Overview of a Tarot Spread
I was recently asked a question on my YouTube Channel and it was how to see the big picture in a tarot spread, before you even start to interpret any card.
This is a really useful technique whether you are a beginner or experienced tarot reader.
Here are my top tips of what to look for when you first lay your cards down in your tarot spread.
If you would like to download your cheat sheet to go along with this post you can do so here:
Before you even start interpreting any of the cards, you want to tune in and see what your intuition is telling you. How does the overall reading make you feel? Are you getting a sense of the themes for the reading?
Never underestimate your intuition. I’ve listed this first as it’s probably the most important.
Have a look at the overall colours in the reading. First, you want to check if the reading is light or dark. What will that tell you? Dark doesn’t necessarily mean bad, it can show up for a time of great transformation or change in life.
How about the actual colours of the cards. Are you seeing a lot of similar colours? E.g is there is a lot of red it can show up for a time of action. Purple can represent intuition and yellow can represent joy and positivity. I’ll do a more detailed post on colours in time.
Is there an abundance of one suit/element in the reading? If we are seeing a lot of wands/fire it can show that we need to take action. Pentacles/earth can show that we really need to work on grounding.
I almost feel it is more important to focus on what’s missing. Are there any suits missing from the reading? E.g if we are missing cups it can show that this is a very non-emotional time. That would make sense if we were doing a career reading but I would be digging further with the querent if we were doing a love reading.
What’s the ration of major and minor arcana in the spread? Remember that there are a lot more minors than majors in the deck so you would expect to see more minor.
If we are seeing a lot of major arcana this shows that it’s a very important time and the reading will reflect big life-changing moments. The minor arcana represents more of the day to day that we are going through.
Are there a lot of court cards in the reading? This would show that there are a lot of other people or external influences involved. They can also show up for conflicting personalities within. An example of this is that somebody may be very spiritual and that could show up as the Queen of Cups but maybe it’s tax time and they need to channel their inner King of Pentacles! You can see that these could show up for the same person who is experiencing different things.
Have a look at the numerology. Do you have low numbers (start of a cycle) or high numbers (end of a cycle)? Are there a lot of the same card in the reading? If we see a lot of 3s in a reading it can show as a time of growth but would also show that this person is at the start of this particular cycle or chapter.
Look at the overall story. What’s happening in the spread? Can you see a beginning middle and end? Are there any turning points or road blocks? Is there a natural progression through the reading or do you feel that this person is going backwards?
Positions of Characters
I like to use this with the court cards but can refer to any. Which way are the characters facing? If they are facing forward I feel like they are talking directly to the querent, if they are facing backward they could be looking to the past and forward to the future.
Stand Out Cards
Finally, are any card jumping out at you? I usually find that there is one or 2 that I feel are particularly important. These could be the turning point of the reading or even the foundation of the reading. Again, you are going to need to trust your intuition for this one but it won’t let you down.
You will probably find this much easier to take in if you watch this example: