Tarot for the Modern Reader
Using and Creating the Right Spread for Every Reading
Using and creating the right spreads is not as tricky or daunting as it sounds. As a matter of fact, by the time you reach the end of this post, I think you’ll be ready and excited to create your own!
***This is the fifth article in our Back to School Series, a collection of 6 posts all designed to help you with your practical reading skills! It presumes you already know how to choose, buy and care for a deck (if not you can visit this post So you want to be a Tarot Reader); and that you have at least a basic working knowledge of each card, even if it's just recognizing the card and knowing a few keywords for each. This series is all about the readings!***
Let’s first talk about USING the right spread. There are A LOT of card spreads out there. In today’s digital world, one cruise through Pinterest or Instagram can put dozens of spreads at your fingertips within minutes!
Yet for the average reader, when we want to do a card reading, we often feel our only option is to either do a basic 3 card spread, or whip out the granddaddy of them all, the good old 10 card Celtic Cross.
Before the explosion of Tarot on the internet and in social media, most readers were limited to what they could find in books. This included the Celtic Cross, usually a 5 or 7 card horseshoe spread, a million and one ways to use a 3 card spread, and a few other basic staples that have been floating around since the dawn of time.
Today’s Spread Choices
Nowadays, all of these spreads you find on the internet are very specific. The "Find Your Soulmate” spread, the “What is He Thinking” spread, the “Unlocking Your Potential” spread. Those are just a few examples you’ll find on Pinterest right now! These spreads are very specific.
Most of the spreads on social media are super fun to do for yourself when you come across them. For example, you may decide that "Chakra Clearing" spread is just the thing you want to do for yourself when you see it!
But most of the time, when we have a specific question that we want an answer to, none of those hyper-specific spreads are a good fit. And if you want more than your basic 3 card throw without going all into a 10 card granddaddy spread, what’s a reader to do?
Using and Creating the Right Spreads
Whether you find the right spread to use, or you create one yourself, depends on a few factors. First of all, are you reading for yourself or someone else? Are you doing the reading live in person, or was the question sent to you ahead of time? Is there even a question? It all really just comes down to some thoughtful consideration and planning. Let’s break these down. The box below takes you through a walk-through of the most popular spread I've created. You can download it and use it as an example.
Sometimes there is not a question, but an event. A new moon, an astrological transit or another event that we want to capitalize on the energy of. For these, I like to create a custom spread. This isn’t as daunting as it sounds. First I like to sit down and think about what exactly I want to know. I flesh out the exact questions I want to answer.
A Real Life Recent Example
Here is an example from a spread I created last month. The planet of inspiration, change and unexpected surprises, Uranus changed direction from retrograde to forward motion, then made a positive aspect first to Venus, then Mars and finally the New Moon, all in a span of a few days. To determine how to make the most of all of this potent Uranus energy, I devised the following questions:
- As Uranus changes direction, what area of my life is up for positive change?
- How will Uranus' meet-up with abundant Venus bring me more positive surprises in LOVE or MONEY?
- How can I use Uranus' meeting with Mars to take inspired ACTION on something important?
- What NEW BEGINNING in my life this month will Uranus lend his inspiration to for an exciting burst?
Each question was linked to each of the aspects, and the information was in alignment with that planets energy (Venus = love and money, Mars = action, New Moon = beginnings).
So this wasn’t complicated, it just took a little bit of careful consideration. This is great when you are reading for a specific event or reading for yourself. You have plenty of time to come up with whatever you want.
The other thing that's great about this is that you can create a specific spread, and then market that spread itself. For example, advertise that you will be doing your specific reading as your special for the month. In January you might want to create and promote a spread such as "New Year, New You" or "Achieving Your 2019 Goals". February might bring "Finding Your Soulmate". You can create a signature a spread and offer it only at certain times of the year.
Reading for Others
It gets tricky in our minds when we are reading for someone else in real time. But almost everything goes better when we actively plan ahead. We often find ourselves getting stuck with the same old same old in the moment, because we don’t take the time, OUTSIDE of the moment, to come up with a plan. Almost every plan we DO create is born out of a frustration! That’s how my 5 Card Mini Celtic Cross Spread was born!
I’ve talked in the past about how I came up with that spread. As a card reader, I disliked reading for people in person where I had little choice over what spread to use. I’m not the kind of person who has an arsenal of spreads stowed away in my brain to whip out at every reading. At reading events, I would find myself using a spread that was WAAAY too big (the CC) or too small and with little defined information (the basic 3 card spread).
For the average question you get from someone, you need to have a way of answering it without first consulting Pinterest or social media. So while I create spreads for specific events or specific scenarios for myself, I also created a more general spread that I can use with almost every question I get, that isn’t as big and overwhelming as the Celtic Cross, but has more meat (and position with relevant information) than a basic three card spread. That's my 5 Card Mini Celtic Cross.
Creating a Custom Spread
It’s what you do when you are NOT on the spot with a seeker that can set you up for success. First, I’d like to challenge you to actively search and seek out some basic spreads that you think will work for a variety of situations and questions. If there are some questions you get asked a lot, look on Pinterest or Instagram for a spread that is a good fit for that. If you don’t find one, MAKE ONE :)
When I created my mini Celtic Cross spread, I wanted something that included what I considered staple information in almost any card reading. Positions that would translate well across a large variety of questions. We have the current situation, the obstacle, hidden or background info, advice and outcome.
I knew that in almost every reading, I wanted to be able to give my seeker a predictive outcome for the path they are currently on, and advice to empower them to continue or make changes to it. Talking about their current situation and obstacle provides the “proof” they need to believe in the reading and its accuracy. So I created a spread that I thought would work well with almost any question. Not too big, not too small, and giving me just the right info.
This is my personal experience and what has worked well for me. What about for you and your readings? What is most important to you? Can you choose or create a spread that will work well for you across the board? You are more than welcome to take mine and make it your own! The most important aspect of your spread is that it accurately addresses and answers your seekers questions. You can create anything your mind can come up with!
If you take the time to find or create a few signature spreads that suit you well now, you won't ever find yourself stuck or on the spot when you sit down to do a reading for someone. I'd love to challenge you to create at least ONE SPREAD on your own. Use what you find on the web as inspiration, and create at least one fun custom spread, maybe for an upcoming event or holiday that you can do for your friends, family, or whoever you read for! If you are extra inspired, post it on social and tag me. I'd LOVE to see what you come up with! Action cures confusion and fear and brings clarity. Go for it!
What’s Next in the Back to School Series
I hope you've enjoyed the 5th article in the Back to School Series. If you missed any, they are listed below. I’d love to know what kinds of spreads you are using! Please share your thoughts about this over in our community on fb in our group Tarot for the Modern Reader, and don’t forget to join us there Friday at 1pm EDT for the related LIVE! Next week will be the final post in our series, and it will cover reading the trickiest cards in the deck! See you then!
Lesson 1: Reading for Prediction Vs. Reading for Empowerment
Lesson 2: Should You Give FREE Readings as a Tarot Reader
Lesson 3: 3 Ways to Give an Accurate Yes/No Reading
Lesson 4: 5 Fail Proof Tips Every Reader Needs to Give an Accurate Reading
I’m Liza, professional Tarot reader, writer and mentor, and this is Tarot Liza. Everyday we're working to bring our mission of delivering more value and Tarot education to the Modern Reader to life! Welcome! Read more...
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