Tarot Spreads: How to Pick Cards for Your Reading

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Tarot Spreads: How to Pick Cards for Your Reading

Tarot Spreads: How to Pick Cards for Your Reading

One of the most fascinating aspects of tarot is the ability to gain insights and guidance through the use of cards. As you delve into the world of tarot readings, you’ll quickly realize that selecting the right cards for your spread is crucial. In this guide, we’ll explore various techniques and considerations to help you pick cards for your tarot spread, enabling you to unlock the wisdom and messages they hold.

1. Clarify the Purpose of Your Reading

Before you even think about choosing individual cards, it’s important to clarify the purpose of your reading. Are you seeking guidance on a specific situation or relationship? Are you looking for insight into your personal growth or seeking clarity on a decision? Clearly defining the purpose of your reading will provide a strong foundation to proceed with.

Once you have a clear intention, you can move on to selecting a suitable tarot spread. Tarot spreads organize the way cards are laid out for a reading and offer different perspectives or areas of focus. Common spreads include the Celtic Cross, the Three-Card Spread, and the Single-Card Spread. Choose a spread that resonates with your intention and learn more about its structure and positions.

2. Shuffle and Clear Your Tarot Deck

Once you’ve chosen your spread, it’s time to prepare your tarot deck. Begin by thoroughly shuffling the cards. You may choose to fan them face-down and mix them or opt for a hand-over-hand shuffle. The key is to infuse your energy into the deck, ensuring a personal connection throughout the reading.

After shuffling, it’s important to clear any residual energies from the previous reading and reset the deck. There are various methods to achieve this, including smudging with sage, placing the deck under moonlight or sunlight, or tapping on the deck with your fingers while focusing on your intention to clear the cards.

3. Choose a Significator Card (if applicable)

Some tarot spreads include a “significator” card, which represents the querent or the main subject of the reading. This card helps to anchor the reading and can provide deeper insights into the querent’s current state or mindset.

When selecting a significator card, consider the querent’s characteristics, astrological sign, or personal preference. For example, for a fiery and confident individual, the Queen of Wands might be an appropriate choice, while someone with a more analytical and logical nature might resonate with the King of Swords. Take the time to explore the symbolism and meaning behind different cards to make an informed decision.

4. Draw Cards Mindfully

Now that you’re ready to draw cards for your spread, approach the process mindfully. Take a moment to ground yourself and align with your intention before each draw. You may choose to ask a specific question or simply request guidance for the highest good.

When drawing cards, you can use different techniques depending on your preference. Some readers prefer to fan out the deck and select the cards intuitively, while others prefer to pull cards from the top of the deck. Explore both methods and see which resonates with you.

5. Pay Attention to Reversals

In tarot readings, reversed cards (upside down) often carry different meanings compared to their upright counterparts. They can indicate blocked or delayed energy or suggest that the energy of the card is internalized. While not all readers use reversals, they can add depth and nuance to your readings.

If you incorporate reversals into your practice, ensure that you have a clear system for interpreting them. Consider using a tarot reference book or online resource to guide you through the meanings of reversed cards. You may even create your own personal interpretations based on your experiences and intuition.

6. Analyze the Cards and Interpret the Spread

Once you’ve completed drawing cards for your spread, it’s time to analyze and interpret them. Begin by looking at each card individually, noting the symbolism, imagery, and emotions it evokes. Consider the position of the card in the spread, as well as its relationship with the surrounding cards.

Use keywords, intuition, and knowledge of tarot symbolism to build a narrative for each card. Pay attention to the connections and patterns emerging from the spread as a whole. Take into account the elements, numerology, and the overall energy of the reading.

7. Trust Your Intuition

While it’s essential to learn and study the traditional meanings of tarot cards, it’s equally important to trust your intuition during a reading. Your intuition is a powerful tool that can guide you to deeper insights and messages that may not be immediately obvious from the traditional interpretations.

Allow your intuition to speak to you as you analyze the cards and interpret the spread. Sometimes, your instincts will lead you to explore alternative meanings or offer a unique perspective that resonates with the querent. Remember, tarot is a personal and intuitive practice, so tap into your inner wisdom and trust the messages that come through.


Picking cards for a tarot spread is an art that requires intention, focus, and intuition. By clarifying the purpose of your reading, shuffling and clearing your deck, selecting a significator card, drawing mindfully, considering reversals, analyzing the cards, and trusting your intuition, you’ll be able to unlock the profound messages and insights contained within the tarot.

Remember, tarot is a journey of self-discovery and personal growth. The more you practice and develop your connection with the cards, the deeper your readings will become. Enjoy the process, remain open-minded, and let the wisdom of the tarot illuminate your path.

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Tarot Spreads: How to Pick Cards for Your Reading