The Celtic Cross May Be The Most Popular Tarot Spread - Here's What To Know

Whether you already know a bit about tarot or you've yet to dive into this form of divination, there is an abundance of different card spreads you can use to serve your specific needs. While some people turn to tarot to see what the future holds for their love life or career, others prefer to see a greater overview — this is where the Celtic Cross spread comes into play.

This tarot spread is perhaps one of the more popular variations used by professional practitioners and beginners alike. It gets its name due to the layout of the spread, which resembles a Celtic Cross. While you can conduct a tarot reading for others using this spread, you can also do one for yourself, as many are thought to have done for decades. In fact, some practitioners believe that the Celtic Cross spread has a special energy connected to it as a result of being used by thousands of readers over time. If you're just starting to practice tarot, these vibes may be beneficial.

To begin, it's important to familiarize yourself with the meaning of where each card lands in your Celtic Cross spread. This is because every position is indicative of a different aspect of one's life, such as past, future, and environmental influences.

Shuffling the deck and pulling the first card

To start a Celtic Cross tarot reading, you'll want to shuffle your deck and concentrate on the question you have in mind. If you're reading for a friend, focus on their query. In the event that the spread is for yourself, keep your mind on your question as you channel your energy into the cards. Once you feel that they have been sufficiently shuffled, take one card from the deck at a time, placing it into its position in the Celtic Cross spread — in the end, you will have 10 cards in front of you.

The first card is typically referred to by tarot practitioners as a symbolic representation of the person receiving the reading. Whether you're reading for yourself or another person, this card is believed to be linked to the individual's energy in the current moment. On occasion, it may be representative of messages that are coming through for the person receiving the reading. However, the main thing to keep in mind is that it's always tied to the present — not the future or the past. In the most basic sense, it is an indicator of what's going on at the time of the reading.

The meaning of the second tarot card

When you pull the second card for your Celtic Cross reading, you can expect it to represent the obstacle or challenge that is facing the person receiving the reading. It's important to note that this card is not meant to spell doom or gloom, but rather make the individual aware of an issue that needs to be dealt with. The meaning of the card in this position can be helpful to the person who is the subject of the tarot reading so that they can ideally tackle the obstacle head-on, thus making progress in their life.

In some situations, the second card in a Celtic Cross spread may seem unrelated to the question that the reading recipient asked. When this occurs, the reader can interpret it as a more pressing situation than the original query. Again, this is one of the many ways tarot can potentially heighten our awareness of challenges that we have to overcome — even those that may not be as obvious.

As you interpret this card, you might be surprised if you already know it has a positive meaning. For instance, you may be confused to see The Sun, which is a card that represents positive things including vitality, happiness, and optimism. However, it's critical to remember that in this particular spread, the second card always represents a challenge — consider its position carefully.

Interpreting the third tarot card

If you're using the Celtic Cross spread to conduct a reading for a person seeking more insight into how their past is influencing the present, the third card will be particularly important. This is because this card is specifically indicative of how past events are currently influencing what's going on in the here and now.

If you or the person receiving the reading is confused as to why they are facing a current issue, this is the card you should focus on in the Celtic Cross spread. When examining the third card, remember that it might be a reflection of past events that result in what the second card indicated (which represented the existing challenge or problem). In the event that the reading recipient is having difficulty understanding the definition of the third card, think beyond its surface-level meaning. It may be more symbolic of "the root" of the issue at hand, or how unconscious energy — particularly from the past — is now influencing the present.

2 potential interpretations of the fourth card

Depending on who you ask, the fourth card in the Celtic Cross tarot spread may have a different meaning. It's completely up to you as the tarot practitioner to determine this card's significance in your reading, but be sure to do so before you start — this will help you make the most sense out of the particular card's appearance in your spread.

One way to view the fourth card is as a representation of the reading recipient's future. This could apply to the upcoming days, weeks, months, or even further out. To scale it down, keep in mind that it pertains to the situation or question being interpreted through the reading as a whole. The reading recipient can see this card as what may occur in the immediate future, assuming that action isn't taken to change the situation.

Depending on the tarot practitioner, the fourth card might be interpreted as the recent past events instead. Compared to the third card of the Celtic Cross, it could be representative of events that occurred days or hours ago (rather than events or situations from long ago). However, it is still believed to be linked to what is happening in the present or the question being asked.

The potential meanings of the fifth and sixth cards

The fifth and sixth cards in the Celtic Cross spread may also be interpreted differently depending on the tarot practitioner. Oftentimes, however, the fifth card is seen as an indicator of how the current situation at hand will play out for the reading recipient. While it is suggestive of future events, it's worth noting that this could be specifically viewed as how things will go if everything continues on its existing trajectory. Some tarot practitioners also view the fifth card in the Celtic Cross spread as an indicator of the reading recipient's current goals or aspirations. That being said, it is still usually associated with the general outlook for the recipient based on what they are working toward.

The sixth card in the Celtic Cross spread is more commonly seen as what is driving the ambitions of the person under the surface. If the reading recipient is confused about why their current situation is messy, the sixth card may provide clarity. Alternatively, some tarot practitioners believe this card is more representative of events that will occur in the near future.

Understanding the final 4 tarot cards

The remaining cards in the Celtic Cross tarot spread — the seventh, eighth, ninth, and 10th cards — each has their own special meanings that can provide a feeling of closure to the reading recipient.

The seventh card is thought to be how the person receiving the reading is impacting the current situation with their own beliefs and actions. Alternatively, the eighth card is often believed to be representative of external influences that are impacting the person who is receiving the reading. With this information, the individual may be able to alter the course of future events by taking matters into their own hands. Again, tarot practitioners tend to differ on these card indications — specifically, some believe the eighth card is more representative of the reading recipient's influence on the situation, and the seventh card reflects outside influences.

Luckily, the ninth card in the Celtic Cross tarot spread is generally agreed to be indicative of the reading recipient's inner "hopes and fears," per multiple sources. This insight can help them potentially overcome these challenges. In the end, the 10th card sums up the Celtic Cross spread as a whole, signifying the long-term outcome of the situation. "Long-term" can be interpreted as anywhere from a few months to years.