Introduction To Tarot Reading And Interpretation

Reading Time: 9 minutes
Tarot Reading 3 Card Spread

Introduction to Tarot Reading and Interpretation

In this day and age, mindfulness and meditation have become important lifestyle skills. You need to engage in them frequently if you want to nourish your emotional and spiritual wellbeing. One effective way of nourish the mind and body is by tarot reading.

Not only does it help to find clarity and guidance for yourself but also for others. However, before you can fully tap into your intuitive abilities, you have to understand the meaning of each card. For instance, a card such as The Wheels of Fortune is designed for use as the wheel of time and karma. It’s a fortunate and optimist card that means a good thing.

A tarot spread simply involves the physical layout of the card for interpretation. There are numerous types of card spreads ranging from relationship to astrological to Celtic cross spread among others and below is an overview of how tarot spreads work.

About Tarot Card Spreads

A spread is the arrangement of tarot cards in a particular sequence. Often time, people think that it requires special skills to read tarot cards. The thing is that tarot reading is special but also personal. So, learning it isn’t a straightforward way i.e. not in the manner you would do when you are in school.

For you to effectively read a tarot sequence, it’s important to understand the basics. Understand that the position of each card in a sequence usually relates to a certain element of the situation at hand, leading to a likely answer or outcome.

The Interpretation of Different Tarot Cards Based on Positions

Once you have laid out the cards, then you have to interpret the meanings based on their positions and the positions of the neighboring cards. Let’s take a look at some of the spreads.

The Single Card

This is the simplest spread ever! For a beginner, a single spread provides the best way of familiarizing with card spreads. You need to simply draw a single card from the deck intuitively. You should do this preferably at the start of your day.

The single card will help you to know how your actions, focus, and direction for the day will be oriented. If you can, go ahead and place the card in your pocket, on your desk, or a special place. Furthermore, you can decide to create a journal of the cards you will be pulling and then record their meanings. This way, it will be possible to determine how they informed your day.


A card-a-day is a single spread that simply works as its name suggests. You need to simply pull a card every day and then ask about the type of energy you need to focus on. It’s important that you focus on this energy throughout the day for it manifest.

When drawing this card, make sure that you make a note about the type of the card and how it made your intuition to feel. Are there some forms of systems or symbolism you noticed? Did the message on the card reflect what you felt during the day later on?

A 3-card Spread

From a one-card spread, you should graduate to a 3-card-spread. This card can work for you or the querent i.e. the person you’re reading the tarot for has a specific issue and need guidance or clarity. A 3-card spread highlights the following:

  • Card 1: it normally relates to past events or activities that could have led to the present situation.
  • Card 2: it relates to the present situation
  • Card 3: it relates to the possible future outcome of the current situation


The three-card overview above is designed for the past, present, and future. However, you can also go for this alternative. It’s ideal when you are dealing with frustration or if you need clarity regarding your next steps.

Just like the past-present-future spread, you need to lay these cards from left to right. So, the middle card will be the challenges card. What’s the problem you are trying to resolve?

On the other hand, the card on the left represents your blessings. This is where you will find help. Lastly, the card on the right represents action and it will determine your next steps. It’s basically your “answer” but it normally works with the “blessings” card.

Note: in some instances, a 3-card spread may also involve a situation-action-outcome spread.

No Spread, Tarot Spread

If you are a beginner, this may sound strange. But well, a no card spread is also a spread on its own. In this case, you need to pull your three cards and then lay them in front of you. However, they should be laid in no particular order.

Each card should simply act as the support for other cards. This simply means that the individual cards add some form of meaning to the overall reading. What we can say is that each card is a piece on its own and it has the answer you are seeking.

Clarifying Cards

Regardless of the spread you choose, in some instances, you might be required to pull an extra card. Well, this is called the clarifying card. The additional pull is designed to offer more information or an extra context for your current spread.

Note: be careful when pulling out an extra card and go with what your intuition tells you.

Overview of the Celtic cross Spread

It features 10 positions with the card in position two, overlapping or crossing the card in position one. Well, here’s an overview of different card positions and what they represent:

  • Card 1: The Present- This is the card in the first position and it represents what’s happening to the querent currently. It also highlights their state of mind and how they are thinking about the present situation.
  • Card 2: The Challenge – it lies on top of card one in a slightly tilted position. This card represents the immediate challenge that the queen is facing and it’s what they need to resolve. In case you draw a positive card in this position, you should still consider it a challenge.
  • Card 3: The Past – It represents previous events that led to the buildup of the present situation. Card 3 is immediately on the left of Cards 1 & 2.
  • Card 4: The Future-the card represents what’s likely to occur to the queened in the next few months/weeks. This is simply the next step from their present moment and it represents what’s to come next. It’s on the right of Cards 1 & 2.
  • Card 5: Above- the card reflects the aspiration and goals of the querent. It’s also an indicator of the best outcome regarding the situation based on what the querent is consciously working on. It’s above Cards 1 & 2.
  • Card 6: Below – It reflects the querent’s subconscious and how it has contributed to the present situation. Card 6 may highlight underlying trends and feelings that affect the querent’s driving force. In case they are not connected to their inner self, then this card might surprise the querent. It’s below Cards 1 & 2

Note: Cards 7 to 10 are all located on the right side of cards 1 to 6. These cards are in a “list” with card 10 on the top and card 7 on the bottom. Cards 8 and 9 are sequentially in between.

