Best Tarot Spread Layouts


Best Tarot Spread Layouts

There are so many different tarot spreads out there. The different numbers of cards, layout designs, position meanings, and themes can sometimes be overwhelming to choose from so you may often find yourself wondering what the best spread would be for you to use.

The best tarot spread is one that fits your time-frame, experience level, and the theme of your reading. These factors along with your interest in a spread is what makes it the best choice for your reading.

Different spreads are useful for different things, so there is no one spread to rule them all. You should always consider how much time you’ve set aside to complete your spread, your level of experience, and what you are looking to take away from a reading when you are choosing which spread to use.

It is also important to remember that tarot is a highly individualized practice, so a spread that clicks with you and becomes your favorite may be one that another reader never uses because they dislike it.

Discussed below are some great spreads. Maybe one of them will become your new favorites.

I’ve also written a number of articles about different spreads for other topics. Scroll to the bottom to find more great spreads for love, relationships and more.

Before you start a reading, it’s really important to shuffle your cards and get into the moment. I wrote this article to provide details about how to shuffle your tarot cards.

It’s also important to create the right environment (ambience) for yourself to connect with your intuition, your cards and give the best reading. Here’s a couple of items on Amazon, that can help to do that:

Tarot Spreads That Answer Questions

There are lots of great spreads out there that can help you answer that question you’ve got burning in your mind. There are plenty of options to choose from to suit your needs and preferences.

I’ve written a couple of articles that can help you with interpretation of the cards your draw. Here are a couple of examples:

Five Card Question

Number of Cards: 5
Difficulty: Beginner
Description: Do any preparations you would normally do for a reading and shuffle your cards, then lay out five cards in a line from left to right.

  • Card 1 represents you and your present situation.
  • Card 2 represents the action (or lack there of) you should take.
  • Card 3 represents the obstacles that you may face.
  • Card 4 represents the outcome you will achieve.
  • Card 5 represents the impact that this outcome will have on you.

Notes: This spread is great for finding guidance in decision making. Since it has five cards it reaches a good balance between providing plenty of insight while not taking a very long time to complete.

Yes/No spread

Number of cards: 3
Difficulty: Simple
Description: Prepare for your spread the way you normally would and shuffle your cards. Draw three cards and lay them out in a line from left to right. As you turn up each card, interpret whether the card indicates a yes or no to your question.

Majority rules, so if two out of three cards are a yes, your answer is yes.

Notes: It can be very difficult to get a straight yes or no answer out of a tarot deck. Do not be discouraged if the outcome of your reading is “Yes if” or “No but”. If you don’t feel you have a straight enough answer from this spread, don’t hesitate to rephrase your question and try a different spread with a different format.

I wrote an article about doing yes and no spreads. Read that article here.

The Celtic Cross

Number of Cards: 10
Difficulty: Experienced
Description: Prepare for your reading and shuffle your cards. Lay out the cards in the format shown in the picture above.

  • Card 1 represents your current situation.
  • Card 2 represents your problem, or what is crossing you.
  • Card 3 represents the events or actions that have led to the current situation.
  • Card 4 represents the recent past.
  • Card 5 represents situations in the near future.
  • Card 6 represents what will happen as a result of these nearing situations.
  • Card 7 represents your current attitude toward the situation.
  • Card 8 represents outside influences.
  • Card 9 represents your hopes and fears.
  • Card 10 represents the overall outcome.

Notes: This spread offers a very in depth look at your current situation. The skill level is listed as “experienced” means that you should be comfortable working with a lot of cards if you choose to use this spread.

Below is an image of the Celtic Cross, thanks to my friend (who will remain nameless for now) for this beautiful photo!

Celtic Cross Tarot Spread on a wood table with candle and books in the background.  Image taken by Georgios Chatzistavrou.

I wrote an article the provides much more detail about the Celtic Cross Tarot spread, read that article here.

Tarot Spreads for Special Occasions

Tarot readings aren’t always for answering questions. They can be a fun way to celebrate special occasions and look ahead to the future.

