Breaking Down the Celtic Cross

The Celtic Cross is one of the most famous tarot spreads.  Many readers use it…yet many more are intimidated by it.

The Celtic Cross can give a wealth of information about a particular situation but it also lends well to general outlooks or closing spreads, which is why I think it’s particularly brilliant.

This series is intended to help take the fear out of it – and help you discover tips ‘n tweaks so that you can get the hang of it once and for all.  Stay tuned as I continue to add tutorials to this series once a month.

Scan and count

One of the first things that I do when I layout the Celtic Cross is scan and count the cards in the layout. I look for themes by paying attention to the majorities.

For example: if the majority of cards are Major Arcana, it’s a sign that there are big lessons happening and perhaps a certain amount of fate involved.

Mostly Minors? It’s all day-to-day grind and an indicator that things are within our control. Fate has little to say or do with the situation. Or actions or lack thereof are creating the conditions.

A full set of Court cards? Lots of people involved.


In addition to those three examples, here’s a list of what to pay attention to:

All Minors: this shows a focus on the normal affairs of day to day life.

All Majors (this is RARE): heavy karmic period.

Mostly Swords: major conflicts.

Mostly Pentacles: focus on money, material side of life.

Mostly Cups: lots of emotion; attention on relationships

Mostly Wands: career focus

Mostly high numbers: we’re nearing the completion of a situation.

Mostly low numbers: we’re at the very beginning of a situation.

Lots of Aces: I always see this as a good thing – fresh starts and opportunities!

Lots of Twos: big decision making time.

Lots of Threes: birth, creativity, positive change.

Lots of Fours: great stability.

Lots of Fives: major changes, difficulties.

Lots of Sixes: overall harmony.

Lots of Sevens: many challenges to be overcome.

Lots of Eights: success!

Lots of Nines: endings are inevitable.

Lots of Tens: closure and new chapters.

Mostly reversals: mostly reversals would symbolize an internal process or lots of delays and blockages.

Let’s use our example from the previous lessons. We’ve decided that our querent is ready to move on after her divorce – and wants to know what’s in store for love. Let’s count ‘em up!


Breaking Down the Celtic Cross - The outcome position

Majors – 5
Minors – 5
Swords – 4
Pentacles – 0
Cups – 0
Wands – 1
Courts – 0
Reversals – 1
Ace – 1
Two  – 1
Three  – 1
Seven  – 1
Ten  – 1

This shows us a person who is dealing with big conflicts and lots of life lessons. Though conflict and change, an evolution is happening – one that may be leading to a whole new life or rebirth. Although challenges are present, it seems the Universe is also working on behalf of the person to bring better conditions for happiness.

The lone Ace, in the position of the near future shows something new is on the way. Followed by the Lovers, it’s a good sign that it’s probably going to be a new relationship. A Major as the outcome, especially The Lovers, indicates it’s going to be serious. Note that there is an absence of Cups. That’s important. I’ll cover missing cards in a future tutorial but note: the Ace of Wands suggests a relationship that starts out with sexual attraction (phallus symbol). Whether or not this becomes a lasting relationship is not guaranteed here.


Your turn!

Once again, grab your tarot journal and your favorite deck.

Lay out a Celtic Cross then scan and count!  Add up the main stuff. What’s the majority? What’s the minority? Are the numbers high or low? Any reversals? What patterns are emerging?

Next month, we’re going to look at patterns that I call “the threes.”  Stay tuned.



© Theresa Reed | The Tarot Lady 2017

deck featured in the header image is the fabulous Fountain Tarot ; other cards are from the Rider Waite deck.

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