8: What you will Feel
9: Self in Process of Becoming
Mage says that should picture cards 1, 5, and 9 as being on the
line of the horizon. 2, 3, and 4 are above the horizon and
easily discerned. 6, 7, and 8 are below the horizon and unknown
to us at the present moment (card 5). It is based on a Navaho
legend, and is a =beautiful= spread.
This is an excellent spread for introspection and opening up new
ways of thinking and breaking out of mental ruts and blocks.
Relationship Spread, based on Mary Greer's spread from _Tarot
for Your Self_ and using 3 cards
The relationship spread (as modified by me) has three
1) What is the nature of this relationship?
2) What is the problem between X and me?
3) What is the means to resolving the problem, or,
if it is currently unresolvable, what is the block
preventing the resolution?
In these readings (all three variations), the card on the left
is the questioner's view, the center card is the problem or
resolution or relationship itself, and the right hand card is the
perspective of the other person in the relationship.
This is an extremely simple spread, but one that has often
proved to be extremely powerful, offering excellent insights into
relationships. It works for all sorts of relationships, not just
Medicine Wheel Spread, 7 cards
There is more than one spread called the Medicine Wheel. This
is a description of the one from the booklet that comes with the
Medicine Woman deck.
Here is what the Medicine Wheel looks like:
7 DEVOTIONS 1 5 CHANNELS
Card 2 slightly overlaps card 1, and card 3 is horizontal,
slightly touching the bottom of card 2.
This is what the author, Carol Bridges, has to say about the
4 North: Preparation. Empty and make room.
5 East: Energy channel. Envision and be filled.
6 South: Aim and direct. Speak for yourself.
7 West: Devote time with utmost love.
1. You as you are currently experiencing yourself.
2. The bridge you are now crossing.
3. That which will be experienced when the bridge is crossed.
4. The purification needed or taking place (if you choose to
cross the bridge and desire the experience on the other side).
The preparation or emptying stage often relates particularly to
Earth, resources, and/or your relationship to having material
5. The creative focus needed or taking place, especially in
regard to self-expression; the vision or fantasies that guide
you and fill you with enthusiasm for life.
6. That which must be scrutinized for its benefit to or
interference with your goal. Direct your thoughts and words,
aiming affirmatively toward the achievement you desire.
7. That which you must act on with devotion and to which you
must give your most unselfish love. This is the ritual or
disciplined offering you must make in order to reach your full
potential in the area in question (to cross the bridge to reach
the experience depicted in card position 3).
This spread is a very positive, learning spread, as indeed the
whole Medicine Woman deck seems to be, but the spread can be done
with any deck. It seems to be a good spread for future actions
and decisions and for journeys inward.
Moving On Spread, 3 cards
This spread is described in the booklet that comes with the
Medicine Woman deck. It is good for clarifying thoughts on the
present and on helping to choose actions for the future.
Three cards, arranged in a line, left to right:
1. The way you see your present condition.
2. The act affecting and holding the situation.
3. The attitude that will raise the situation to a higher level
and be most beneficial to all concerned.
Creating a New Relationship:
a spread by Gail Fairfield
This spread calls for 12 cards and an optional additional 3
adding up to a potential 15 cards. When studying the
illustration, begin at the bottom. Fairfield says, "The bottom
line represents the status quo." This is a spread of balances,
where one weighs the pros and cons, the benefits and
disadvantages of having and not having.
13 14 15 Probable timing of arrival of the "other"
================ <---- reshuffle cards
11 12 Next steps to take
08 09 10 Key qualities to maintain/express in self
05 06 07 Key qualities to seek in the other
---------------- <---- reading may end here
03 04 A way to satisfy : A way to satisfy
the same need the same need
01 02 Reason to create : Reason not to create
a relationship a relationship
Draw the first four cards and if you like what you see just end
the reading there, if you should do the complete spread be sure
to reshuffle before drawing 13, 14, and 15.
This spread has two companion spreads, Enhancing a Relationship
and Ending a Relationship. For more on all three spreads, see
Fairfield's article "Creating, Maintaining and Enhancing
Relationships" in NEW THOUGHTS ON TAROT ed. Mary Greer and Rachel
This spread is designed to help you =create= a new relationship.
If you already have a relationship that you want to enhance or
improve, the Enhancing a New Relationships spread is best.
Enhancing an Existing Relationship:
a spread by Gail Fairfield
This spread calls for 12 cards and an optional additional 3
adding up to a potential 15 cards. When studying the
illustration, begin at the bottom. Fairfield says, "At the
bottom, it asks 'What's the reason why the relationship exists
this way right now?'" This is a spread of balances, where
one weighs the pros and cons, the benefits and disadvantages of
changing and not changing.