Solstice/Equinox Spreads

Solstice / Equinox Spread

Number of Cards: 5
Difficulty: Simple
Description: Prepare for your reading and shuffle your cards. Place one card in the center, and the other four cards around it in a circle, creating a sort of cross shape. The card in the center is card 1, and the rest of the cards run clockwise starting with card 2 at the top.

  • Card 1 represents the overall theme of the season ahead.
  • Card 2 represents how you should interact with the darkness or light of the season.
  • Card 3 represents how you can find positivity.
  • Card 4 represents what you should leave behind in the previous season.
  • Card 5 represents what you should keep in mind as the wheel of the year continues to turn.

Notes: These spreads are a great way to gain quarterly insight about your life and what lies ahead. They are also a pleasant way to mark the changing seasons.

If you complete several readings consecutively, you might want to cleanse the energy and your cards, here’s an article that discusses cleansing your cards between readings.

Birthday Spread

Number of Cards: 5
Difficulty: Beginner
Description: Prepare for your reading and shuffle your cards. Lay out your cards with card 1 on top, then the other four cards from left to right below the first card.

  • Card 1 represents how you have grown in the past year.
  • Card 2 represents what sort of gifts you will receive.
  • Card 3 represents a gift that you can give others.
  • Card 4 represents something you should leave behind as you grow up and mature.
  • Card 5 represents a look at the year to come.

The Year Ahead

Number of Cards: 13
Difficulty: Intermediate
Description: Set up for your reading and shuffle your cards. Draw 13 cards.

Place the first card in the center, then place the other 12 cards in a circle around the first card like numbers on a clock. The card in the center represents the overall theme of your year.

Each of the other cards represents a month of your year. January sits in the 1 o’clock position, February is 2 o’clock, and so on.

Notes: While this is a great spread to use to ring in the new year, it can be used at any time of year.

If you are not doing the spread at the end of December/beginning of January, simply state that your 1 o’clock card represents the next appropriate month and go through the year from there.

Thematic Tarot Spreads

You can read tarot for insight on just about any topic. You can find spreads focusing careers, money, and any number of interesting topics.

Finances Spread.

Number of Cards: 3
Difficulty: Simple
Description: Prepare for your reading, shuffle your deck, and draw three cards. Place your cards in a line from left to right.  

  • Card 1 represents your financial strengths.
  • Card 2 represents your financial struggles or shortfalls.
  • Card 3 represents the actions you should take in order to play to your strengths and overcome your struggles.

Notes: You could change the meaning of the cards in this spread to make the spread concern your financial goals, how to achieve them, and things to look out for along the way if you are already aware of your strengths and weaknesses.

Career Spread

Number of Cards: 5
Difficulty: Simple
Description: Set up your reading space and shuffle your cards. Draw five cards and position them in your preferred layout.

  • Card 1 represents what you are passionate about.
  • Card 2 represents the areas that you excel in.
  • Card 3 represents possible ways to combine your passions and strengths.
  • Card 4 represents any hidden factors.
  • Card 5 represents the steps you can take to make your dream career a reality.

Notes: It can be so difficult to choose a profession that speaks to you, but you may already know what you want to be doing. If this is the case, you could adapt this spread to only have three cards.

Card 4 and Card 5 would become cards 2 and 3 and have the same meanings, and Cards 1, 2, and 3 would be combined into Card 1, representing “the work I want to be doing”.

I wrote an article about best tarot spreads for career, read that here.

Create Your Own

5 Card Custom Tarot Spread Layout

Number of Cards: Your choice
Difficulty:  Experienced
Description: Up to you!

Sometimes you may have a topic for a reading in mind but run into trouble tracking down just the right spread for the reading.

If you are comfortable with your cards and have developed an understanding of how different tarot spreads work, there is no reason you can’t create your own spread.

A custom spread will be tailored to your own beliefs and practices so each card can represent exactly what you want it to in order to find the insight you’re looking for.

A “create your own” spread can be an adaptation of another spread you’re familiar with, or it can be something completely new and unique to you.

Both with custom spreads, or any of the spreads discussed above, the most important thing is that you are happy and comfortable with the spread you’re choosing to use.  

Free Online Tarot Reading

If you are interested in getting a quick reading, this website will provide you with a couple of free options:

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