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Who makes up the spreads and what gives them the authority?

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  • Who makes up the spreads and what gives them the authority?

    Although I am an avid astrologer and Pagan I'm still inexperienced with tarot cards and as I am scientifically minded, I don't know why or how they would work.

    I just got the most beautiful deck I've ever seen for Saturnalia (ok, ok, Christmas) and I'm frusrated because I'm becoming very attatched to them but I don't kno how to use them. I'm afraid to shuffle them and I don't know what spreds to use. Is there just a generic spread or do I have to memorize a bunch of different ones.

    But yeah, back to my original question, who makes up the spreads and why and how can they? I can understand a person putting their energy into decks by making up their own pictures and changing little details and card names, but making up your own spreads just seems to far-fetched.

  • #2
    It isn't far fetched at all. Anyone who wants to use a spread can. Often when you use your cards awhile you'll think of spreads that make sense to you or layouts just come to mind - you'll just start laying cards a certain way and think of their meanings a certain way. Anyone can make up a spread; it doesn't take any authority or special knowledge.

    The easiest spreads to use in the beginning or ones that are already made up - for instance you could do a simple 3 card one where each card means past, present, and future. Or you might try a celtic cross. You can start with any spread you like. There are many posted here and in books as well as on the web. Just find one you like and go nuts.

    Some people (and I) believe that tarot cards help people access their higher mind. You know how sometimes people think things unconsciously - like someone might unconsciously be afraid of people who remind them of their parents if they were beat as kids? Or how sometimes you'll just think "I think that's my friend joe on the phone" when it rings and it is?

    Some people believe you are sensitive to a lot of things you don't realize. You know, sixth sense and all. They think you might know the answer already or have sensed something about it with that 6th sense. But, we've been conditioned not to listen - to think that's a bunch of malarkey or silly. So for some people looking into pictures on tarot cards help them access their subconscious.

    Someone might do a spread about their friends and see a character in the card that looks kinda like someone they know. The person might be standing near another character watching over. And that might make you realize you think of that friend as your guardian. Or you might get a swords card and think "that reminds me of fighting.. and sometimes I think that character always wants to fight with me".

    Some people believe the God and Goddess speak to you through the cards. Maybe they just effect the shuffling so the right cards come out. Maybe the cards come out and they subconsciously help you figure out what they mean.

    Art is a very valuable tool for the expression of feelings and thoughts, so it's no surprise that art in tarot cards can help you find feelings and thoughts - answers you're looking for.

    Tarot card reading is a bit of a misnomer - you don't really read anything. You look at the numbers, the suits, the pictures, and the characters, and you see meanings there. With practice it will become easier for you to feel comfortable in accessing the meanings behind those things.

    There are a few threads that might help you when you're starting out, and as always you're very welcome to ask questions here.


    • #3
      Anyone can make up a spread. There are no hard and fast rules. You simply designate a position to mean something, then incorporate the position mean and the card meaning that is layed there together to come to a conclusion. I think the simpliest spread is the three card: Past, Present, Future. You read each card seperate, then together to come up with a "theme" for the reading....common ground between the cards layed out. Basically you are taking what the card means to you, add that with the meaning of the position and it gives you a description about what's going on. When done with all three positions and give you an overview of what's going on.

      Don't be afraid to shuffle the cards! The right cards will come up in just have to find the meaning that it's trying to convey to you. (Or your subconscious mind is trying to bring forward to the conscious mind).

      As far as not know the meanings....after you lay out the cards, look at them one at a time. Is there anything that just jumps out at you....really draws your attention? if so, think about what that item means to you. This is where you draw your conclusions from.

      Check out the threads "stuck" at the top of the tarot forum for some great information!


      • #4
        thanks you guys! I've actually already printed out alot of those threads for my personal refference. Really good information. I just wanted to know exactly how creative I get to be. Sounds like alot of fun is in store!


        • #5
          hehe sometimes my cards "speak" to me, and I end up just spreading the cards however it feels right at the time. Sometimes I use set spreads (although I only really know a ten-card spread), and sometimes I just let the cards deal themselves, so to speak hehe.

          I think with Tarot, as with any divination, what feels right probably is.
          "The cosmos is also within us, we're made of star stuff.
          We are a way for the cosmos to know itself."

          Carl Sagan, as quoted by The Symphony of Science


          • #6

            I've got an idea that could be fun.

            Everyone creates a spread (or picks one that they have already designed) to post here in the Tarot Forum.



            • #7
              I believe there is a thread for that -


              • #8
                Why cant you make up your own spreads? Thats a great question ~ We all make up our own salutations, prayers, rituals, spells, recipes, oils.. why do spreads for Tarot! I think you do it automatically as the cards begin to speak to you more and you grow with confidence
                Just simply shuffle and think of your subject/area of life, then pick a card and say to your self 'this card is for...' then another and repeat until you have a few.. then you may see similarites or opposites, a pattern or you may just place them in a pattern fashion without even thinking! Dont be afraid, just go for it! Its great fun!

                New mommy & loving every minute of it!
                Co-moderator ~ Tarot & Divination