There’s more to a Tarot reading than being able to interpret the meanings behind the cards. Without doubt, the most important aspect is to be able to forge a strong, psychic bond with your querent – but there’s another factor that’s often overlooked.
Spreading the message
The spreads that are used to help answer a querent’s question can be just as important as the cards themselves. However, for the novice, these can be as confusing as first getting to know the deck. What’s certainly true is that as you become familiar with the different types of spreads, you’re likely to notice aspects that don’t quite work for you.
However, this doesn’t mean that that spread is now redundant; Tarot is a very personal practice and many readers find the best thing to do is to amend those aspects so they fit in with the individual approach. As a result, while there are very many spreads, you may find that two readers, each using the same one, use it in different ways.
Spreads are designed to highlight aspects of a person’s subconscious in specific relation to the question they are answering. As a result, you’ll find spreads for love, money, health – and virtually anything else you can think of! However, the unique aspect of using a spread is that it can do what the Tarot used as a whole deck can’t; it can offer insight into the psychic timeline of the person asking the question. Let’s take a look at what spreads are there for and explore some of the simpler ones.
Why do we need spreads?
Used in its simplest form, the Tarot helps us to analyse aspects of our spiritual being and to understand just how we are creating the problems that prevent us from achieving happiness. Using the Tarot demands that we accept some responsibility for our own circumstances.
Yet in this form, what the Tarot doesn’t do is give us an idea of when these factors have come into play and how they will play out. A traditional Tarot reading is very much rooted in the here and now. However, if you use a particular spread, you can trace those factors from the querent’s past, through their present and into the future.
While this isn’t exactly prediction, it can be useful for a querent to understand how, when and why things have happened and how they might come to bear on events that are happening and have yet to take place.
The importance of choosing the right spread for the right reading cannot be underestimated. It can add an extra dimension to your session and give your querents a clearer idea of the roles they play in their own lives.
The Three Card spread
The Three Card spread is one of the simplest and one of the most popular – primarily because its simplicity gives rise to clear and concise answers. It consists of three cards, drawn by the querent and laid out horizontally, from left to right. The left card represents the past and, through using his interpretive and intuitive abilities, the reader can help identify the issues that have affected the querent in the past. The card in the middle represents the present and the issues that are currently affecting him. The card on the right represents the future and the possible outcomes that may result from the information given up by the previous two cards.
Generally, the approach is the same as using the Tarot deck: the querent asks a question and the reader divines the answer through his knowledge of the cards and his psychic gifts. However, some readers prefer to use this spread to only answer ‘yes or no’ questions. For them, the concise use of cards doesn’t give them enough information to be able to answer more open-ended questions, so they scale down the possibilities to meet the parameters of the spread. However, for novices, this can be the perfect way to begin using spreads on a more general level. Once you are familiar with it, you may want to try the ‘yes or no’ approach and see which one you prefer.
The Five Card spread
The next step up is the Five Card spread. Because this is a little more complex, so too are the answers that are given. Five cards are drawn by the querent and laid out to form a cross: one in the middle and one at each of its four sides. In this spread, the centre card represents what’s going on in the present. The card to its left represents past issues that are having some effect on the present. The card to its right represents the likely future, if the issues are left unattended. The issues themselves are represented by the card on the bottom and its effects are interpreted through the cards in the row above, charting then through the past present and future. However, this spread offers an alternative; the top card represents the possible outcomes if the querent follows the advice of the reader.
While many readers like to use this to help the querent understand that they have some responsibility for their own destinies, others like to use it to determine the course of an action which, again, is best explored through ‘yes and no’ questioning.
Because Tarot is such a personal experience, different readers approach different spreads in different ways. Much of this is based on their own experiences with the cards. Some images will resonate more clearly with a reader than others. In turn, this is compounded by their own life experiences. No reader can be truly dispassionate about the meaning they divine in a card and will always use a degree of their own history to inform the messages they interpret. This, however, isn’t evidence of a bad reader. Rather, it is evidence of the human aspect of a Tarot reading, which is possibly the most important aspect of all.
Readers approach different spreads in different ways – not to make the process more confusing, but because they have become attuned to the way the cards work for them. Experiment with a few spreads and see which ones give you the clearest and most accurate results.