Reading tarot is an art that needs time and work for beginners to develop.

You’ll need to learn how to perceive the meaning of each card and how it relates to real life situations.

A tarot “spread” can give insights about a specific path someone is currently on and help with providing information on necessary future choices or actions to ensure the desired outcome.

Listening to your intuition is essential throughout every step in the art of tarot and as you dedicate more time and passion to it, your powers of discernment and intuition will grow stronger.


Tarot decks explained


A common tarot deck should have 78 cards: 22 Major Arcana cards (symbolize the more important experiences, decisions, life events), and 56 Minor Arcana cards (4 suits: Wands, Pentacles, Swords and Cups).

Each Minor Arcana suit corresponds to an element:

Wands: Fire (represents spirituality and mysticism, motivations and inspirations)

Pentacles: Earth (represents livelihood, calling in life and financial status)

Cups: Water (represents inner emotions, feelings)

Swords: Air (represents views, beliefs, thoughts)


Finally, it’s time to give the deck a try but which tarot spreads are best for beginners?


Top 7 Tarot spreads


There are a variety of spreads, or layouts, that can be used in Tarot readings. I suggest you start with a simple one with few cards.

As you familiarize yourself with the cards and their meanings, it will become a lot easier to try more complicated spreads.

Also, you may find that you get more accurate results with one type of spread over the others. For instance, I like using a 3-card layout because there are so many different ways you can interpret it.

This post contains just a small number of examples of tarot spreads as there are many, many more.

They are also listed in order from easiest to most complex. If you’ve never read before, start at the top and work your way down the list.

So let’s lay the cards on the table…


1 card tarot spread

This is a good spread when you have one specific but basic question and are looking for a quick insight.

For instance, you can pull a card every morning and ask what energy you need to focus on that specific day. Write down which card you got to reflect on later. At the end of the day, match up your experiences of the day to what you know about the card you drew that morning.


2 card tarot spread

Pulling two cards is a good option if for instance you are seeking clarity with the pros and cons of a situation/challenge. Also, if you are stuck between Choice A and Choice B (stay/leave, get married/break up, buy house/rent etc). Another example would be looking at the Core Need of Person A and Core Need of Person B (with regards to a specific issue). Also
to find out the Do and Don’t in a specific scenario.


3 card tarot spread

When you are just starting out, a simple Three-Card Tarot Spread is perfect for that.

This is one of the simplest and easy-to-understand spreads. The card on the left represents the history/Past associated with the question. The card in the centre represents the current/Present situation pertaining to the said topic. The card on the right represents the possible Future.


4 card tarot spread

A four card tarot spread can be used similarly as the three card one. These are quick snapshots of understanding with a bit more detail than the three cards offer. In the four-card tarot spread, the first card from the left represents the Past, the second, the Present, the third, the Future, and the fourth, the specific answer to your question.


Horseshoe Tarot Spread

The horseshoe tarot spread is a seven card layout. Three cards are placed on either side of a central card, staggered to look like a horseshoe. It starts from left to right.

1 -represents the past.

2 – represents the present.

3 -The third card represents hidden influences.

4 – represents you or the person asking the question.


Half Celtic Cross Tarot Spread

The half Celtic cross is a traditional tarot spread with six cards. It’s a shorter version of the famous full Celtic Cross spread and it provides you with a view of your current situation and the near future.

  1. You (or the person the reading is for)
  2. The current situation/challenge or obstacle
  3. Influences that the you need to be aware of
  4. The root of the issue/distant past
  5. Recent past
  6. Near Future

Celtic Cross Spread

This is probably the most well-known tarot spread. It uses 10 cards and can have many variations.

  1. Your present condition.
  2. Your current obstacles or troubles.
  3. The best possible outcome.
  4.  The cause of your current situation.
  5. Your immediate past.
  6.  Your immediate future.
  7. Who you are right now in general, and how you relate to the theme of the question.
  8. Your current surroundings in terms of family, friends, and environment that relates to your question.
  9.  Your hopes and fears in regard to the question.
  10.  The outcome in regards to the question.


If you want to learn more about tarot, check out some tarot tips for beginners.