13 14 15 probable results for self : other :
(13 = self, 14 = other, 15 = relationship)
09 10 11 12 Request of the "other"
(9-10 are Requests of the other for change. 11-12 are requests
of the other for behavior to add.)
05 06 07 08 Request of the self
(5-6 are Requests of the self for change. 7-8 are requests of
the self for behavior to add.)
---------------- <---- reading may end here
03 04 A way to satisfy : A way to satisfy
the need the need
01 02 Reason for change : Reason for Status Quo
Draw the first four cards and if you like what you see, just
end the reading there, if you should do the complete spread
cards 05-06- 09-10 represent current behavior to change and cards
07-08-11-12 represent new behavior to add.
Fairfield says, "it's important to remember that creating a new
relationship or having a relationship evolve is always a choice."
To her, it is important to say, "I choose to act this way, to
respond this way. I am not just sliding into things" (my
She also cautions that sometimes what is needed to enhance a
relationship is not worth the cost. You have to decide what is
most important to you, yourself, the other person, or the
relationship, and make your decisions based on that.
The Gill Layout, 10 cards
This is a ten card spread that is described in the booklet that
comes with the Gill Tarot deck. This spread emphasizes spiritual
guidance, and it is based on the Tree of Life spread, although
simplified. For helping a person take a "inner checkup," this
spread is hard to beat. Here are the positions of the cards:
In this spread, you begin with card 10, and read backwards to
card one. No author is listed for the booklet that comes with
the deck, which is where I found this spread, but I quote, at
length from this author who may or may not be Jo Gill. "By
working back from 10 to 1, you are travelling from the external,
physical self to the depths of the psyche."
Card 10, "You at present, within your physical body and external
circumstances. The traditional virtue of the tenth position is
discrimination; the vice is greed or avarice."
Card 9 "represents the subconscious and shows what lies behind
the situation--what is not immediately obvious. Expect hidden
motivations, deeply buried worries. The virtue is independence;
the vice is idleness."
Card 8 "is the position of the mental functions, communication,
learning, mental agility. The card in this position will
indicate what is affecting your mind most strongly at the time,
or the way in which you use your mind. Truth is the virtue;
dishonesty is the vice."
Card 7 "is the seat of the emotional or desire nature. Paired
as it is with number 8, the mind sphere on the Tree of Life, it
shows that much rationalization and false reasoning can be the
mind's attempt to adjust to the driving force of the emotional
nature. The virtue is unselfishness; the vice is lust."
Card 6 "is the heart center....Its virtue is devotion; its vice
Card 5 "will show from which direction or in which way the
revolutionary part of the self operates. It does not have to be
a violent or destructive element, as habitually busy people may
need to calm down in order to face themselves and change
direction, but it is traditionally associated with fear, as we
all feel most comfortable behaving in a familiar way. It can
also indicate a previously unrealized behavior pattern which is
operating in a destructive way in the enquirer's life. Its
virtue is energy or courage; its vice is cruelty or
Card 4 "can be seen as your center of stability, how you 'rule
your own kingdom," the four-square base from which you operate.
It can also indicate where you 'stick,' too comfortable or
complacent to move forward. Its virtue is obedience to higher
guidance; its vices are bigotry, hypocrisy and gluttony."
Card 3 "is the sphere of the feminine principle. The card here
can relate closely to the actual relationship that the querent
has with his or her mother, and the way in which this is now
affecting him/her. The feminine pattern infuses everything we
believe we are and how we experience the world. As this is a
situation into which we are born, one could say it is one of the
basic formations of our life journey. The virtue is silence; the
vice is avarice."
Card 2 "relates to the masculine, outward moving side of the
self. This can relate to the actual father of the
querent...However, as the mother sphere is the first sphere of
limitation or formation, the father sphere represents a
condition before the limitations of form, and is therefore
associated with...the querent's spiritual aspirations. It can
also indicate what you worship or aim for on other levels.
There is no vice for this sphere; the virtue is devotion."
Card 1 "is the alpha and omega, the beginning and the ending.
In the layout it indicates the root cause and gives the pattern
to the reading. Its virtue is completion; there is no vice."
Spiritual Spread by Nancy Garen
This is a description of the Spiritual Spread which calls for 8
cards. Nancy Garen has more about it in her _Tarot Made Easy_
book. It is quite useful for looking at your reasons and
Here's the layout: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
1 Where you are now, or that which concerns you
2 What is the force or motivation behind your desire
3 What is the underlying problem
4 What you need to understand and that you're not aware of
5 What you need to do to come to terms with your problem
6 What's the best way to proceed in order to carry out
the advice given
7 Spiritual guidance concerning your future
8 Your ultimate attainment
If you are doing this spread for yourself, the instructions are
to shuffle in between each draw. For instance, you would draw
card one and set it aside, then you would take the remainder of
the deck and reshuffle and draw card 2. You do this until all 8
cards are drawn. For drawings here on the board, these
instructions would not, of course, apply.
