The Celtic Cross, Three Card and One Card Spreads

Click on the picture for the contents.

Click on the picture for the contents.

This is the Celtic Cross, which is probably the oldest, and certainly the most popular spread. It’s been around for hundreds of years, and for good reason- it works. In fact, it has worked so well, for so many, for so long, a Collective energy infuses this spread; the wisdom of thousands of readers over the course of centuries will come to your aid every time you use it!

The Celtic Cross is divided into two parts; the Cross on the left, and the Staff on the right.


The Cross is actually comprised of two crosses, and comments on your inner life- the small cross of two cards in the center (1 & 2) represents the heart of the matter; it is the core of the question, it’s where your heart speaks it’s truth. Card 1 is at the core of your desire, and Card 2 is what is crossing you- what is blocking you from achieving what Card 1 represents, or, what is helping you.

The large cross consists of four cards at each of the cardinal points. The horizontal cards (4 & 6) is a timeline moving from your past on the left (4) into your future on the right (6). The vertical cards (3 & 5) represent your consciousness moving from your unconscious on the bottom (3) to your conscious mind on the top (5). Your unconscious speaks as your ‘gut feeling’, and your conscious mind comes through as ‘where your head is at’. Also, Card 3 can represent the foundation of the matter you are currently dealing with, and Card 5 your hopes in regards to the matter.
The cards of the Staff comment on your outer life. The card at the base of the staff (7) represents you, as you are interacting and feeling within the situation. The next card (8) represents your immediate environment, and/or the people involved in the question or situation. Card (9) reflects your hopes and/or fears regarding the outcome, and card (10) represents the culmination of all the other cards, as the probable outcome.

The outcome suggested by the last card is only probable; it lies within your power as a reader to divine the areas of the cross that are within your power to correct. For instance, let’s say Card 10 is less than desirable. Card 8 representing your environment seems positive, as does Card 6 representing your possible future. But Card 3 (representing your ‘gut feeling’/ unconscious) and Card 9 (your hopes and fears) show a disturbance, and Card 4 (representing your past) shows an unhappy or unfortunate event. You can easily deduce that you are unconsciously reacting to a failure in the past, and projecting it into the future with your imagination (hopes and fears). Once you realize this, and can see the positive that is represented in your present environment, and in your possible future, it will be easier for you to leave the unhappy past behind, stepping into a brighter future which can be yours!

A more in depth look at the cards of the Celtic Cross


The heart of the matter- the central issue, major concern, basic worry, primary focus or fundamental problem

The present outer environment “that which covers you”, the surrounding circumstances, the immediate problem, what’s going on, what you’re dealing with in regards to external factors

The present inner environment- how you feel about the situation, the key personal quality, your basic state of mind or emotional state and what’s going on inside of you.


The opposing factor – “that which is crossing you”, the contrary element, source of resistance, the balancing tendency or moderating influence, a rival or enemy.

The factor for change – an unpredictable or upsetting element, a new consideration, a surprise

A secondary factor – a peripheral concern, another source of information, a side issue or a minor factor

A reinforcing factor – a supporting feature, a cooperative person, a magnifying force a related issue


Root cause – source of the problem, why things are the way they are, childhood or past life (karmic) influence, the reason behind events

Unconscious influence – unacknowledged motivations and goals, your most basic impulses, needs or desires, the denied or rejected aspects of the self

Deeper meaning – the larger picture, the primary archetype, the soul’s purpose, the underlying perspective

Unknown factor – the hidden influence, an unrecognized contribution, a hidden agenda or
behind-the-scenes intrigues


Something related to the past, could be- a person, a belief, an event, an opportunity
a concern, a hope or a fear

The receding influence- something that is losing importance, fading, a former concern, or
someone or something going away

A resolved factor- a fully realized quality, a completed task, something or someone that can be set aside, what has already been taken care of

A characteristic to let go of- an outmoded approach, something or someone that’s no longer useful or needed, a dynamic that can be discarded


Attitudes and beliefs- what you accept as true, your assumptions and convictions, how you view the present situation, your delusions or illusions, where you are placing (or misplacing) your trust

The conscious influence- what’s on your mind, what you’re focusing on, what you’re worried about, what you’re obsessing on, what you recognize or what is known

The goal or purpose- your aspirations and what you wish to achieve, your expectations for the future and what your heart set on, what you would like to happen

The alternate future- what could happen, a potential development or different future, what you are consciously (or unconsciously) projecting as the future.


Something to do with the future- a developing quality, a person, a belief, an event, an opportunity, a concern, hope or fear

An approaching influence- something that is gaining importance, a developing concern, someone or something moving closer

An unresolved factor- an unrealized characteristic, an uncompleted task, something still pending,something that must be considered or taken care of

Something to welcome- a valid new approach, something that will be useful, a desirable quality,
someone or something that is needed.


You as you are- your personal style, your temperament, your approach to the problem, your point of view or position on the subject, your way of being

You as you could be- inner resources you have yet to tap, atalent or ability you can use, what you are really capable of, an ideal to live up to, a possible approach, what you really want to be, your goal for yourself

You as you present yourself- your public face, how you think you should be, the mask you show the world, what you do for the sake of appearance, the role you accept, your self-imposed duty, your false self

You as you see yourself- your self-image, your beliefs about yourself, your sense of where you are, your fears about yourself, your assumptions about yourself, how you limit yourself, how you magnify yourself.


The outside environment- that which surrounds the emotional climate, the physical and social environment, the setting for the situation, the context youfind yourself in

Another person’s point of view- how they sees the situation, the other person’s side of the story, a different outlook or an objective opinion

Other people’s expectations- what others want from you, the demands placed on you, what others think you should be or do, outside restrictions imposed on you, your assigned role

How others see you- how you are coming across, how you’re being judged, the public’s opinion about you, the impression you create, the effect you have on others.


Guidance- what you could do, how best to proceed, what you can do to creat change, warnings
the truth of the matter, a different approach, a helpful suggestion, an honest assessment

The key factor- the fundamental lesson to be learned, a clue to what is happening, what you need to know, the connecting link

Hopes and fears- what you’re afraid of, what you suspect, what you’re avoiding, your personal demon, what you long for, your dreams ideals or secret desires

The overlooked- something you haven’t considered, the missing piece to the puzzle, someone else with a role to play, something else to consider.


The outer outcome- the most likely result, what may come to pass, how the situation may be resolved, where this is leading, a probable resolution

The inner outcome- how you will end up feeling, understanding what you will gain, a lesson you will learn, a new attitude you will adopt, a quality or ability you will realize

What you may have to do- how you may succeed or fail, how you may have to act, what you may accomplish, the approach you may have to take

What others may do- how someone else will be affected, how the environment will change, what others will do, possible backlash, possible reward, improvement or change in status.

Three Card Spread

The three card spread is simply that- three cards laid out in a row. The first card represents your past, the center card represents your present, and the last card represents your future. This is a suitable spread when you are pressed for time, or just need a quick look at how things are going. You can use Cards 4, 1 and 6 of the Celtic Cross for interpretations.

Single Card Draw

Drawing out a single card is great when you need a little iconic inspiration- meditate upon the meaning and image of the card you draw, and how it relates to you and your life. The Major Arcana by itself is especially good for this.

Once you get the hang of laying out the cards, and have a grasp of the meanings, try making up your own spreads. It’s easier than you think, and more rewarding than you can imagine!

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