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These are taken from around the internet...I'm studying, although, I have to say I don't really use the positional meanings for anything except for specific dates. I've been a reader for ten years now and I'm just doing a refresher.
Card 1: The present
Card 2: The immediate challenge facing the querent. You will often pull a difficult card here, which will indicate an obstacle that must be overcome. When you pull a "good" card here, examine it carefully because it will still represent a challenge.
Card 3: Distant past, foundation. This card should indicate the root of the subject matter of the question.
Card 4: More recent past, including events. This will indicate events taking place, not necessarily directly connected to the question. For example, if a love affair is going wrong, Card 3 would show the root of why it is going wrong, whereas Card 4 will show something that recently happened to reflect this. You could see this as a "check comment" card - a way of seeing that the reading is sound.
Card 5: The best that can be achieved. This is directly related to the question. Note that this may not necessarily gel against Card 10 - it depends whether you are able to get the best. However, a negative card here probably means that it is worth cutting your losses rather than putting any more effort into the situation.
Card 6: Immediate Future. This indicates events in the next 2 weeks. This reading does not cover months.
Card 7: Factors or inner feelings affecting the situation. Compare this against Card 1 in order to understand underlying forces/trends. If there is conflict between them this tends to indicate that the querent is going in the wrong direction.
Card 8: External influences. People, energies or events which will affect the outcome of the question and are beyond the querent's control.
Card 9: An event that will occur before the outcome that card 10 foretells. This just represents more information on how the next month will proceed.
Card 10: Final outcome. This is a fairly self explanatory card. However it is worth saying that if the card comes up somewhat ambiguous, once again it may be worth drawing three extra cards to clarify. These should be interpreted through the lens of Card 10. So if the card drawn is the Tower and we draw the Ace of Cups, Princess of Cups and Four of Cups in a reading about a relationship, the Tower would indicate that it is time to move on. The Ace of Cup suggests that a new relationship is promised with better things ahead. The Princess of Cups brings new love (and possibly pregnancy). The Four of Cups shows deep levels of contentment and happiness, and many options for progress.
And I, personally, never use a significator, but here's a meaning and explanation:
This card is not part of the actual reading, but believed by some to help direct the energies toward the reading’s goal by signifying the purpose of the reading. The significator card simply represents the seeker, or his situation. While some readers use a significator with the Celtic Cross spread, others omit it all together. The choice is yours.
If using a significator card, it should be chosen first when sitting down to do a reading. It can be done by having the seeker select a card blindly at random, or by the reader going through the deck and choosing a specific card that she feels represents the individual or the particular situation. Place the card face-up in the center of the table.
Once you have settled yourself for a reading, chosen your significator (if you are using one), your seeker has formulated a question, and the cards have been shuffled and cut, you are ready to lay out the cards. The cards should be placed as follows:
Position 1: On top of the significator, if you are using one, or in the center of the reading space.
When you are shuffling the cards, or when you are laying out the spread, pay particular attention to cards that seem to “jump” or fall out of the deck. Usually, these cards have something specific to say regarding the issue at hand. They could indicate another person or another issue that is closely tied to the seekers situation, so much so that it is influencing the events at hand.
Put them aside for the moment, and examine them when interpreting the reading.
Just as each card holds its own meaning, each position holds its own meaning. To interpret the lay-out, the reader must consider the card in relation to its position, as well as cards in other positions. One common way to interpret each card in its position is the following:
Position 1, at the heart of the layout, the card in this position shows the seeker or the situation as it is in the present. Position 2 shows what “crosses” the seeker. What are the current obstacles or oppositions that the seeker is dealing with? This card could also represent a secondary issue, or reinforce the present situation revealed in position 1.
Position 3 shows the root of the issues at hand-- subconscious motives, or underlying influences that have brought the seeker to the current situation. It may also reveal hidden or unknown factors. Position 4 shows the past– the events that have taken place, bringing the seeker to his current position. These issues may or may not be resolved, or may be something the seeker needs to let go of once and for all.
Position 5 reveals the seeker’s conscious mind– his attitudes, his motives, his feelings about the situation. The majority of the time, it is not the situation, but our perceptions of it that make the difference between happiness and misery. Position 6 shows the near future, or the next major event regarding the issue. This can be an action (something the seeker will do, or that will be done to the seeker), inaction (new feelings or thoughts that may arise, or a passing an opportunity to do something), or an unexpected turn of events.
Position 7, the bottom card of the staff, reveals how the seeker views himself, or the internal resources (talents, abilities, strengths) that the seeker should tap into in order to deal with the situation.
Position 8 represents the external forces that the seeker has little control over. This can be how others view the seeker or the situation, or that which is surrounding the seeker. Position 9 shows the seekers hopes and fears. What are the seekers expectations of the outcome? What does he want to happen, or what does he dread happening?
