Tarot Spreads for Beginners | Easy Card Layouts

1 queen of wands and ten of cups spread

Are you just beginning your tarot journey? It’s a very enlightening experience, and something that will remain with you for the rest of your life. Understanding tarot cards will change the way that you see the world. Learning tarot trains your mind to look for symbolism and connections in your everyday life that you might have otherwise ignored. It opens your mind to a new way of thinking.

You’ll gain insights into all areas of life, and you’ll be able to help other people to do the same for their lives. Over time, you’ll gain a repertoire of different spreads to draw upon for any event or occasion.

We’re going to briefly cover the basics of how to get started with tarot, how to pick out your first deck, and other things that every beginner needs to know. After this brief introduction, we’ll dive right into an in-depth discussion about tarot card spreads. We’ll go over some essential spreads, along with some more unique ones.

Getting Started With Tarot Reading

The first step is to find a tarot deck that you’re going to use. There are many to choose from, and ultimately it’s just about your own personal preference. Some decks have more cards, others have less. It would be prudent to choose a fairly standard deck to get started with, such as the very popular Rider-Waite-Smith deck.

2 the empress card

The RWS tarot deck is considered to be the standard. It’s considered to be one of the definitive modern decks because of the art style, the documentation that comes with it, and because it is beginner friendly but also great for experienced readers.

Most quality decks (including the aforementioned) will come with a small booklet that will explain each card. It won’t go overly in depth but it’s a good starting point. There are many larger books that will help you to fill in the gaps eventually, when you get to that point in your journey. You can order them online, or even visit your local library.

Alternatively, if you have any friends who are into tarot cards, they’ll definitely be more than happy to help you out as well. If there’s one thing you can say about the tarot community, it’s that they’re always helpful to each other and eager to share their knowledge.

Once you’ve got a tarot deck and a basic understanding of what the assorted cards mean, it’s time to start learning about spreads.

What is a Spread?

It’s not something you put on a sandwich, so don’t get it confused! Different types of tarot readings will require different spreads. Tarot reading spreads are essentially the way that the cards are laid out on the table. There are special tarot card layouts for all sorts of styles of readings, and we’re going to be covering a few of them in just a moment.

3 few Cards

Before we dig into the different tarot spreads, it’s important to have an understanding of the history of tarot cards. Understanding where tarot originated from, how it grew in popularity, and how it spread throughout the world is important. Why does this matter? Why is it good to know? To understand how tarot cards work today, you need to know where they came from.

Whenever you’re learning something new, it can feel like information overload. Tarot cards are no different. Still, just embrace the chaos and fill your head up with as much new information as you can. For every piece of info that you learn about tarot, your brain will start to create more and more little connections between the information.

As more of the blank space gets filled in, those connections will become all tangled up like a spider’s web until you’re left with a big ball of knowledge. Obviously, that’s an oversimplification of how the neural system actually works. But the point is to illustrate that all of this random tarot information that might be going over your head is actually helping to create a full understanding in your mind.

A Brief History of The Tarot

Let’s do this rapid-fire style so that we don’t take up too much time, you’re probably very eager to get to the spreads. You’ll want to do much more in-depth research about the history and origins of tarot cards, we can’t even begin to scratch the surface right now.

  • Usage dates back to the 15th century in Europe, but some believe that tarot usage started long before that.
  • There are four suits in a tarot deck, just like regular playing cards. The tarot suits vary depending on the origin of the deck.
  • Decks typically have 78 cards.
  • There are also card games that you can play with a tarot deck, along with their uses for divination.
  • The Marseille style of deck from Europe is one of the most popular decks.
  • The Rider-Waite-Smith deck is also very popular.
  • Tarot is experiencing a resurgence in popularity lately as a tool for meditation and reflection.

Which Are The Best Tarot Card Spreads?

There isn’t really a “best” tarot card spread, per se. That’s like asking a carpenter which of his tools is the best.

  • When you need to hit a nail, the hammer is best.
  • When you need to cut a board, the saw is best.
  • When you need a precise measurement, the measuring tape is best.

You get the picture. The list goes on and on, and it’s the same when it comes to tarot.

You’ll choose the correct spread to use based on what you’re trying to do:

If you’re looking for relationship advice, there’s a spread for that.

If you’re looking for career guidance, there’s a spread for that.

If you’re looking for personal growth, there’s a spread for that.

If you’re buying a new house, there’s a spread for that.

4 card symbols

It’s just a matter of gaining the experience in order to understand which stead to use at any given time. You wouldn’t be a very good carpenter if you tried hitting in a nail using your screwdriver. The same is true for tarot reading. You won’t be a very good tarot card reader if you’re not using the correct tools for the job.

