Reader Q&A: What is the correct version of the Celtic Cross?

by Brigit on July 29, 2011 in Tarot Spreads

will he return celtic crossspread

Today, we have a Tarot reading question from Aasheesh…

“My question relates to the Celtic Cross spread. This is the most common spread, but suprisingly it has so many variations. One is sometimes confused with which is the right version? What is the correct sequence of cards?”

Finding the Correct Version of the Celtic Cross Tarot Spread

Aasheesh, I feel your pain! You would think that for a very common, widely-used Tarot spread such as the Celtic Cross, there would be just one version, but unfortunately there isn’t!

Take a look at the top listings for “Celtic Cross Tarot Spread” in Google and you will begin to see what I mean!

Now, before I launch into an explanation, I am assuming you are familiar with the Celtic Cross spread. If not, read my post on the Celtic Cross Tarot spread. (Note: This post shows the version that I prefer to use, but it is by no means the only version to use!)

How Does the Celtic Cross Tarot Spread Vary?

There are two main ways that the Celtic Cross spreads varies – the order of the cards and the definitions of the positions. In terms of order, different versions of the Celtic Cross have different cards in different places. For example, the Above and Below cards may be laid out before or after the Past and the Near Future cards (assuming you are using these positions!). In terms of positions, different versions will use different position meanings. For example, some Celtic Cross versions will include an “Advice” card while other versions will include “Key Concerns” or even “Factors that Affect the Situation”.

If you haven’t already, take a look at those links above and you will see how even just a random pick of Celtic Cross spreads differ from one another.

These variations make it difficult to know what version of the Celtic Cross is the right one to use! And, it makes it even more difficult when you want to share your Celtic Cross readings with others, particularly if you only list out the 10 cards (or 11 cards, depending on what version you use!), without explaining what positions you used.

So, How Do You Select the ‘Right’ Version?

Put simply, there is no one, ‘right’ version.

My advice is to firstly do some research on the different variations of the Celtic Cross, then start to experiment with the versions that you like best. As you do some practice Tarot readings with the different versions, you will no doubt find one version that feels ‘right’ to you. Consider which version gives you the most insight and advice, in a way that is meaningful for you and your clients.

For me personally, I prefer to use Tarot spreads that empower the client and provide practical solutions that they can act upon. For that reason, I like to include the “Advice” card in position #7. I also like to know what is going on outside and inside the client’s mind, and for that reason, I include the “Above” and “Below” positions. And lastly, I like the way in which the various Tarot card interact with one another in this spread. (See the Celtic Cross version I like to use here.)

So, experiment with a few different variations and find one that suits your personal reading style.

My other piece of advice is that, if you do share your Tarot readings with others (e.g. through a reading exchange or when you are reading for someone else), always include what positions you have used. Too often, people just list out the cards they drew in a numbered list without explaining what positions they used. This obviously makes it difficult to interpret the reading, particularly when there are so many variations of the Celtic Cross.

The Lowdown…

There is no one, ‘correct’ version of the Celtic Cross. Research the different variations and select the spread that works best for you.

Readers’ Recommendations?

What advice do you have for Aasheesh? What version of the Celtic Cross do you most prefer? Leave your comments below…

Got a Tarot Question? Contact me and send in your Tarot questions and I hope to be able to share them with other readers!

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Cindy October 11, 2011 at 11:04 pm

I struggled so hard with the Celtic Cross that I stopped doing it. “Good” cards in “bad” positions (and vice versa) made it very often impossible for me to do what I felt was a credible reading. Then I looked closely at Joan Bunning’s advice at learntarot.com. She offered several possible meanings for each position. For example, position 5 can be an alternate outcome, hope or goal, or what you are concerned about (in addition to several others). I created a CC worksheet that listed my 4 favorite positional meanings for each of the 10 spots, and as I draw the cards I write them down. When I’m done I go through and quickly write down a phrase for each card (trying to work intuitively)and see how it fits. For example, the 9 of Swords isn’t going to be a hope or goal, but it can be what you are concerned about. Having this freedom made me enjoy doing Celtic Crosses again, and I recommend giving it a look. It won’t work for everyone, but it did for me.

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Ivo Greci January 26, 2013 at 8:14 am

I’ve been taught that “there are no accidents” and
stumbling upon your comment, Cindy, has been
a fortunate and serendipitous outcome to my own
similar problem with the celtic cross spread.
Again, thanks,
Ivo

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Biljana March 29, 2013 at 8:56 pm

Good day 🙂
I love most open Celtic Cross, but I felt it in every house that has two meanings, so that kinda lose and do not know how to arrange the story: (eg second home, or barriers and improve the card above and below, there is somehow the most lost.
Thank you for this wonderful Brigit site 🙂

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Brigit April 4, 2013 at 10:40 pm

I rarely use the Celtic Cross, often because I find that by creating my own spreads for the client’s specific question, I get a much more accurate result.

