Card Layouts

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The very popular Celtic Cross card layout

A card layout, also known as a card spread is a pre-set pattern in which a card reader displays cards for a sitter or querent. Card layout patterns range from quite intricate designs like the Celtic cross, the wheel of the year, or the star to the straightforward rows of seven layout, the three card cut, and even the one card draw. Some layouts, like the grand tableau, use all of the cards in the deck, but most utilize only a portion of them.

The one card draw is the simplest layout of all. It may be employed to answer a specific yes or no question.

The ever-popular three card cut may be used to perform a divination the querent's past, present and future, or to give a broad look at what is to come. When three rows of three card cuts are laid out, the result is informally known as the tic-tac-toe layout.

Other common spreads, employed when addressing a life reading or a complex situation, may involve laying out a specific number of cards in the form of a rectangle, a triangle, a rainbow arc, a circle, or an eight-pointed star. These layouts generally involve from 8 to 12 cards, the rest being set aside unused.

There are also layouts in which the entire deck is placed on the table in rows, but only certain cards are actually counted in the reading -- for instance the four aces or the court cards -- and their positions within the layout will tell the story of the querent's situation and the outcome that can be expected. In other layouts, such as the grand tableau, all of the cards in the deck are laid out and all of them are read with respect to their relationship to nearby and distant cards.

In most layouts each position that a card may occupy has a special designation or meaning. For instance --

• In the Celtic cross spread, the position for card #2 always indicates what the client is being challenged or blocked by, while cards #3 and #4 are the past and the future.

• In the three card cut, the first card may represent the past, the second card the present, and the final card the future.

• In the wheel of the year layout, consisting of 12 cards, card #7 always signifies the querent's partner, lover, or spouse.

Experienced card readers generally are familiar with several or many card spreads. Some may have a favourite layout which they use consistently, while others vary their format for laying out the cards in order to create a spread that they feel best fits the nature of the sitter's question or current situation. Spreads may also be selected for a client depending on how much time was booked: a three-card cut may take ten minutes to read but a wheel of the year is generally a one hour reading.


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