Let’s take a look at some of the best and most common free tarot card spreads to give you an idea of what’s out there. Keep in mind that there are many more spreads out there, and many different ways to use them. We could spend the next few hours talking about all of the assorted spreads that exist and barely scratch the surface. Please treat this as an introduction. Hopefully, this inspires you to dig deeper and learn even more about the amazing intricacies of tarot reading.

There are hundreds, if not thousands of spreads out there, and even more when you factor in all of the custom ones that haven’t been documented yet. Someday you might even invent your own!

Relationship Spread by Psychic Library

5 happy couple holding hands

Do you have questions about your relationship with a particular person? This isn’t necessarily only for romantic relationships, however that’s the most common use of this spread. The layout involves the ninth card being located at the top, then a row underneath it with cards five, six, seven, and eight. The sixth card is directly below the ninth. Under the sixth card is a stack that counts down from four to one.

  • 1: The first card represents how you view your partner in the relationship.
  • 2: The second card represents how you are viewed by your partner.
  • 3: The third card represents your needs in the relationship.
  • 4: The fourth card represents your partner’s needs in the relationship.
  • 5: The fifth card represents the current state of the relationship.
  • 6: The sixth card represents which path that you would like the relationship to go in. If you’re dating someone, do you want to get married? If you’re best friends, do you want to be lovers? And so on and so forth.
  • 7: The seventh card represents which path your partner would like the relationship to go towards.
  • 8: The eighth card represents which aspects of the relationship you need to consider.
  • 9: The ninth and final card represents the outcome.

This is a great spread because it doesn’t just take your wants and desires into account, but those of your partner as well. If you want one thing, but the other person has different desires in their heart, the sooner you can determine that – the better. Two people being together, who want completely different things, means that the relationship will have an expiration date. It’s better to know these sort of things as quickly as possible.

Action Spread by Morison

6 action-changes-things-better

This spread is designed to help you choose which action to take. This spread involves five cards, and they’re set up in a V shape. Card number 1 is located on the far left, and card 5 is located on the far right. Card number 3 is closest to you, at the bottom of the V, and 2 and 4 are in between, respectively. Each card represents a different part of the spread.

  • 1: The first card represents the question itself along with any important facts or information pertaining to the question at hand.
  • 2: The second card represents past events that may have an impact.
  • 3: The third card represents one’s reaction to the question or situation at hand.
  • 4: The fourth card represents the environment, in other words the location or other external forces that may be at play.
  • 5: Finally, the fifth card represents the solution to the problem.

As far as complexity goes, this spread lands somewhere in the middle between simple and medium. It’s far from being one of the most complex spreads out there, but it’s also not quite one of the most basic either. Speaking of very simple spreads, let’s take a look at one of the least complex next…

Am I Loved? By Ann Murkett

7 red heart on beach rocks

Don’t let the simplicity of this two card spread fool you. Simplicity doesn’t mean that it can’t be a very powerful tool. This spread involves two cards sitting next to each other with a small distance in between them, then they’re tilted towards each other so that they’re just touching at their top inner corners. The card on the left is leaning inwards, and the card on the right is leaning inwards as well. They almost make the shape of an upside down V.

  • 1: The first card answers the question “Am I loved?”, which refers to whether or not you’re loved by a particular person, not in general.
  • 2: The second card answers the question “Do I return this love?”, which answers whether or not you love the person – assuming that the first card determined that they love you.

This is a very specific spread with a very specific goal. Being included on this list doesn’t necessarily mean we use or endorse a particular spread. We’re aiming to include a lot of different examples just to show you what’s out there and what’s available to try, especially for beginners.

Moving House by Psychic Revelation

Here’s a spread to use if you’re thinking of moving into a new home. It uses six cards. The first card is at the top, then the second and third cards are on the right hand side, the fourth card is on the bottom, and the fifth and six cards are on the left hand side. Think of it as a clock, with the numbers for each card moving clockwise around the small circle.

  • 1: The first card reveals whether or not the house in question is a good house. You can define ‘good’ in many ways, from structural integrity, to being a good price.
  • 2: The second card is about the quality of the neighborhood where the house is located.
  • 3: The third card asks whether you and your family will enjoy living in this house and whether or not you’ll find happiness there.
  • 4: The fourth card represents potential positive aspects of moving into this house.
  • 5: The fifth card represents any potential negative aspects of moving into this house.
  • 6: The sixth card is the overall recommendation as to whether or not you should buy this house.

This can be a very interesting spread to perform before buying a new house, but it’s not a bad idea to get a house inspection done too!

Wrappings things up…

Again, this has only begun to scratch the surface. Each and every spread deserves its own page, if not an entire chapter (And in some cases, a complete book.) As you become more experienced with all of them, you’ll start to develop preferences.

When you have a favorite spread, try not to rely on it too heavily. Getting out of your comfort zone can be a great way to gain new perspectives on life, love, and everything else that the cards can show you.

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