Breaking Down the Celtic Cross - Lesson 14: Karmic Patterns

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.

Sample reading

In this post, I’m going to show a sample interpretation of a Celtic Cross. I will be as brief as possible.

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.

Breaking Down the Celtic Cross - The outcome position

The first order of business: scan the spread and look for the majorities. I notice the five Majors – a sign that big changes are happening in the querent’s life. With over half oft he cards being Majors, it’s possible that she’s also working through some important karmic lessons about relationships. I also see a lotta Swords – challenges are afoot! Before she reaches her destination, there are things that need to be sorted out.

Next, I notice my favorite pattern: The Past, the Near Future, and the Likely Outcome. This shows me where she’s coming from – and where she’s heading. The Tower alerts me that she’s been through a massive deconstruction of her life (the divorce); the Ace of Wands shows a rebirth – and new opportunities; the Lovers shows a relationship is ahead. In short: she’s been through a tough break up but she’s put it behind her. She’s ready for a fresh start – and most likely will be taking initiative (Ace of Wands can symbolize an opportunity but also taking charge to create change). That initiative should lead to the outcome she desires.

Now, starting from the bottom, as I said before, the Tower in the past position indicates that her life has gone through a massive shakeup. The foundation she had carefully built was destroyed, which means she had to start completely over from scratch. It’s possible that the divorce came out of the blue – she may not have been expecting it. Even if she had, there was something shocking about it.

The reversed Three of Swords in the Near Past position shows that she has taken some time to work on her healing. After the storm hit, she needed a time out to grieve the loss of her marriage. It seems that this process is finally moving behind her.

The Two of Swords sits in the Present position, which means she’s getting ready to make some new decisions about her life. This may have to do with reentering the dating scene. Starting over is never easy, especially after a divorce. She is going into this cautiously – and not knowing what to expect. With the Strength as her obstacle, I see this combo as her being fearful of making the wrong decision. After working so hard to heal and get her strength back, she may be concerned about losing herself in a relationship. These two cards can also be seen as her not being 100% ready because she’s still finding her own power. Either way, the energy shows a bit of conflict and a desire to protect her heart (swords crossed over her heart chakra and the lion is connected to Leo, which rules the heart).

Next, I swing my attention to the card that symbolizes her – it’s the Magician. This is a great card to see. It indicates that she is able to stand in her power at this time. Even though there are reservations present with the previous two cards, it’s not going to get in the way of her manifesting a new relationship. She’s focused on what she wants and has all the resources she needs to overcome any issues she may encounter.

Her Environment card is the Seven of Swords – which I see two ways. For one, it reinforces the vibe of caution as she begins to step out of her comfort zone and into the dating world. But two, it’s also a card of theft – which means she may need to be careful to not rush things. It’s possible that some of the people who may show up in her dating life may be creeps or not who they say they are. A bit of caution will serve her well and help her to sidestep potential problems.

In the Hopes and Fears position, we also see another from the Swords suit – the Ten of Swords. To me, this says a fear of betrayal but also the hope of a fresh start. Mixed emotions – which seem pretty reasonable considering she’s been through her Tower moment in the past and this dating thing is still brand new. I don’t see the fear part as getting in the way of love happening – it’s just another layer to the cautious vibe she’s feeling.

Looking up to the top of the reading, we see the Sun as the Potential. This is a good omen indeed! It seems to say: although you need to be cautious, expect lots of fun! Once she starts putting herself out there, she may enjoy herself quite a bit. Yay!

In the Near Future, we have the Ace of Wands. Now, the Ace of Wands is one of my “hell yeah” cards in the Tarot deck, a sign that things are defo looking up. Also, it’s a symbol of a new beginning – and a passionate one at that. Notice that fire energy here with the Sun, Strength and now Ace of Wands. This feels like her love life is going to be heating up soon. Although there are still some cards that signal caution in this reading, this Ace says: go for it! The opportunity for love and passion are on the way. A new beginning is coming soon.

With the Lovers as the Likely Outcome, it’s a good bet that she’ll be meeting someone significant. A relationship is in the cards and it looks like it has the potential to be significant and positive. This reading seems to say: you’ve gone through a lot but ahead is the new relationship you desire. You can proceed with confidence, trusting in the Universe and your own judgment.

Let’s lay out the Majors to explore the karmic lesson and patterns:

Lesson: Strength – learning to overcome the challenges and stand in her own power.

Position: The Tower – the old is falling away, creating space for a new life.

Direction: The Sun – ahead, joy and happiness. The Sun shines again.

Reflection: The Magician + The Lovers – what does it mean to stand in your power – even when you’re in a relationship?

All in all, this reading seems to say that the worst is behind her – and love is ahead. There may be a few bumps in the road and times where she may need to be cautious, but that is not going to prevent her from finding the love she wants. The romantic forecast is bright indeed.



Your turn!

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

Lay out a Celtic Cross and journal your interpretations. Take your time!

Next month, we’re going to deconstruct the reading again. Yes, I’ve got MORE techniques to play with. Until then, keep shuffling!



© 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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