In Tarot terminology, tarot spreads refer to certain kinds of tarot readings that you can do with Tarot cards, usually for the purpose of predicting, guiding, or at least being able to get a brief glimpse of what the future might hold.
Readings draw appeal and power from the fact that each card has a certain mystique, overflowing with meaning that one can use to try and make sense of the very ups and downs that life just won’t stop giving us.
Yet, it isn’t just the meaning of each individual card that makes a Tarot reading so appealing: it’s also the fact that meaning and purpose come together, forming new meaning.
No two results are ever really the same, because there are many ways one can make sense of a card and apply it unto their own individual lives.
For example, in a time spread, the past, present, and future meanings of each card will be different; some cards will have positive meanings in the past spreads, yet negative meanings in future spreads, and vice versa.
Yet each of these meanings actually makes sense on a grander scale because the results contain a narrative, much like the chaos of life makes sense with enough hindsight.
As such, it is easy to understand why many people rely on readings about their life – each result is full of impact, therapeutic and even exciting for people who wish to learn more about their life, or simply just have fun learning more about themselves with each result.
Thus, without further delay, let’s explore some of the most common tarot spreads you’ll find out there!
Tarot Spread #1: Yes/No
One of the most common spreads you will find, be it online or even in real life, is a Yes or No Tarot Reading.
Historically speaking, many people relied on “yes or no” predictions to help guide them in deciding something whose consequences could really change their lives.
It was not uncommon for the pagan general, for example, to offer the blood and organs of animals to the gods to inquire about whether or not they should move into battle or hold their positions. Suitors regularly asked fortune tellers if they ought to finally reveal their feelings for someone.
Unsurprisingly, this particular practice of divination still applies today (without the animal-killing of course), and in Tarot readings, it’s actually even quicker.
In a lot of cases, so many rituals are involved in order to deliver a perfect reading, but because meanings are already embedded in each card, you don’t have to wait for hours just to get your answer.
All you have to do is think of a question, go to our Yes or No tarot reading section, and get your results at the push of a button.
The results themselves may vary due to the cards having their own specific meanings, but it is generally agreed upon that “Yes” assumes the upright position while “No” assumes the reverse.
Tarot Spread #2: Career Spreads
Career spreads talk of your life’s general outcome: how well you will succeed at work, what your work might end up being, how to steer your career path properly, and even the psychological angst that often precedes many of these questions.
The number of cards used may vary, but the general amount of cards to be drawn is five, each seeking to answer specific questions about your current path. Typically, each result answers questions in the following order:
First: Where am I right now?
Second: What do I think my goals are?
Third: What were my past decisions?
Fourth: What mistakes did I make along the way?
Fifth: What do I really want for my future?
Naturally, this isn’t true for every case: in some cases, people may ask harder tarot questions, and as such, they may add or decrease the number of cards as they see fit.
But such is the innovation of Tarot reading: the harder your questions, the more thorough the answers, and for questions regarding career, you’ll need as many of them as you can gather!
Tarot Spread #3: Love Spreads
Are you a hopeless romantic, or perchance a suitor, or perhaps simply curious about what the cards might say about your love life? If you’re any of these, then clearly, you are looking for tarot love readings.
Much like a career spread, there are many questions involved in readings of this kind, but unlike career spreads, these typically tend to be more than 5, because of the obvious implications that come with engaging in a relationship.
In fact, because of the complexity that comes with love-related questions, they are often integrated into other kinds of readings as well (3-card tarot readings, for example), because certain attitudes and points in life can be used to infer what kind of romantic experiences you will be having.
If the cards see you like a bit of a narcissist, that may actually reflect poorly on your romantic state, and if you are kind and gentle, there is a greater chance that this may actually improve.
In a strictly romantic tarot reading, however, questions such as: What kind of partner will I be having, or what can I do to maintain my relationship will almost certainly pop up, and if you are with your reader, it is best that you heed their advice, since following the card’s will is actually really helpful.
Tarot Spread #4: Time Spreads
Life often has full of surprises, and in more ways than one: the person smiling next to you might have had a sad past. Your smirking friend may be having a really bad day, and the people you believed in the least actually end up succeeding the most.
Consequently, this spread is one of the most exhaustive in a Tarot reading, spawning countless variations from future readings, past, present, or even all three in a 3-card tarot reading.
The most popular of these, the 3-Card Tarot Spread, assumes all positions in time simultaneously in order to form a narrative about your life.
The narrative often comes in many different ways: you could have a sad past, a recovering phase in the present, and a successful future, or you could have a happy past, an okay present and a bad future.
From the depiction these three cards give about your life, you are also asked to do or not do certain things, so as to avert or help you get to your desired outcomes faster. As such, this is very helpful if you are looking for spiritual guidance.
