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.

The Memento Tarotcise

In our last tarotcise, we deconstructed the Celtic Cross by laying it out horizontally in order, from the first card to the last one chosen. This allows for the reader to see the story unfolding like a storyboard for a movie. This is a wonderful way to look at the Celtic Cross with new eyes – and it can lead to interesting insights.

Now it’s time to shake that up a bit more with my Memento Tarotcise!

This Tarotcise is based on the movie, Memento, a psychological drama starring Guy Pearce as a guy who wants to solve his wife’s murder – but his short term memory is making it impossible for him to sort it out. He has to keep going back to the past, bit by bit, and write down memories – or tattoo them on his body – in order to unravel they mystery. It’s tense, well-acted, and one of my fave flicks.

Here’s the trailer for it:

Here’s what to do:

First, do a regular Celtic Cross reading. Then, take your Celtic Cross spread and lay the cards out in a straight line from the first card pulled (present moment) to the last one (the likely outcome).

Now, read the cards from right to left as if you are trying to solve a mystery. Look at each card as a clue to what created the likely outcome. This challenging Tarotcise is a fun way to see how the cards go together and what decisions are leading to the final card. Plus, if you look back, you may be able to understand what you need to change in order to determine a better outcome if you don’t like what the cards are showing.

Let’s try this out! Using the reading 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


Now let’s lay it out horizontally just as we did in the Storyboard Tarotcise:

Breaking Down the Celtic Cross - Lesson 16: The Storyboard Tarotcise

If we scan the cards, we see it starts out with the Two of Swords and ends up with The Lovers. Starting with the Lovers, a happy omen for relationships, we want to begin looking back at how she got into this good place.

The Ten of Swords indicates that there was a lot of drama before she found love. Most likely, this was based on deception (Seven of Swords). Someone tricked her (The Magician), perhaps through sexual attraction (Ace of Wands). This may have made her happy for a time (The Sun) but the Three of Swords reversed and the Tower shows a relationship based on a faulty and unstable foundation. While passion can be an attractive incentive, it’s not enough to hold a relationship together (Strength). Her passion overrode her good senses and perhaps blinded her (Two of Swords).

This backwards method is a great way to get to the heart of the reading. In this case, we might see that the querent was blinded by her passions – and this lead to her making poor choices in romantic partners. If she has learned anything from the previous relationship, it may be that she needs to remain centered on a healthy and balanced relationship, one that is fueled by love and mutual interest instead of pure passion.


Your turn!

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

Lay out a Celtic Cross and interpret it. Then, lay it out in the Memento formation and read the cards from right to left. What clues does this add to your original reading?

Next month, we’re going to look at a few other methods that may enhance your tarot skills and add layers to your Celtic Cross. 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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