Four Beginner-Friendly Tarot Spreads

The sheer number of Tarot spreads available can be overwhelming to a Tarot beginner. Nearly every book on reading the cards offers an array of several, along with a description of what each position means. The spread that’s most familiar – largely because it’s the one used in the little white book that comes with every Tarot deck – is the Celtic Cross layout. With ten cards and rather oblique position names, it’s also one of the more complicated and confusing. These four layouts are ones that are relatively simple to learn and easy to lay out, making them particularly friendly for beginners.

Side Note: The spread chosen for a particular reading can make it easier or harder to read. Consider the purpose of the reading, and the information the reader hopes to learn from it, then choose a spread with positions that best fit the purpose.

A Yes/No Spread

While the Tarot is designed to give complex, in-depth answers to difficult questions, but sometimes a reader simply wants a yes or no answer to a simple question. A yes/no spread is also a good starter for session that will explore reasons more in depth.


  1. Shuffle the cards, making sure to turn them so that some of the cards are inverted during the shuffling.
  2. Start turning over cards in a pile, one by one.
  3. When an ace turns up, upright or reversed, start a new pile.
  4. When a pile reaches 14 cards without an ace, start a new pile.
  5. Make three piles in all.
  6. If there are no aces, the answer is unclear.
  7. If there are only upright aces, the answer is a clear yes.
  8. If there are only reversed aces, the answer is a clear no.
  9. When there is one upright and one reversed ace, it could go either way.
  10. If there are two reversed and one upright, the answer is no. If there are two upright and one reversed, the answer is yes.

Three-Card Past Present Future Spread

This is a good spread for determining the basis of a situation and considering the next steps to take. Many readers use it when they’re looking for simple guidance in a fairly straightforward situation.


  1. Shuffle the cards thoroughly and draw three cards randomly from the deck.
  2. Lay them out horizontally from left to right, with the past card on the left, the present in the center and the future on the right.
  3. Read the cards in sequence, attempting to apply them to the situation in which guidance is sought.

Five Card Daily Reading

A daily reading is a good way to “take the temperature” for the day – to figure out what to expect and where to place your focus to best meet your goals. This five-card reading is designed specifically for daily readings.


  1. Shuffle the cards thoroughly and lay out a horizontal row of five cards. Read the cards as follows.
  2. Environment: the general atmosphere of the day, what the mood of the day is likely to be.
  3. Challenges: This card describes challenges or difficulties that may arise
  4. Known: This card describes the day’s expectations, things that are known that may affect any plans.
  5. Unknown: This card describes unexpected happenings that may throw a monkey wrench into the day’s plans.
  6. Best Advice: The card in the final position suggests a lesson to be learned or the skills that will help reach a goal.

Seven Card Horseshoe Spread

The seven-card horseshoe spread is a good choice when the reader is seeking answers to a fairly complex situation. Its positions include some that reveal subconscious motivations and outside influences on a matter.


  1. Shuffle the cards thoroughly and lay out seven cards in a rough horseshoe shape, from left to right.
  2. The past.
  3. The present.
  4. Hidden influences
  5. The current situation
  6. Attitudes of others and how they affect the outcome
  7. Advice
  8. Outcome