Celtic Cross, of course. Must be the most-used, most traditional spread in the Tarot reading world. I think the reason it’s had such longevity is that it deals with time (past, present, and future), potentials, underlying issues, the environment around the person, and what they think of themselves. Lots of opportunities to weave symbolism together into a coherent story of what’s going on with a querent. It’s also great for getting an overall view of an issue over more than a brief period of time. Making a three-card reading about an entire year, would be tough, I think, although it can be done. Having ten cards to work with just provides more scope.
The meanings have morphed and moved over time. The ones in the picture are traditional phrases, some of which may seem a bit obscure to 21st-century ears (crosses you, below, above). Here are my own meanings, which serve me as a mostly non-predictive reader:
1) The main issue for the querent
2) An influence that either reinforces the first card or diminishes it/blocks it in some way
These first two cards are often called a mini-cross, in that they tend to synthesize the theme of the spread.
3) Unconscious influences (or stuff from the longer-term past)
4) Things in the immediate past that are moving away from the querent’s life or leaving the situation
5) Conscious influences and potential—what the querent really wants
6) What’s coming up next in the near future to influence the situation
7) The querent’s sense of self (confident, afraid, social, withdrawn, etc.)
8) What other folks may be think/feeling overall about the querent’s situation
9) The querent’s hopes or fears about the situation
10) The ultimate outcome if these influences are not changed by the querent’s intent and actions
I think the redundancy actually works for taking a reading from the spread, in that one has power to fine-tune the interpretation based on smaller combinations within the set (foundation/long-term past influences and sense of self, or potential and near future, etc.).
When I use it for myself, though, I will be asking about at least a six-month time frame, if not a year, and that also affects how the cards might be interpreted.
How about you? Do you use the Celtic Cross, and if not, why, and if so, how do you like to use it?
I found the questions for this series at a Tumblr account that no longer exists. A lovely person named Rhee started the thing. These are great prompts for telling stories about one’s journey through the world of Tarot, so I’ve started the series again on a weekly basis so you all can get to know me better, and also share your own answers to the questions in comments or links to your own posts. I’d love to hear from you!