Hi everyone, today I am going to teach you all the ‘proper’ way to read a Celtic Cross using Tarot cards. The biggest part of the Celtic cross which causes the most confusion is position 5 and 6. Which one is the past and which one is the future? This post explains.
(This post was originally written back in 2015, but the method is still the same so I am sharing it on this blog).
On groups on Facebook, I see the question of how to read one posted a lot, so I am going to show everyone here. The way I am going to outline and explain appears in A.E Waite’s ‘Pictorial Key of the Tarot’ (1911). Waite is also known as one of the creators of The Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot deck. However, I am going to use my Dame Darcy's Mermaid Deck to teach you how to read a Celtic Cross because I like the contrast of using a modern deck for an ancient spread!
Here is my Celtic Cross:
Anyone who knows me knows that I built a big part of my business around my Facebook business pages. I actually have a couple of these pages, but I have recently discovered you can ‘merge’ all of your business pages into one super page. Therefore I did this reading on the question “what will happen if I merge all of my pages into a public figure page? Is it a good idea?” I will use the results of this reading to explain how to read a Celtic Cross.
Card 0: The Significator
I am calling this first card, Card 0 because it does not have a set number position for the Celtic Cross. However, it is very important. This card is going to determine the positions of the rest of the reading so do not skip this step. If you do not know how to select a significator, then head over to the Significator Selection post then scroll back once you have read it.
Here is my significator;
I have always represented myself as a Queen of Cups. I don't know why this is but it is probably because on my first deck that Queen had proper bleached blonde hair and was glamourous, and I wanted to be like that when I grew up lol
Next, you must take note of the direction which the figure on your card is looking (mines is looking to the left). It is important for the rest of the reading to make sense that you do not miss out this step. A misunderstanding of this is why so many resources on the Celtic Cross differ causing conflicts and confusions among readers.
The direction which the figure on your significator card is facing is going to determine where your positions 5 and 6 are. If the figure on the card looks to the right, then your past is to the left (behind them), and your future will be to the right (in front of them). If your figure is looking to the left, then your past is to the right, and the future is to the left. This is how Waite first outlined how a Celtic Cross should be read, but a misunderstanding of these facts have resulted in many books discounting the significator and giving conflicting information on which position the past and future should be in.
Card 1: What Covers the Seeker
Card one should cover the significator completely, as shown below. This is another area which causes confusion. This is position one NOT the Crossing Card (that’s card 2). When you cover your significator with this card it should look like this:
Notice how this card overlaps the Significator? This is why you must take note of the direction which the court is facing early on. You will need this information to determine what position you are going to read as the future.
Card 1 outlines the situation which the seeker finds themselves in. In a nutshell, it is what is going on in and around the seeker. It represents the seeker's life in general. It is not necessarily an obstacle; it just sets the tone for the seeker's general situation. Here is how it is read;
“For this position, I have the 4 of Cups which is, of course, a card of boredom and lack of excitement. Although my life is stressful, I do find myself doing the same things day in and day out. The majority of stuff I do are related to business and family as there isn’t much time for anything else. Wanting to change my page could be me just wanting to switch things up a bit instead of fixing a serious problem.”
See how that’s done? Try to always to make sure that in your analysis of a card you explain the card and then link it to the question or issue at hand (if there is one).
Card 2: This is what Crosses the Seeker
This card indicates the problem which the seeker is going through and why they have come for a reading. If you are reading for someone and they have not indicated what they would like to know about, then you can usually find the reasons in this card.
This card is known as a ‘Crossing Card’ because it crosses the card diagonally. Do not confuse this with Card One (previous card) which is called a ‘Covering Card’ because it completely covers the significator. A Crossing card crosses. Here is what the crossing card looks like:
It should be noted that if this card is positive but in a negative position like this one, you can read it one of two ways. A good card can indicate that the problem is not as serious as the seeker thinks it is. Another way is the card can take on the negative attributes of that card, for example, a 9 of Cups would tell me that things the seeker wishes for are not good for them.
I got a Court Card - The King of Pentacles - in this position, which is not really negative or positive. I would say a court in this position shows an attitude or ideal which the seeker is trying to reach for. I received the King of Pentacles:
“For this position, I have the King of Pentacles, which highlights that I am trying to be the ultimate business person and obviously make more money. I do feel that changing my page is a good business move. It will not only free up some of my time to concentrate on other things, but it will also be easier for me to run and compare business adverts.”
It should be noted that if I did not know the nature of this question, from this position I could probably tell that the seeker secretly wanted to know about business and/or making money. Therefore this spread is gold for those who have reluctant seekers!
Card 3: This is what Crowns the Seeker
This position usually shows the best the seeker can hope for out of the situation. It can also show where the seeker may be heading without making any changes to improve their situation. Often seekers get confused because this position seems to contradict with position 10.
You can have a 10 of Swords here but a 10 of Pentacles in the Outcome. This would tell me that the seeker is currently heading for ruin, makes changes, then receives the reward of the 10 of Pentacles.
If there were a 10 of Swords in the Outcome but a 10 of Pentacles in position 3, it would tell me that the seeker could have the 10 of Pentacles but because of something they need to change (and don’t) they end up with the 10 of Swords.
For this position, I got a Queen of Pentacles. Here is how I would read it:
“The best I can hope for in this situation is a Queen of Pentacles. The Queen of Pentacles is the female version of the King; generous and financially secure. Therefore, I would guess that merging my pages is a good idea.”
Card 4: This is what is Below the Seeker
This card represents the root of any anxiety which the seeker has. In a nutshell, it drives the psychological reasons why the seeker wishes to know what is going to happen in the future instead of letting it just be as it will be. This position represents something which has happened in the seeker's past.
