Celtic Cross Spread

by Barbara Moore

We are adding some traditional spreads to our site and will begin with one of the most traditional, The Celtic Cross.


Celtic Cross Spread

The Celtic Cross Spread is a very traditional and well-known spread, included in almost every tarot book. There is a reason it is so well known and popular. It provides a wealth of information about any situation. There are enough cards to provide plenty of material to work with. It gives a clear overview of a situation as well as the probable outcome. It can be read as a large spread or as a series of smaller spreads. Because the Celtic Cross Spread has been around for over one hundred years (it was invented by Author E. Waite who falsely claimed it was an ancient spread), there are many variations. You may see versions that label the positions slightly differently. Remember, tarot has and continues to evolve, and that goes for spreads, too. Don’t assume that one variation is wrong and the other right. In addition to a variety of positional meanings, people have altered or added to the Celtic Cross layout. As you work with it, if you notice areas or types of information that you’d like, add positions and see how they work out.

S. Significator

1. Covers: the influence that is affecting the querent or the situation

2. Crosses: the obstacles or energies working against the querent in this situation

3. Crown: the querent’s ideal or goal in the situation

4. Foundation: the basis or foundation of the situation

5. Behind: influences that affected the querent or situation but are now passing away

6. Before: what is likely to happen next

7. Yourself: the querent as she sees herself in the situation

8. Your House: the influences of circumstances or people surrounding the querent

9. Hopes and Fears: the querent’s hopes or fears regarding this situation

10. What Will Come: the culmination, resolution, or outcome of the situation

This spread was originally designed for purely predictive readings and the position meanings show that. For this, or any spread you try, always tweak the meanings so that they make sense with your beliefs and your reading style. For example, if you do not like how “the culmination, resolution, or outcome of the situation” implies a sense of absolute, written-in-stone fate, change it to something like, “the current most likely outcome if all things remain as they are.” If the outcome isn’t to the querent’s liking, a common practice is to follow up with another short one to three card reading to advise the querent about how to change that outcome.

As mentioned earlier, the Celtic Cross can be read as several mini-spreads as well as one large one. For example, the first mini-spread is the cross in the center made up of the Significator, the Covering card, and the Crossing card. These cards, read together, very concisely create a picture of the situation or conflict concerning the querent. Card 5, the Significator, and Card 6 together make the familiar 3-card spread of Past-Present-Future. Cards 6 and 10 show the trend of future events. Cards 3 and 9 tell what the querent wants, hopes for, or fears. Reading these cards in these combinations also allows you to use your skills in reading card pairs and elemental dignities to add nuances to the reading.

There are various ways to select the Significator. You can select a court card based on the querent’s appearance or sun sign (very traditional). You can select a court card based on the querent’s personality. You can let the querent select a card based on what one they think represents them in the situation. Finally, you can shuffle the entire deck and just deal the Significator as the first card.



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