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The Celtic Cross Tarot Spread - Exploring the Classic 10 Card Tarot Spread

By Tina Gong


If you’ve worked with the tarot before, you’ve most likely already encountered the famous Celtic Cross Tarot Spread. This well known 10 card tarot spread is flexible while also providing comprehensive answers to so many questions and topics. It is also one of the rare tarot spreads that you can use even when you don’t have a particular question to ask. With the Celtic Cross Tarot Spread you can examine all the different aspects of a situation, getting a piece by piece breakdown of any event that has crossed your path.

However, being a 10 card tarot spread, it can also be rather complicated to work with, especially if you’re first starting out. Which is why we think it’s worth taking the time to examine this spread a little more closely.

In this article, we’re going to explore not just the position of the cards, but also how to tie things together to help you craft a narrative, which is the best part of tarot reading!

The Positions of the 10 Card Celtic Cross Tarot Spread

We’ll break down the Celtic Cross in the same way we do with other standard tarot spreads, by looking at the positions of the cards.

  1. The Present / The Self - This position reveals the current situation, and what is now happening. It can also be used to represent what the current state of mind is for the querent and a snapshot of who the querent is at the current moment in time.
  2. The Problem - This card represents the challenge that the querent is facing at this time, something that they need to resolve in order to make progress forward.
  3. The Past - Here we see the the past events, and also how they have shaped the current situation. This can give us some information on influences in the past that have lead up to this state of affairs.
  4. The Future - This card represents what could be a likely turn of events, given that nothing changes. These are usually short term happenings, and doesn’t represent the final resolution of these events.
  5. Conscious - This card explores what you are focused on, and where your mind is. This can represent your goals and your desires regarding this situation, as well as what your assumptions are.
  6. Unconscious - The unconscious reveals what is truly driving this situation; the feelings, the beliefs and the values that perhaps the querent doesn’t even understand yet. Sometimes this card may be a surprise, and can also represent a hidden influence.
  7. Your Influence - This card can be interpreted somewhat broadly - but in general, relates to how you see yourself, and how that perception can influence how this situation plays out. What beliefs about yourself do you carry? Do you expand yourself, or limit yourself?
  8. External Influence - This card represents the world around you and how it affects this situation. It may represent the social and emotional environment that you are operating in, as well as how others perceive you.
  9. Hopes and Fears - One of the harder positions in this spread to decode, this card can represent both what you secretly desire, as well as what you may be trying to avoid. Human nature is often paradoxical, and what we fear the most is sometimes what we also truly have been hoping for all along.
  10. Outcome - This card is meant to be a summary of all the previous cards. Given all that is happening, what is the likely resolution of this event? Should you find a card here that does not have a favorable outcome, you can analyze the remainder of the spread to find another course of action.

Celtic Cross Tarot Spread Diagram

The Celtic Cross Tarot Spread - Exploring the Classic 10 Card Tarot Spread - Celtic Cross Tarot Spread Diagram

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Understanding the Relationships in the 10 Card Celtic Cross Tarot Spread

Now that we’ve gotten the individual positions of the Celtic Cross tarot spread, we can start working on developing the stories that develop within this complex 10 card tarot spread.

The Cross vs The Staff

Celtic Cross Tarot Spread Sections - Cross and the Staff

The Celtic Cross Tarot Spread can be broken down into two sections. They are the cross, consisting of 6 cards on the left hand side, and the staff, the four cards on the right. Altogether, the cross section of this spread gives you a picture of all the happenings in your life; internally and externally. The staff allows you to examine the querent’s life as it is outside this situation. We learn how the context of this situation can affect it, and also - how to change it, if desired.

The Wheel and its Axis

Celtic Cross Tarot Spread Sections - Wheel and Axis

Within the cross, you can break down the cards into yet another two sections - the central circle, represented by two cards, which convey the heart of the matter, and the surrounding four cards representing the events of your life that surround it. You can envision this as a wheel of four cards turning around an axis of two cards.

Time and Consciousness

Celtic Cross Tarot Spread Sections - Time and Consciousness

The cross can also be split into a different two sections - the horizontal cards, including the central axis, displays time, while the vertical cards express consciousness. Reading both horizontally and vertically, we see these as two smaller spreads that give us the past, present and future - as well as unconscious, self, and conscious.

All together, we can see a beautiful and complex 10 card tarot spread that is able to give us clarity and depth.

Celtic Cross Sections Infographic

The Celtic Cross Tarot Spread - Exploring the Classic 10 Card Tarot Spread - Celtic Cross Sections Infographic

Comparing and Contrasting Pairs in the Celtic Cross Spread

In addition to the smaller sections within the Celtic Cross spread, we can also look at some other pairs that may be particularly helpful to compare and contrast. These cards have special relationships that can give another dimension to the reading.

  • Card 4 and Card 10 - How is the near future impacting the final resolution? What can you imagine happening between these cards to get to the outcome?
  • Card 5 and Card 6 - Is there a connection between the conscious and the unconscious? Does the querent’s hidden and underlying motivations match with their assumptions and desires?
  • Card 6 and Card 9 - Feelings and beliefs can deeply impact the direction this situation can go. What unconscious beliefs are creating the fears and hopes of the querent?

And that's it! We hope that this has been an informative look at this classic 10 card tarot spread. You should now have all the tools and background to confidently read the Celtic Cross. Need elaborations? Leave a comment. We're also excited to learn about how this impacted your own Celtic Cross readings. Let us know below!

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  • Tracy
    Hey, I’m confused which cards are which numbers. Any chance you can make an image with the numbers on the cards in their placements? Im guessing unconscious is the card beneath the middle pair and the conscious is above?
  • Tina
    @Tammy – With physical spreads, I like flipping one at a time, interpreting one at a time, until I’m done – but then I revisit the whole spread again and see what else I learn. But lots of people do it in different ways, I would just do whatever you’re most comfortable with.
  • Tammy
    Hi, Love your app! I’m wondering when you do a physical spread like the Celtic Cross, do you flip all the cards and then explain the whole spread? Or do you flip, explain, flip, explain as you go? If that makes sense.
  • Tabitha
    Thank you. I think I would also benefit from questions to think about in each card spot like you did with the pairs.
  • Sonya
    I am blessed , thank y’all for helping me with my question’s💗

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