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Darrow February 11, 2014 at 3:11 am

Well – at least most of them agree on the first Two 😉

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David September 21, 2015 at 1:08 pm

Hello All,
My very first tarot reading in my life was done with your info today, followed the directions and the only thing I asked for was for truth and wisdom. I was very specific and the results were profound. I read everything relevant and took the message to heart. I have a book, but thought this would be fun if nothing else. I’m thankful for this site and your effort to share this information freely. I’m going to try the free meditation by next weekend and we shall see. If it unobscures the path that can be hidden at times; through the labyrinth and up the mountain, these meditations will hold value for me. Regardless, I send blessings and gratitude.

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Brigit September 25, 2015 at 6:13 am

Thank-you so much for sharing, David! I am so thrilled that you were able to complete your first Tarot reading and that it was helpful for you. I’m sure you will love the meditation with the Fool card 🙂

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Jess December 21, 2015 at 4:12 pm

Thank you for writing this article Brigit. It’s very useful for a new reader like myself to learn how to read the Celtic Cross.

Now to dive into the matter a deeper: I recently asked for advice on how to handle a certain situation using the Celtic Cross, and when I looked at the outcome card the word “advice” flashed in my head.

Can the “Outcome” card been seen as “Advice”? Thanks.

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Brigit December 23, 2015 at 10:46 am

It’s important to work with your intuition, so if it’s helpful for you to see the Outcome card as Advice, go with it. It might also be a sign to look at both cards (7 & 10) to see if the Advice card is in fact influencing the Outcome card and vice versa.

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Robert H January 1, 2016 at 5:02 am

0\\\5///////10
\4\1|2/6////9
\\\\3///////8
////////////7

This is my initially learned layout
1 – present scenario, direction of reading (I also sometimes use a significator if a card jumps out at me while I’m shuffling, but this is in”0″
2 – influence card: depending on the nature of the card, reversal, etc, this can signify the primary “obstacle/support” that needs to be worked with. It can be a “challenge” or and “opportunity” energy
3 – foundation: this card is the “cause” of “cause and effect” (1 would be the “effect”, I guess). Why we’re here today, basically.
4 – leaving: this has just happened or is about to become the past, can signify an event that is linked to the reading whose lesson is about to be integrated.

Cards 1-4 are my “faith testing” cards — usually I get a buy in from the querent
Then,
5 – crowning thoughts: this is the person’s objective way of being. Maybe the intention they’re setting now, the ideal that they’re holding, and a measure of the true nature of their being
6 – incoming energy: this is the “next page in the book”. something that is happening now or about to happen, and to watch for. I find most of my warnings come through here, and this is the position where I help people cultivate hope
7 – the self: how we are perceiving our way of being in a situation. the primary subjective factor for the querent. for example, i just read while feeling isolated at work, worried about my social connections. I got 2 of cups reversed!
8 – the environment reader: when reading about another person, group, or situation, this sums up the perceptual energy that is being directed at the querent. I call this the “mind reader” card because it initiates the empathy of the querent after exploring how the querent feels about themselves
9 – hopes/fears: I used to read that position 7 was hopes and 9 was fears, but then I found that sometimes hopes were coming up in 9, and after contemplation, I found that the cards will clarify whether hope/fear is the energy to address, and usually the querent’s hope/fear dominance gets revealed here
10 – outcome: with minor arcana, this is how things will end up if things stay on their path, and this is like learning about a future you can change. with major arcana, this is like “you should just get ready for this, because here it comes”

there have also been “reader’s fans” (cards 11,12,13,14) which I sometimes pull to clarify the theme of the reading, but this often leaves me more confused if I use it carelessly.

One thing that is important to note in all of the books I have read: choose your “technology” and stick with it once you find what produces the best resonance. The cards are 72 symbols through which the universe learns to communicate with you. If you are doubting your connection, doubting your ritual, it will only weaken your connection with the symbols. Doubt is an emotion, and a lot of the data that comes from the tarot is through the feeling body, so it’s great to “anchor in” your practice and start focusing on the higher tarot skills, like intuitive receiving and flowing story telling 🙂

I felt the need to write about this, because I started to allow doubt to enter my field as I read others’ interpretations, and wanted to be vulnerable and share that my “method” is an eclectic weaving of styles. 🙂

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Dahlia May 8, 2016 at 7:25 am

Thanks for your insight. Especially your comment on letting doubt in.

I started reading back in 2000 and around 2008 due to people close to me becoming addicted and reliant on my readings I began to fear my abilities while simultaneously disliking them. After that I quit for a few years and when I found the remains of my deck eaten by mice I took it as a sign that I should stop.

Stopping I found however began to effect me in the long run, especially as I also walked away from the other spiritual and metaphysical activities I used to do regularly.

My intuition began to weaken and although my more logical analytical side grew stronger, my more sensitive abilities grew weaker and it began actually physically affecting me negatively.

It wasn’t until in the last couple of years or so when I began to accept that part of who I am. I still have some doubts but decided that it was time to face them and truat in God and the universe again, which includes the messages that come my way.

Intuition is our best friend.

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Suzanne January 15, 2016 at 3:29 pm

Brigitt , I just wanted to say Thankyou , you’ve helped me understand the cards so much.
I find you very easy to follow x

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Brigit January 18, 2016 at 8:00 pm

Wonderful! I am so glad I can help 🙂

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