If you are seasoned reader or just a beginner in the study of Tarot, surely you have encountered the 'Celtic Cross Confusion'.
I have many book about tarot that I have collected over the years. Not one of them has the same description for the spread, the Celtic Cross.
After all the cards are drawn and placed, the traditional Celtic Cross spread looks like this ->
Two cards in the center, the second placed on top of the first, then the four cards around those, then the four cards in a vertical line on the right.
After the first two cards, which card is placed next varies from source to source. In one of my books the third card is placed on the left, in another book it is placed on the right.
Not only is the placement different, but the meanings are similar to different. This is tough for a beginner with so many versions.
When I first began to use this spread my only source was the book that came with the deck I had. The version must have been the creators own take of the spread. After seeing the different versions from other sources I got curious.
What is the 'true' traditional Celtic Cross spread?
It is hard to say for sure what the exact details were of the spread known as the Celtic Cross as it has been used over the last 200 years. However, according to Stuart Kaplan, a leading expert on tarot, there are records going back several centuries explaining a 10 card spread that is one of the earliest known. But he does not call it the Celtic Cross.
The spread is spread out as in the image above.
• The first card is 'Present Position' and is the card in the center under the second card. This card is pretty self explanatory as to what it represents. This is the person and what is happening currently. This is the 'person' card
• The second card is 'Immediate Influences'. This is the card that is set sideways on top of the first card. It speaks of the events that are about to unfold. This is the 'crosses' card.
• The third card is placed directly above this pair and is the card of 'Goal or Destiny'. This represents the main goal and what can be accomplished with the current conditions. This is the 'crown' card.
• The fourth card is placed to the right of the first pair and is the position of 'Foundation' or 'Distant Past'. This is the beginnings and source of the current situation. This is the 'behind' card.
• The fifth card is the card that represent the 'Recent Past Events'. Again, a position that explains itself. The card is placed below the original pair. This is the 'beneath' card.
• The sixth card placed to the left of the first pair and is the card of 'Future Influence'. And again, is self explanatory. This card is the 'before' card.
•§• These first six cards are read before the last four cards of the spread are pulled.
• The seventh card, 'The Questioner', is placed to the right of the first six cards at the bottom of what will be a column of 4 cards. This position also represents the person but not about where they are in the situation but more about their attitude and thoughts about it.
• The eighth card is 'Environmental Factors' and speaks of the person's effect on others as well as the effect that others have on the questioner. This is placed right above card #7
• The ninth card is the 'Inner Emotions' emotions card and is placed above card #8. This card represents the questioners inner feelings, fears, hopes and secrets.
• The tenth card and last card is the 'Final Result' card. It is placed at the top of the column. This is the direction and events that may unfold if the questioner continues on the current path, or path suggested by the previous card within the spread.
All of the Celtic Cross spreads found in today's books are likely derived from this general idea of the spread. People have put their different twists to it and changed the position names at times, but it still remains probably the most used and written about spread in the realm of tarot.
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