5 Simple Tarot Spreads For Guidance, Love & More
Tarot is a mystical tool that has been used for decision-making, forecasting, and self-inquiry for centuries. When done right, a tarot reading can provide you with new insight you may not have been able to access before. It creates the conditions for your intuition to take charge so you can find more clarity about a certain area of your life.
How to choose the right deck and spread.
While the Rider-Waite tarot deck is considered the gold standard for traditional tarot deck, there's no shortage of unique decks to choose from nowadays. It all comes down to choosing a deck that resonates with you. "It's important to feel connected to the artwork and symbols in a deck, as those will be your prompts for reading and what you use to translate the messages," explains Daya Parvati, a professional tarot reader and energy practitioner.
That said, if you're new to tarot, you might want to go with a deck adapted from Rider-Waite, as you'll be able to find more material online about what each of its cards means.
Once you have your deck, you can decide what to ask it about. Depending on the topic at hand, you can do a single-card pull or multicard spread. The following five spreads from Parvati are a great place to start, but feel free to adjust them as you feel called. Once you've settled on a question to ask and a spread to use, all that's left is to give your deck a shuffle and start pulling.
Tarot spread for guidance in life.
The following spread is the core baseline to Parvati's personal spread, and it's a simple layout of five cards to provide general guidance in life. The first card represents your past; the second, your present; and the third, your future. The fourth card represents inspiration, and finally, the fifth represents action that needs to be taken.
Place the first three cards next to each other, left to right. Inspiration and action are laid on top, horizontally, between the first and second, and second and third.
Tarot spread for love.
Reading tarot in regard to love and relationships can be tricky, Parvati notes, but in readings she will often ask for a card that represents "the mirror or lesson the person is showing or teaching you." For a simple tarot spread to understand the relationship, all you need is three cards.
The first card represents you; the second, the person you're in relations with; and the third, the two of you together. Place the first and second cards next to each other (left to right), and the third above them.
Tarot spread for the 7 chakras.
If you're interested in chakras and what they represent, this seven-card spread (with each card representing one of the core seven chakras) can offer some insight into what you might need to do to balance each one.
To do it, pull seven cards and arrange them in a vertical line to mirror the way the chakras run up your spine. Arrange and read them from bottom to top. So, the first card you pull represents your root chakra; the second, your sacral chakra—and so on until you get to the crown chakra for your seventh card.
A mind, body, and spirit check-in tarot spread.
Parvati says this easy three-card spread is great for quickly checking in with yourself or "taking your temperature" so to speak.
Placing three cards in a vertical line from top to bottom: The first card represents your mind currently; the second, your body; and the third, your spirit.
A yearly forecasting tarot spread.
And lastly, to forecast the year ahead, Parvati uses the "wheel of the year" spread. You can do this on your birthday, New Year's, or any other annual date of significance for you. The number of cards you pull will depend on the traditions or calendar you follow. Perhaps you stick with the standard 12 months of the year or even the four seasons, with each card representing a month or season.
Arrange the cards to form a circle, and read them clockwise for a sense of what's in store for each month, season, or cycle ahead.
Tarot is one of many intuitive traditions that can lend insight into the deepest parts of ourselves. Once you get a feel for reading tarot, Parvati notes the most important keys to a well-rounded reading are being open to the answers you receive—and then taking action. Only then will you get the most out of this dynamic tradition.
Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Editor, a registered yoga instructor, and an avid astrologer and tarot reader. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from State University of New York at Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.