Tarot Spread #5: Friendship Spreads
In many ways, “friendship” is a very loose term to define: you may talk, for example, of your best friends, your coworkers, your acquaintances, or even your business partners. But in a general sense, friendship readings pertain to those questions involving non-romantic relationships.
Understandably, this is another popular method of reading because it provides helpful commentary on whether or not you can actually trust the people around you.
It is hard to trust others due to the transient nature of friendships and the tendency of people to lie, so any advantage or truth you can find and take comfort in is very helpful– and this reading provides plenty.
See, each question tends to ask more substantial questions such as “is my friend really nice to me,” “can I trust any of them,” or “how can I make more friends,” and with each card offering different answers, you can expect to find the right fit.
Have a go at it sometime and see what surprises your bonds hold.
Tarot Spread #6: Wealth Spreads
Wealth spreads are those who ask about your financial situation and what you can do to increase your income.
It has the reputation of being lumped together with career spreads, but truth be told, these are actually quite different, because while career spreads talk about your future as a person, income is literally important at all stages of your life.
Yes, this means that even if you’re a child living off your parents’ daily allowance, you can very much benefit from a good wealth reading.
Similar to the readings mentioned above, the number of cards also depends on the questions, but here’s another catch: you need to know what your goals are before you start asking them!
This is because a wealth reading can only work if you actually wish to start saving or take more control of your finances.
Asking whether buying something right now is proper can only do you so much if you simply want to buy more afterwards.
Other than this caveat, of course, go for it. Ride like the wind, and ask away!
Tarot Spread #7: Freudian Spreads
Freudian spreads, also known as “Id/Ego/Superego” spreads, are those who talk about the contents of your very mind.
To be sure, this is not a mind-reading session, but they do help you understand quite a bit about your character.
More importantly, however, is that they help you grapple with the things you secretly don’t want to acknowledge (id), the things you have to come to terms with while living in this world (ego), and the idea that some desires need to be tempered due to social and moral constraints (superego).
Now, you may be asking: how can a bunch of paper actually help in figuring out my thoughts? The answer to this is in the cards themselves– they display our feelings, thoughts, emotions, and yes, our minds.
As with the three components, there are also three cards involved, and each will be able to tell you about your strengths and weaknesses as a person, as well as what you can do to improve yourself.
Thus, if you wish to find out more about yourself and what makes you tick, this is certainly your cup of tea.
Tarot Spread #8: Dream Interpretation
It is often said that dreams are the expressions of our repressed desires and forgotten memories.
We dream about the people we love because we long for their quiet embrace, and we dream about the supernatural, perhaps hoping for something in the process.
Truly, if this is the case, then there must be a reading capable of actually investigating the very things that our minds conjure up on a nightly basis.
What on earth do those monsters mean, the unicorns, the kisses, the weird figures and events that show up out of the void?
But of course, it isn’t just for the dreams, too: sometimes, a dream interpretation can also involve even dreamless nights, because even silence has a message in a Tarot reading.
Dream interpretation isn’t just about the mystical or the curious, but even the mundane, and the void of your own consciousness, because every single thing that runs in your mind at night is a manifestation of your place in the world.
Hence, this is the perfect reading for bringing to light and analyzing whatever it is that your mind is so insistent on hiding.
If you wish to find the truth about the fiction that runs in the mind, this is what you should go for.
In a world that is honestly more confusing than clear, it is honestly very useful to find even the simplest of clues about your place and life and what it all consists of.
Thankfully, this is made a whole lot easier through Tarot readings, whose cards and rules can generally be considered a microcosm of human history itself: nothing is ever predictable, yet for some reason when the cards themselves appear, everything makes sense.
This article has only mentioned eight of these so far, but in reality, there are literally hundreds, maybe even thousands to talk about: and all of these possibilities, all these questions, all these facts about life are wrapped in exactly 78 images, developed infinitely by the number of cards we draw and the circumstances through which we draw them.
With the multitudes of outcomes available to you, and the fountain of wisdom you can draw upon with each successive reading, it is easy to see why many have depended on Tarot cards for generations: they provide a clear understanding of the world that conventional wisdom and analysis tend to miss.
To paraphrase Blaise Pascal, there are many things that reason itself cannot understand – one of them is the uniqueness of your life, and while this is definitely true, you can at least understand it a bit more with the power of the cards.
What’s your favourite Tarot Spread and why? Share it with us in the comments below!
The Individualogist Team is made up of archetype fanatics, individuation practitioners, and spirituality fans. Our humble group has banded together to deliver thought-provoking, life-changing, and growth-probing wisdom.