Celtic Cross Spread

The Celtic Cross Spread is the classic, most common Tarot layout used for reading the cards. You can use it to answer a specific question or to get a general sense of your life right now. There are many different versions of the Celtic Cross Spread, so don’t be surprised if you come across the same spread somewhere else that has slightly different position meanings. Just use the version that you prefer.


celtic cross layout

Cards pictured are The Universal Waite Tarot

1) You Right Now – This card represents what is going on for you right now. It indicates what you are thinking, feeling or doing.

2) What helps and/or hinders you – This card can either tell you what is blocking you or what could help you, depending on the card. Often this represents inner rather than outer forces, for example, your general attitude or particular personality trait that you can tap into for success or tamper down to avoid disaster.

3) Subconscious Influences – Your deeper desires, beliefs and feelings that you are not fully aware of, but yet powerfully effect your situation. These can sometimes reveal themselves in your dreams.

4) Past – Events, people and issues from the past that have led to your current situation. These are things that are still effecting you today, even though they are in the past. This card can represent negative experiences that you still need to let go of, or positive experiences that you can draw on for support and inspiration.

5) Goals & Ideals – This card represents your conscious desires, goals and what is important to you right now. This is what you are putting your energy towards, or how you are using your energy.

6) Near Future – This is the direction that things are heading at the moment. If you do not like this card, ask yourself what you can do right now to shift your energy so that the outcome is different. The future is not set in stone!

7) Your Approach – This represents how you are approaching your situation at the moment. This card can refer to your thoughts, beliefs or actions.

8) Environment – The energies currently surrounding you. This can refer to your family, friends, work environment or neighbors.

9) What You Need to Know – This card tells you what you need to be aware of right now. This is an advice or wisdom card, telling you a little secret about something you shouldn’t overlook.

10) Final Outcome – This represents a possible outcome based on current energies. Like the Near Future card, it can change if the energies shift. Compare this card to card #5 (goals & ideals) to see if they are similar, conflicting or complementary.

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23 Responses to Celtic Cross Spread

  1. Gregory says:

    I have been studying tarot for 45 yrs as a hobby not reading them for others. I don’t read in reverse either. Because you may have just had a client and you gather the cards up for the next read and half are reversed from last client. So the second person get a few bad cards in my mind..Here a little tip, the Chariot actually means a gay person and the knight of swords, a cheat and untrustworthy. Check them out in your own readings and see if I am right. Cheers and happy readings.

  2. Neta says:

    Hello! I read that 2nd place on celtic cross spread is always UPRIGHT and not reversed!
    or can it be reversed? or not?

  3. Naina says:

    Hi Kate,
    I noticed that the Celtic Cross spread above is a little different in the placement/definition of cards from the original Rider Waite tarot definition (it is in the accompanying booklet). For example, the past and future card placements you show are the opposite from the RW spread. Also 5) & 3) have a different meaning in the RW spread. Did you modify the original or was this some other source from where you learnt the spread? Is the one you are proposing more in current use that the original RW one?


  4. Ashley says:

    Hello, for card 2 how do I know if its reversed or upright since its sided?

    • Joshua says:

      That depends upon how it’s drawn and revealed. Interactions with the cards are like Schrodinger’s Cat. Face down they are unrestricted, but observation determines the result. How you first respond to the card in your hand will tell you a lot about how you should interpret the meaning (upright or reversed, conceptual or literal, etc). That’s the way I read, but not necessarily THE way.

  5. Mahoney SarahNicole says:

    Thank you

  6. Aramis says:

    Hi, I am new to the card spread myself. However, sometimes I get confused a little. But hoping, to get better with understanding them. I’m so glad to have ran into this, for clearer understanding.

  7. Alex says:

    Hi! Well I don’t know what to say besides… this whole spread was CRAZY accurate. Anyways I was having trouble understanding what to do in my situation so… I asked the cards. And they told me everything like my outcome which is “Death” which I interpret as ‘dying’ and starting a new phase. Is it okay to think about that card like that?

    • tarothusiast says:

      to my understanding the death arcana doesn’t just mean literal death but actually could mean an end for older things so that newer things could begin~ ya did good~

  8. Sophie says:

    Hi, this website is great!
    I am supposed to be doing card readings at an event fairly soon and just wondered if you had any advise for readings for other people?

  9. Morgan says:

    I’ve heard of “helping cards” (not sure if that’s the right term) that could help you better understand the card you just pulled, when or should I use these?

    • Kate says:

      Yes! You can draw an extra card whenever a card really doesn’t make sense to you – this card acts to explain the previous card better. Sometimes this just adds confusion though, so I wouldn’t do this unless your really stuck. However, if you’re using a spread with many cards, the surrounding cards can act as “helping cards” as well. Hope that makes sense!


  10. Jess says:

    Hi i’m very new to tarot reading and when i tried to do a celtic for myself, some of them were upside down. May i ask if those cards meant the opposite of the meanings? Thanks!

  11. Sarah says:

    Please excuse my newness, can the Celtic Cross be used for general guidance? I’m having troubles asking questions when reading myself and would like a spread to just give me general guidance. Thank you πŸ™‚

    • Kate says:

      Hi Sarah,
      The Celtic Cross Spread is perfect for getting general guidance. In fact, I often think this spread works best when you don’t ask any questions.
      Good luck!!!

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