Jung spread, 7 cards
Adapted from Sasha Fenton's _Tarot in Action_
Fenton says of this spread that it "is the best way I know of
identifying a matter of inner conflict."
2 & 3
1 4 & 5
6 & 7
1 The Questioner in the here and now.
2 & 3 The anima. The needs of the inner subjective,
intuitive, subconscious self. The Moon self, the dream self,
feelings. Sometimes how you think you should feel and act.
4 & 5 The animus. The needs of the outer objective, rational,
conscious self. The Sun self, the acting self, behavior. Outer
reactions in the here and now.
6 & 7 The child. What the questioner really wants and needs
out of life. True inner desires. The path to resolution of
conflicts between the anima and animus by integration.
Goal Spread by James Wanless, using 5 cards
First, choose a goal. Then, you shuffle and fan your cards face
down. You are going to randomly pull five cards that will tell
you What You Must Do in order to Achieve Your Goal. Do not turn
your cards over until you have pulled all five. Do not deal the
cards; instead, choose them from the fanned-out, face down deck.
As you choose the first card, think about what you must do
mentally to help yourself to achieve your goal. As you choose
the second card, think about what you must do emotionally to help
you achieve your goal. As you choose your third card, think
about what you must do physically, bodily to help you achieve
your goal. As you choose your fourth card, think about what you
must do spiritually to help you achieve your goal. And, as you
pull the fifth card, think about what you must do on a worldly,
mundane or practical level to help you achieve your goal.
Now, this exercise is designed to give you knowledge. Once you
have that knowledge, it is up to the individual to act upon that
You may lay the cards out in any fashion that you please. In
order of their drawing, they are
What I must do mentally to achieve my goal.
What I must do emotionally to achieve my goal.
What I must do physically to achieve my goal.
What I must do spiritually to achieve my goal.
What I must do practically to achieve my goal.
This spread is very good for specific goals. It is very
Whole Self Mandala Spread requiring 10 cards
This is a spread developed by James Wanless. I have adapted it
partly for simplification, partly because Wanless explains it one
way in the booklet that goes with the Voyager deck, another way in
the New Age Tarot book, and yet another way in his video tape.
I've modified it slightly and put it into my own words.
In the deck booklet, Wanless says, "A mandala is a circular,
symmetrical, symbolic portrait. This layout is a mandala of the
Whole Self because its positions provide a picture of your
mental, emotional, and physical states, your Archetypal
character, and your masculine and feminine energies. These six
positions reveal the state of your being. Circling your inner
self is the condition of your external world, including the state
of your finances, work, home, and relationships."
To begin the spread, first, separate the deck into the Major
and Minor Arcana. Lay the Minor Arcana to the side for now.
Then, shuffle the Major Arcana, and fan the cards out, face down.
In this spread, as in many of Wanless's spreads, you pull a card
at random or by intuition from the spread out facedown deck.
Thinking about the archetypes in the Major Arcana and how they
relate to your life, you pull a card, face down and place it at
the center of your reading. This is your core archetype that
centers this reading. It is your spirit, who you are now.
Next, put the Majors back with the Minors and shuffle well.
Then fan all of the cards face down. Thinking about your mind,
choose a card from the deck. Place it in the mind position,
still face down. Thinking about your emotions, choose another
card. Place it face down, slightly below, yet overlapping with
the Archetype card. Thinking about your physical state, choose a
card. If you look now at the diagram, you'll see that the Mind
card is on the top, where your head is. The archetype and
emotions cards are in your chest cavity, where your heart and
lungs and other vital organs are. The physical card is in the
place of your legs.
Next, thinking about the female aspects of your life, choose a
card. By female, Wanless means what you draw to you and what
your passive magnetic traits are. Place the card representing
your female aspects face down to the left. Thinking about the
masculine aspects of your life, choose a card and place it to the
right. By masculine, Wanless means that which radiates out from
you, that which you actively emit. Now, turn all 6 cards over
and study them.
After you are done studying these cards, leave them in their
positions. Take the remaining cards and divide them into four
stacks. Designate one stack as the Finances Stack. Fan it out
above the Mind Card, face down. Designate another stack as the
Work stack. Fan it out, face down, to the right of the Male
Designate another stack as the Home stack. Fan this out, face
down, to the left of the Female card. Take the remaining stack
and fan it out face down below the Legs as the Relationships
Now, choose one card from the finances arc and turn it over.
Choose one card from the Work arc and turn it over. Choose one
card from the Home arc and turn it over. Choose one card from
the Relationships arc and turn it over.
