There are reference books and sites full of hundreds of tarot spreads you can use, and it’s tempting, especially as a beginner tarot reader, to assume that you must or should use an existing spread, designed by someone with more experience than you. But what if none of the spreads you can find really deal with your question? What if a friend, family member or client needs help with an issue and you can’t find the right spread for that either? Well then, create one!
New tarot readers are often intimidated by the thought of creating their own tarot spreads, and many don’t know where to start. How are you supposed to know what order to pull cards in, and what shape to lay the spread out in? What if you get it wrong?
Shape Doesn’t Matter
Well, the good news is that none of this really matters. At its simplest, you can design a two card spread in your head as you carry it out – for instance, if you want to know whether you should do something or not do it, pull one card to show what might happen if you do, and one to show what might happen if you don’t. It’s that easy.
Even with more complex questions and more cards, your tarot spread doesn’t have to have a shape – you can just lay the cards out in a straight line if you prefer. And you cannot “get it wrong” – whatever questions you ask will be answered. The skill lies in asking the right questions, in the right order, so that you can receive really helpful insight.
Focus on the Question
To design the best tarot spread, focus first on what the real question is. For example, a question which says “Will I get a new job?” could actually mean “I’m unsatisfied with my current career. What can I do to be more fulfilled at work?”
Having established the root of the question, you can start to work out what kind of specific questions might elicit useful answers from the tarot. For instance, someone who is unhappy at work might find any or all of the following questions to be relevant:
What are the current problems at work?
What obstacles are blocking me from achieving work satisfaction?
What can I do to overcome this block?
Who or what will help me in this?
Where do my ultimate career ambitions lie?
What do I need to do in order to find my vocation?
What can I do immediately to further my career?
What should I do over the next six months?
You can probably think of numerous questions to ask about your current situation.
Deciding on the Order and Layout
Once you have narrowed down your key questions, put them into a sensible order, and number them. Now it’s simply a matter of turning over that many cards, and interpreting each card as the answer to its corresponding question – so the first card answers the first question, the second card answers the second question and so forth. If you like shaped layouts and you can think of a shape which ties in with your theme, then by all means lay the cards out in the desired shape, still using the number order you have already decided upon.
Whenever you make up a tarot spread, whether on the spur of the moment or after careful thought, make a note of it in your journal. It might be a one-off spread that you’ll never use again, but equally it could turn into one that you can use again and again in the future.
Once you’ve lost your fear of creating your own spread, you can start to add in more complex considerations, such as using a significator or having certain card positions give more information about timing. As you grow as a tarot reader and become more skilled, you can also use pairs of cards in certain positions instead of just one.
Essentially, all you have to remember is that a tarot spread is what you make of it – and you can create limitless spreads uniquely tailored to your need each time. Have fun with it!