Position 10 reveals the ultimate outcome of the situation if the seeker continues on his current course. Remember, this possible future can be altered if the seeker does something to change his course. Go through the reading once, considering each card’s meaning in its respective position, and what it is telling you about the seeker or the issue at hand.
There are generally three different schools of thought on reversed, or upside-down, cards in a reading. One school of thought states that the reversed card indicates the opposite meaning of the card drawn. This appears logical to some people because the reverse of something is generally the opposite. Therefore, a card generally meaning love will indicate hatred if reversed, a card meaning failure will indicate success, and so forth.
Another school of thought says that if your cards are coming out reversed, you simply turned part of the deck in the shuffle. The logic behind this is that there are 78 cards in a standard tarot deck, each with a very detailed meaning. If the reading meant to show ill health, it would show a card specifically meaning ill health– not a good health card upside-down. People who follow this school of thought generally ignore that a card is reversed, or will turn the card right-side up and continue with the reading.
The third way of thinking on this situation is that reversed cards do not mean the opposite, but indicate the card shows those particular influences are of lesser importance, or are affecting the situation to a lesser extent. For example, a card indicating a financial gain reversed would simply mean it would not be a very significant sum. A card indicating a journey that shows up reversed would indicate the trip would have little to do with the matter at hand, and no impact on the outcome.
Since the reader is the one interpreting the cards, the reader must follow his own intuition on this point. What seems right, or more logical, to you? There are no hard-and-fast rules, and, as you can see, no clear-cut agreement, so it is best to simply go with the method that you feel makes the most sense.
Certain cards work together. After examining them individually, look at some of the key combinations and see how they relate to each other:
Positions 4, 1, and 6, show a sequence of events. How does each one affect the next? Positions 3, 5 and 9 show what is going on within the seeker on different levels. Are there any conflicts between subconscious motives and his train of conscious thought? Does he have unrealistic expectations, or unnecessary worries?
Positions 7 and 8 show the behavior and feelings of the seeker in comparison to that which is going on around him. Is his behavior productive? Counter-productive? Is there something he can change about himself or how he is handling the situation to counter-act that which he cannot control? Positions 6 and 10 show upcoming events and the final outcome. How do the upcoming events contribute to the outcome? Does the card in position 6 indicate something that should be avoided or embraced with consideration of the final outcome?
You may find yourself stuck in a reading. You may look at a card and be completely baffled by it. You have no clue of how it fits in with the other cards in the reading. Could it be a mistake? Are you missing the message? What are you going to tell the reader?
A clarifier is an additional card drawn in attempts to gain better insight or further understand a card in the spread. Its purpose is to clarify the meaning indicated by another card. Place the clarifier on top of, or next to, the card that is giving you trouble, and take it into consideration when interpreting the difficult card. Clarifiers can be drawn right off the top of the deck, or you can spread out the deck and draw a card you feel drawn to. The method is up to you. In many readings, you may never need a clarifier, however if the situation arises that you think one will help, don’t hesitate to draw two or three to help you make sense of a reading.
PUTTING IT TOGETHER
Think of a reading as telling a story. The story starts with the seeker’s current state (position 1), and what may be his biggest current problem (position 2). Next, go into what has propelled the seeker into that situation (positions 3 and 4). Examine how the seeker feels about the current situation (position 5). What is in store for the seeker next (position 6)? What will be going on inside of the seeker at this time (position 7), and what will be going on around him (position 8)? What are his main expectations or concerns (position 9). Finally, if things go unaltered, what will be the result (position 10).
1. Look at the six cards of the Circle/Cross section. They show what is going on in your life at the moment of the reading.
2. Examine the cards in pairs, perhaps in the following order:
◦ Look at Cards 1 and 2 to find out the central dynamic.
◦ Look at Cards 3 and 5 to find out what is going on within you at different levels.
◦ Look at Cards 4 and 6 to see how people and events are flowing through your life.
3. From these six cards, create a description of your immediate situation.
4. Consider the Staff section of the spread, perhaps in this order:
◦ Look at Cards 7 and 8 to find out how more about the relationship between you and your environment.
◦ Look at Card 10 - the projected outcome. How do you feel about it? What does it say to you?
6. Review the cards to discover the factors leading to the outcome. See if one card stands out as key. Also:
◦ Compare the projected outcome (Card 10) to a possible alternative outcome (Card 5).
◦ Consider how the near future (Card 6) contributes to the projected outcome (Card 10).
◦ See if Card 9 tells you something you need to know. Do you have a hope or fear that is relevant?
This is a common layout I'm seeing online, with the 3rd and 4th card reversed, it wasn't how I was taught, and not what I personally use, but I'll post it here:
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