The first six cards are your inner self. The second four cards
are your worldly or outer self. Study the differences between
them and see what the relationships between the cards have to say
to you. Remember, in Tarot, the most important thing is, "Does
it make sense?"
2 Head, Mind
| 1 Archetype, Spirit, Major |
9 5 Left, Female 6 Right, Male 8
Home 3 Heart, Emotional Work
-- 4 Legs, Physical --
This is a good spread for birthdays and anniversaries, but it
can also be used for specific questions.
The WISH Spread, using 15 cards:
This spread and variants of it may be found in several older
Tarot books. The Wish spread is used to determine if some wish
will be realized. First, choose a significator to represent the
one making the wish and place it face up in the center of the
spread. As you deal the remaining 15 cards of this
spread, place them face down.
As you turn over cards 1-3 (left), say "This is what surrounds
you." As you turn over cards 4-6, say "This is your wish." As
you turn over and read cards 7-9, say "This is what opposes you."
Then turn over cards 10-12 and say, "This is what comes to your
home." Finally, turn over cards 13-15 and say, "This is what you
06 05 04
03 02 01 15 14 13 09 08 07
12 11 10
The 15 cards, in 5 groups of 3 cards each form a cross. The
first group (cards 1-3, to the left) surrounds you--this is the
environment. The top group (cards 4-6) is your wish--this
represents all aspects of your wish, including your feelings
toward it. The next group (7-9, on the right) opposes you and
the bottom group (cards 10-12) comes to your home. This
"comes to your home" part is hard to explain, but it means that
this is what really affects you about the wish, deep within your
home, inwardly in your bodily home and also in your literal home.
The center and last group is what you will realize--this is what
will happen and what you will learn.
The 9 of Cups is the WISH-CARD and if it appears in the spread
you are certain to get your wish, but if it shows up in the
opposition (9-8-7) you will not get your wish. The closer the
WISH-CARD is to the 1st card position the sooner your wish will
come true. If no WISH-CARD but the reading is favorable then you
still stand to get your wish.
Wanless's Card a Day (one card spread)
One of my favorite Tarot teachers, James Wanless, recommends a
card a day as the best single way to learn Tarot. You draw a
card a day, and you let that image imprint your day as either an
affirmation or a challenge or a lesson for the day. (Note: this
card is not a prediction for the day.)
It is important to learn to read and relate Tarot to our daily
lives, more important than to learn to read spreads, so I
recommend that all beginners begin with "a card a day, every
day." The Card a Day is something that all of us can do. It
takes no special study or training. Often a day is to
busy or hectic for a full spread, but rarely is a day too hectic
to draw just one card. I practice a Card a Day in my own life
and have found it invaluable.
Here are the steps (paraphrased, except where noted) that
Wanless recommends when doing the Card a Day:
1) Randomly select a card in whatever way you have come to feel
2) Study the picture. Study the symbols. Examine the card
3) Ask yourself, "How does this card apply to me?" Wanless
says, "Symbols like cards are vehicles for talking with yourself.
The face meaning of the card is unimportant compared to your own
personal reaction. Cards are simply catalysts for
self-understanding through self-dialogue. Always make
the cards make sense for you. Otherwise they have no value.
Making sense of the cards comes through seeing how it could
possibly apply to your life" (from _Voyager Tarot_ by James
Wanless). Make even the so-called negative cards work for you
in some way.
4) Envision how you will use the truth of the card in your life
for the day.
5) Give the truth a physical reinforcement by a ritual or
symbolic action. This may be very brief and simple. In fact, it
may be best if it is brief and simple.
6) Decide on a way to share your truth for the day with others.
7) At the end of the day, review how you have lived the truth
of your Day Card.
Relationship Path Spread, 6 cards
I designed this spread with an assist from Patsy Haggerty and
from studying other relationship spreads. I was trying to get
the maximum amount of information into the fewest possible cards.
This spread can be used for a romantic relationship or any other
1 3 5 4 2
1 = How you see the other person
2 = How the other person sees you
3 = How you see the relationship
4 = How the other person sees the relationship
5 = Something about the relationship that the querent needs to
6 = Where the relationship is going
Three Card Rune Spread
This spread is based on a Rune card spread found in Ralph Blum's
_The Book of Rune Cards_.
You shuffle the cards and divide them into three piles, face
down. You turn over the top card on each stack and read them
right to left. (According to Blum, Rune cards are always read
right to left, but if you are using Tarot cards, I suppose that
you could read from left to right if you wished and if you
renamed your piles.)
The first card (right stack) is The Overview.
The second card (middle stack) is The Challenge.
The third card (left stack) is The Course of Action Called For.
If the reading does not make sense at first, leave the cards out
overnight and look at them again in the cool light of dawn in
order to gain another perspective.