Types of spreads
How many types of spreads are there? Well, there's the basic PAST - PRESENT- FUTURE, the classic CELTIC CROSS (10 cards) aaand another million types of spreads that the Consultant can choose from, based on the clients' questions!
The good news is that you don't have to worry about choosing the best spread type, because that is the Consultant's job. You only have to address the questions, and based on them, the Consultant will decide on the spreads.
Each Consultant has a different approach when it comes to the Tarot sessions. Based on the client's questions, the Consultant can choose to make one single complex spread (most commonly used) or break it into smaller ones. The Consultant can answer one question with only one spread or try to gain different perspectives through multiple spreads, for a broader view. Remember, the spreads are just a means to get that bird-eye view perspective on the situation you are asking about. Therefore, depending on the complexity of the question and answer, the Consultant can go from a simple one-card draw, to up to 20 cards per spread.
The decision is solely based on how the Consultant evaluates the complexity of the question and the type of answer that is needed.
During my sessions, I process a maximum of 4 questions, one spread per each. If I feel that there's more to explore in one answer, I usually run clarification (extra) spreads to get the full view on the situation.
The type of spread I choose depends on the question, but I also let myself be guided by my intuition when it comes to the layout of the cards.
To give a taste of what spreads look like, I will give you some examples below.
Here is how the Past – Present – Future spread looks like:
The basic Past – Present – Future can also have a series of variations. Here are some other examples of 3 card spreads:
Mind - Body - Spirit
History - Problem - Advice
What I always like to remind my clients is that the future is not set in stone. There are different potentialities laying within us and we play an important role in them manifesting in our lives.
There is no one single potential outcome. For this, I use the “ALTERNATIVE FUTURE” SPREAD. This shows the present, the passive future (what is likely to happen), the active future and the mystery (something that the client doesn’t see or know about the situation at hand).
When I want to get a full view on a relationship dynamic, I do the CURRENT ENERGIES SPREAD, which shows me how each person feels about the other, how that reflects in their behavior, what are the common feelings that they are currently experiencing, what’s the client’s blind spot regarding the other person and what are the most likely next steps in the interaction.
If I want to see your blockages, strengths, external views, variables you are not aware of and possible outcomes on a situation, I can use the CELTIC CROSS SPREAD.
A simpler approach is the SWOT SPREAD. Which are the strengths that we bring to the table? Which are the weaknesses? What is best that we do in this specific situation? For these types of questions, the SWOT SPREAD is usually a perfect choice.
If the client wants to see the major events or focus points throughout the year, I use the 12 MAJOR ARCANA SPREAD, each for one month.
If the client wants to see a past pattern that’s impacting the present and where he/she can do the shift (inward and outward) to change the outcome, I use the L SPREAD. This reveals a moment from the past (the trigger), its impact, the current challenge, the lesson to be learned and the action that needs to be taken.
Dream interpretation can also be done through Tarot. An easy spread would look like this:
Card no 1 is the desire, no 2 is the problem, no 3 is the reaction, no 4 is the advice and card no 5 represents the solution.
Sometimes, it’s easier for us to escape in dreamy scenarios or come up with a reality of our own, but that disconnects us from the truth. When I sense that clients are running away from obvious answers, I do the “WHAT ARE YOU AVOIDING?” SPREAD. This will show:
The story you tell yourself
The reason why you created the story
The ending you imagine
What you have been avoiding
The worst-case scenario
The probable ending
Tarot can be used for more than seeing the obstacles in our way. It can also show us our blessings and how we are healing in this journey that we call life. We all have gone through painful experiences, break-ups, losing something (a job, a house, an opportunity) or someone who was dear to us. The question is: how do we evolve through pain? This is where I like to use the “BLESSINGS OF THE PAST” SPREAD. This shows me why is that experience actually a gift for my client, what he/she learned from it, what can he/she change so that the past is not repeated and how he/she can move on.