Best Tarot Spread: Celtic Cross

The Celtic Cross is the most popular spread in the Tarot world. I begin every reading with it because it gives me an  overview of the client  — their strengths, their struggles, where they are coming from, where they are headed, their main challenge of the moment, and how it will resolve– all in one spread! Hard to believe, but I’ve thrown this spread over 15,000 times in my career – that’s how good it is.

Most people throw just ten cards for this spread, but when I first learned it 35 years ago, I was taught to throw eleven cards. The extra card is number 2 – sometimes called the personality card, but also known as something more outward about that the person, as opposed to  the first card, the soul card, which is something inward about the person at the time of the reading.    Life is always flowing between two extremes – the yin and yang, the high tide and low tide. It’s simply the way energy oscillates as it flows forward. And it’s the way the psyche oscillates at we flow forward, in a spirallic flow that is both circular and forward in motion.  So I prefer  having two central cards (soul and personality) rather than one to more accurately gage the person’s process.

When reading the Celtic Cross, I begin by doing something that I recommend you do when reading every spread, and also even when reading a single card  — allow your eyes to settle on the images that jump out at you, rather than trying to read each card in a specific order.    In this way, you are allowing your eyes to guide you, rather than some kind of logical or rational rule. Your senses, including your eyes, are your  intuitive antennae to the world of energy, so allow them to guide you.

Here’s a guide to the spread:

With all of these locations, be flexible and loose about how you interpret each card. Go with the first thing that pops in your mind about each card’s meaning for the person’s situation.

  1. The Significator: The central  feeling or state of mind, also called the soul card.  It is the most important statement about what is going on. It’s the jumping off point. It doesn’t have to  mean someone’s soul, but it does refer to something deep that is happening within the person we are reading.
  2. Another part of the person that is more outside, rather than inside. Best way to think of this is to contrast it to the significator.  You could think of this card as the outer you, versus #1, which is a deeper more inner you. You may vacillate between these two extremes or #2 may be the face you show to the world in contrast to #1, which is what is what is really going on inwardly.
  3. Your challenge at this time– something you must confront if you are to move forward  in your growth. This could be something you are avoiding or something you know is coming and are trying to deal with or something that is simply in your way, a challenge or obstacle.
  4. Something that is foundational for you, often a childhood situation that continues to effect you, especially in  your present situation. It can be a trigger for you in your current situation that effects how you react. It can be a strength you lean upon.
  5. The past, or  something that is pertinent to your situation that you are growing  away from. Even though it is something in the past, it is still relevant to your situation.  It’s good to know, however, that it is something that is exiting as you move forward.
  6. Something that graces you in your situation, often one of your strengths. If the card seems negative, then it is still somehow helping you so try to think of how a negative energy could be helping you.
  7. Near future. What to expect next, or where you are headed. This card is often describing something that is already happening. If not already happening, then it should be coming very soon.
  8. Something else about you in this situation that it is helpful to understand at this time. It often describes a trait of yours that is operating right now, that you can either rely upon for strength, or could be making things a bit harder for you or something in between. But it’s helpful to become aware of it.
  9. Your environment – could be the work or home environment, often describing whether you are supported or stressed by it.  It might be a person or group around you that effects your situation or it could be an energy, like joyful pleasure or stress. Remember, the goal of the reading is awareness, understanding of your situation to help you grow from it.
  10. Hopes, dreams and/or fears. You can decide if the card is about hopes or fears depending on the feeling the card gives.
  11. Outcome – how this situation resolves for you. Since life never stops and we keep on moving along the path, if you don’t like the outcome, you can always throw more cards to see what happens after that,  until you see the situation resolve to your satisfaction.  When the outcome is negative, you have a few options: 1. Step back and see if there is a lesson in the whole spread that will help the person change the outcome. or 2. If it doesn’t feel like it’s something to avoid or something that can be avoided, then  throw more cards to see how it all eventually resolves. Nothing ever stays terrible forever, so it’s good to get perspective by looking further ahead.  However, it is important to read the outcome card because it comes out of all the other energies and gives us information we can use.

If you have questions about any of this, please post and I will respond!  I love questions!

2017-12-18T01:00:05-04:00By |Tarot|

About the Author:

Jeanne Mayell is a professional intuitive and author who gives private life readings and offers tools to help people develop their psychic abilities. In 2015, Mayell was named by Coast to Coast AM radio as one of America’s most gifted Tarot readers. Holding Master Degrees from the Harvard School of Public Health and the Harvard Graduate School of Education, an MA in Counseling Psychology from Framingham State University, and published in The Atlantic and other national journals, she is not only a gifted intuitive, but brings an academic and intellectual perspective to the world of psychic readings and intuition training. Sensing that an era of profound and accelerated change is upon us, Mayell has been teaching people to expand the intuitive gifts we are all born with. In this way, we will be able to navigate the coming changes for ourselves, our families and others. She teaches classes in Tarot, Prophecy, Positive Psychology, and mindfulness — all ways to find inner guidance. Mayell has also worked as a health writer (Atlantic Monthly, American Health Magazine, and EastWest Journal), and was the Massachusetts Medicaid Director, a policy analyst for the City of New York’s health and welfare programs, and a research consultant on national health and welfare programs. She has co-authored two books on health and welfare and is currently writing a book on intuition and the Tarot.

3 Comments

  1. Beth 04/08/2018 at 8:51 pm - Reply

    Hi Jeanne,
    I’ve only learnt this spread with 9 cards, is the 10th usually on top of the centre card?
    Maybe if you could number the cards that would be helpful to me.

    • Jeanne Mayell 04/10/2018 at 9:03 am - Reply

      The Celtic Card spread is usually either 10 or 11 cards, not 9 or 10 cards. The 11th card is an additional card on top of the center card, as you suggested. The centers card is the main card for the spread, sometimes called the significator, which just means it’s the central issue of the whole situation. It is also sometimes called the soul card, and the extra card on top of it is the personality card. Whatever you call those two cards, the central card represents something deep and abiding about the person you are reading, and the extra card on top of it represents something more on the surface, something we see is going on outwardly. If you think of it as the personality card, then it’s how a person acts outwardly, while the central card underneath it represents what is really driving the person inwardly.

  2. Chris 12/21/2016 at 6:51 pm - Reply

    Thanks for the post, I’ve just used this spread to great effect – very accurate!

    Thanks, Chris

    REPLY: You are so welcome, Chris! — JM

Leave A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.