For this position, I got Judgment:
“Judgment usually reminds me of a calling, the type of calling to do what it is you are meant to be doing. This card I got a lot when I started fortune telling again, and before then nothing went well for me. I have this underlying fear that the career I am in now will turn out not to be for me either and this is where a lot of my anxiety related to my work comes from. Judgment also usually symbolizes that if an opportunity is not taken, it can pass us by. I feel this burning need to strike while the iron is hot. People’s popularity can wear pretty quickly, and I have seen this happen to people close to me; they have been sought after readers one day then yesterday’s news the next. Therefore, I feel I should be putting my stamp on things, and one page which I can manage and control will provide a platform for this.”
It is common for seekers to be taken aback by some of the statements which you will make during your outline of position 4. This is usually because the ability to read into someone’s anxieties and where they come from can be quite shocking to those who do not read Tarot.
Card 5: What is Behind the Seeker
Note: I am reading The Hermit in this position (as the past) because my Significator (Card 0) is not facing this card (For the picture below I have removed cards 1 and 2 so that you can see what I mean about where my significator is facing). If it were, I would read The Hermit as the future. If you have not already, please read the Card 0: The Significator part of the article above.
I have removed cards 1 and 2 so that you can see where my significator is facing on my Celtic Cross. This is what the past and future looks like:
This position of the Celtic Cross concerns the recent past of the situation at hand. This is things which have happened in the past which still have an influence over the question. This position shows what has happened in the recent past to bring them here now, to want to make changes, etc.
For this position, I received The Hermit which is pretty self-explanatory.
“I read the Hermit as a caution. I would say in the past I was cautious with regards to my page; there were no pictures of me, I did not give anyone any reason to think I am as young as I am, etc. This is because people in this industry do not get judged on their time reading but their age. Now I am 25; I suppose it is time to get over that. Also, I used to be a bit of a lone wolf. Now I feel like I want to connect to my page and the people who like it more and a more personal platform will help me to do that”.
Card 6: What is in Front of the Seeker
This card tells us what they can expect in the very short term future. I estimate that it probably outlines the next 6 weeks to 3 months of the seeker's life. It is basically what they can expect post Tarot reading.
For this position, I got The Chariot:
“The Chariot to me represents triumph and moving towards a better state of being. I will say though that short term I may find myself running into some problems and conflicts: a lot of people may not be happy with the fact that I am merging my pages. I will need to take these things into account if I decide to do so”.
For the rest of the reading, we are going to focus on what is known as "The Staff" (pink) of the cross (blue), which is the line with 4 cards next to the actual cross. The presence of a staff is what makes this a Celtic Cross and not just a regular Cross Spread (which is a thing by the way). Here is the staff and the cross highlighted for your reference:
Card 7: The Seeker
This position outlines the seeker and their attitude towards the situation in general. Card 7 differs from a significator because significators are selected by the reader whereas Card 7 is a part of the reading and appears at random.
For this I got the Hanged Man:
“The Hanged Man makes me think that I am in limbo about my page. To be honest, my attitude is indifferent because the outcome could swing either way. I literally swing between wanting to get it done to not wanting to do it at all. I think that I will need to make some firm decisions or I am not going to do anything and remain in this situation, it is a tough one.”
Card 8: The Seeker’s House
This position outlines the environment which the seeker finds themselves in which influences the question. It could be situations and people around them, or it could be how they are viewed by the outside world.
For this position, I received The Page of Cups.
“It is actually funny I received this because it highlights my point that this position can be read as both how the seeker is viewed and another person. I think the fact this card is a Page kind of reinforces the fact that I am viewed as being quite young by a lot of seekers, and this might be off-putting. The fact I look younger than I am makes it worst! However, in some ways, I feel this card also represents another person who is influencing my decision. It is a young reader who has his page in the same format which I want mine. He is the same age as me but his page is phenomenally more successful. Seeing his success makes me wonder if merging my pages into one big page and having it how I want it will, in the end, be worthwhile.”
Card 9: Hopes and Fears
Card 9 is another position which often causes confusion. For simplicity, I would read a ‘positive’ card in this position as their hopes and negative cards as their ‘fears’. If you are into the law of attraction, you can pretty much gauge what they are putting out into the universe with this position. It also tells me if they are being realistic or not about their endeavours.
For this position I got the Page of Swords:
“I usually read Courts as neutral but Swords I always look at quite negatively. I would say I am trying to be impartial for what I hope or fear for in this situation. However, I do worry about the backlash which changing my page is going to cause. I worry that those who comment, like and share things on my page will be turned off and view it as a low move. The fact that I have two Pages so close together also mirrors this; I assume this means friends and associates will judge me unfairly. I will have to take this into account when I make the decision to merge my page or not.”
Card 10: The Outcome
This card shows the outcome which the seeker will get for the whole situation. It predicts the future long term. For this, I received the 3 of Cups:
“The 3 of Cups tells me that my plans to merge my pages would ultimately be successful and a good move. It predicts that I can lay back and celebrate my victories. I feel this is a definite sign I must merge my pages for a smoother running business.”
So that’s it, folks! If you would like to know, after I merged my pages it did grow substantially, to around 5000 likers. However, eventually I deleted my page recently, the reasons for doing so can be found on this post. And remember, if you're looking for Tarot spreads specifically for love, remember to check out the Love Tarot Spreads e-book!
If you would like to improve your Tarot skills, get more detail and give memorable readings which keep your clients coming back for more, feel free to check out the free PDF guide below. It's free and instantly downloadable on mobile, tablet and computer!
Cards used in this post are the Dame Darcy's Mermaid Tarot.