  • Card 7: The Advice- it considers the happenings in the querent’s life and offers the appropriate advice to address those challenges.
  • Card 8: External Influences – it highlights the events, people, or energies that might affect the possible outcome of the querent’s question. Note that the querent can’t control these external influences.
  • Card 9: Hopes/Fears – it’s one of the difficult positions to interpret. This is because hope and fear are usually intertwined. What you fear could what you hope for and vice-versa. This is why sometimes the tarot reader may be forced to draw a second card for clarification.
  • Card 10: Outcome – It’s the final card in the Celtic cross position. It reflects the final situation and if the issue will be successfully resolved.

Here’s how the Celtic Cross appears:

  • Row one: Draws of 4 and 10
  • Row tow: Draws of 5,2,1,6, and 9 (draw 2 should be laid cross-wise on top of 1)
  • Row 3: Draws 8
  • Row 4: Draws 3 and 7
Celtic Cross Spread in Tarot Reading
Celtic Cross Spread In Tarot Reading

A Brief Summary of the Celtic cross Positions

1- the current issue or current focus

2- what supports or opposes the current issue

3- (at the bottom) it highlights the root of the present issue or focus

4- (either to the left of 1 and 2) it indicates what’s moving into the past

5- indicates the desired goals or the outcome that the seeker wants

6- (usually to the right) it shows what’s moving to the present

7- (at the bottom right) it highlights the current energy of the seeker

8- (next up) – it highlights other factors like the environment or people

9- (next up) what the seeker should know

10- the likely outcome


When it comes to tarot interpretation, the meaning of the card doesn’t have so much influence. This is because the cards normally change meaning depending on context and their relation to each other. This means that one card number may have multiple meanings but the meaning doesn’t lie on a single card itself. Its position in relation to others and type of the spread is what matters.

How to Effectively Interpret a Tarot Spread

You need to have some level of intuitive insight in order to effectively read a tarot soared. There’s no better way to tap into your intuition. Tarot reading offers deep spiritual or practical matters regarding your day-to-day issues. Here’s how to effectively go about it:

Create the Right Space

It’s the first and most important step. You just don’t pick the cards and shuffle them. If you are going to consult these cards, then you need to create a sacred place for them. But how do you this?

Space isn’t just physical but also mental. Create an emotional space where you set a clear mindset. Let go of any anger or drama that you have been holding on. It’s good to open your mind and allow it to feel and discover new stuff via card reading.

It’s also important to create a spiritual space. You can do this by setting your intentions ride. If you can, call universal energy or angels to help read the tarot cards.

Get To the Heart of the Question

“What do I really want to know? “This is the first question that you should ask yourself after clearing a spiritual and emotional space. It could be, “Do I need to continue with this relationship or not? “How can connect more authentically to myself?”

These questions are not based on doubt but on hope. It’s not like “Will this relationship even work?” Find a clear way to get right into the heart of the question. Be curious but also open to getting any results. You can even go ahead and write the question down.

Choose the Layout

From the overview above, you have been given three types of reading spreads. You have to start with the simplest as a beginner and then gradually enhance your skills with more readings. For instance, a 3-card tarot spread can involve:

  • The past, present, and future
  • The situation, action, and outcome

Note: you can always create your own tarot spread depending on the guidance you’re looking for. Besides that, you can just draw a few cards and analyze what comes from them. Just make sure that the layout or spread you are choosing has some form of alignment with your needs.

Lay Out the Cards

Shuffle the cards while channeling all your energies into reading. In your mind, you should also focus on the question at hand. When you have shuffled and you are ready, go ahead, and spread your card to prepare for a reading. Ensure that you lay them side by side with face up and from left to right.

Go Ahead and Read the Cards

It’s the crucial step and the most fun! So, carefully go through the cards, reading from left to right. While doing so, make sure that you interpret each one of them. But how do you effectively read the cards?

Well, you can start by simply looking at the card and then try to pay attention to the type of energy each card is giving out. Make sure that you take note of every dispensed energy that you receive. It’s also important to take a look at the pictures and then describe the details to yourself.

But while it’s important to know the traditional meaning of each card, you should focus more on the position. This is because the same cards can still be used to deliver different meanings.

Find the Answer to Your Question

After going through all the cards in the spread, go back to your original question. Has the spread layout answered your question? Remember, don’t allow yourself to get carried by the probable meanings of every card in the spread.

Reflect on Your Reading

It’s important to reflect on how your reading has been. In addition to that, it’s important to write down your findings. So, that when you do a similar spread in the future, you can compare the notes.

Practice Every Day

Your tarot reading skills will only be refined if you take time to practice. Even though you might pick up the reading quickly and naturally, understand that practicing will improve your skills. You can choose a card to meditate daily. Take time and analyze how its imagery speaks to you. If you have a tarot guide book, compare what you feel against the information in the book.

Have Fun

Tarot interpretation can be overwhelming at first. To some newbies, it may be something that’s time-consuming. But it’s important to have fun because you need to enjoy the reading sessions. If you can, make sure that you start by choosing a card that represents you.

Use these cards in spreads and then ask questions while this card is in the middle. Do the cards that you pull thereafter represent something that you know or that you hope is about to happen?

The Bottom Line

Reading a tarot spread as a beginner can be hectic at first. However, this is something that is important in providing clarity and guidance not only for yourself but also for others. However, you need to familiarize yourself with the cards and then the layout.

Once you are ready to move from a single-card spread to multiple-card spreads, you will find that there are infinite ways to create a layout of your tarot cards. A tarot reading can be an effective tool for self-care. So, make it enjoyable and engaging and you will gain massive benefits from it. Don’t forget to exercise on a regular basis in order to grow and nourish your intuitive abilities.