How to Create Your Own Tarot Spread in 4 Easy Steps! (+Free Worksheet Download!)
Are you still waiting for the perfect spread to be created - for your exact question, exact needs and exact situation that you want to pull cards for? Bored of the formal spreads and craving for some unique personality-filled spreads that speak to you and your interests?
Well, wait no longer. You can create your very own tarot spread from scratch. Today.
Let’s get straight into it.
Why creating tarot spreads is a super awesome thing to do
Tarot spreads aren’t for everyone. Some people prefer to not use a preexisting template for their readings - they prefer to allow the cards to arrange themselves, guided by synchronicity, divine timing and intuition. If you’re kind of “meh” with tarot spreads, then I challenge you to keep calm and read on to see if I can change your mind. :) (If not, oh well. Thanks for sticking around and giving it shot!)
And if you’re here for some serious spread crafting tips and walkthroughs, then aw yeh! Welcome, welcome!
I’ve always loved creating tarot spreads. There’s something very practical and magical about it - but I don’t think spread creation is something cardslingers actively engage in when pursuing a tarot practice…even if you’re interested in spreads and perhaps occasionally producing one or two for your own sake or others’.
A tarot spread, for me, is like a journey we embark on. Or a journey that we’ve created for others to embark on. When I create a tarot spread, I am always expressing my thoughts, my interests, my passions, and my approaches to a certain topic. If say you’ve tried my spread on self-love, or my spread on shining your light, then you’ll know exactly what I think about the topic just from looking at my spread positions. You’ll know where I stand when it comes to self-love and you’ll know what I think one should do to achieve or practice self-love. It’s kind of like my philosophy and worldview encapsulated in a layout.
Similarly, when you are trying out spreads that others have made - you’re kind of tapping into their perspectives a little bit, too.
Interesting, right? A tarot spread isn’t just a layout of cards or “suggestions” how you can interpret the card. It’s a practical + super expressive “template’ or one’s individuality, philosophy and guide on a particular topic.
Why you might want to create your own tarot spreads!
First and foremost, it’s fun and a great way to engage with your tarot practice + express yourself creatively. Like mentioned before, it’s almost like you’re customizing a journey for others to embark on.
Secondly, you don’t need to spend hours searching on Google or Pinterest for the perfect spread. You can just make one from scratch whenever you need it. You can create fun spreads that really speak to you. You can turn your interests and passions into spreads and share them with others. You can reinvent traditional spreads like the Celtic Cross and make it your own.
And if you’re a tarot professional or aspiring to be one, you can create unique tarot spreads that will become your unique tarot offerings. And only YOU will have those spreads in the tarot world. They’ll be your specialty! And if you’re a different kind of professional - an artist or a deck creator - you might want to create a few original spreads to go with your original deck. I mean, that’s only fitting, right? You’ll want to put your personality and creativity all over it.
The 4-Step Spread Creation Process
Alright. Let's get this party started - shall we?
Step One: Identify Purpose
When you're creating your tarot spread, you want to begin with the end in mind. What are you trying to achieve with this tarot reading? What insight are you hoping to gain? Are you trying to create a spread that will help you heal, solve problems, or connect with your spirit guides?
When you begin with the end in mind, coming up with spread positions will become much easier because you will seek to create spread positions that are going to help you achieve your purpose.
Step Two: Spread Positions
Now that you know what your end spread purpose is, you'll have to think about what questions you need to ask or what positions you need to include in order to get there. Consider what needs to come first. For example, you might want to establish the context of the situation first in order to tell a coherent story - so you may begin your spread with "past-present-future" so you can capture the general dynamics of the situation you are in right now, and then proceed to add more cards depending on what you need at the moment. You may also start the spread with positions like "The Situation", "The Querent" or "Current Energy" to establish the context for your spread. My personal favourite is "Your Story" or "Hero"- which outlines what your "story" is / who you are as the "hero of your own story" at the moment and how your narrative is unfolding.
Once you've decided on how you begin the spread, think about what you still need to include in order to achieve your spread purpose (remember, that was our first step!) When creating spread positions and deciding how to properly sequence them, consider how you would make sense of the situation and what you need to know first, and do your best to align the positions to your spread purpose. If you are creating a spread to boost your confidence, what spread positions do you need - based on your understanding of what confidence is and how to achieve it? Maybe you need a position for "self-love" because that is a big part of confidence, or maybe you're anxiety prone so you need a position to address things that trigger your anxiety.
Always refer to your own understanding + knowledge of the topic you are tapping into, then transfer your insights into the spread by turning them into spread positions.
Step Three: Shape & Size
After you've completed the spread position - you're basically done the bulk of the spread! When it comes to shape and size, I personally think this is more of an aesthetic detail compared to the topics you want to address that are communicated through spread positions - or the message you are trying to highlight with the spread positions.
Having that said, the shape and the size of the spread are definitely still key elements to an interesting and functional spread. After all, how the cards are spread can affect how they are read and interpreted during a reading. By placing cards in certain ways, you can create interesting dynamics. Are cards going to oppose each other? Are they going to be adjacent to each other?
When making decisions on the shape and size - consider how you can add meaning to your spread and how you can further emphasize your spread purpose. Going back to that confidence spread - maybe something that you identify as symbolizing confidence is the sun, so you place the cards in a layout that resemble the shape and rays of the sun. This way, you are adding to the overall theme of your spread by creating an additional layer of symbolism.
For size, consider how the number of cards can influence the length of a reading, and how it may affect the shape that you create. You can assign and attach numerological meanings to your spread to add even more layers of symbolism and to make this spread extra special and purposeful.
Step Four: Finalize
Once you've done your spread, it is time to test-drive! The best way to do this is to obviously take out a deck of tarot cards and do a reading using the spread that you've just created. When test-driving your spread, check for things like flow, your own satisfaction, and if the spread positions are ordered in a way that makes sense to your brain. Maybe you find out that you want to begin with the "why" and some shadow work spread positions instead of a card that outlines the situation now. Maybe you want to start in your deep past because that's where the energy is gravitating towards.
When test-driving and finalizing your tarot spread, don't worry about what's right or wrong or how spreads are supposed to look like. Focus on your own creativity, your own authenticity, your own needs and your own understanding - and how you can make creative decisions to achieve what you want & express yourself.
And of course, the most important question to ask is: Does this spread achieve your purpose? If it doesn't, what can you change so that it does? And if it doesn't fit your original purpose but you still feel like it's served a purpose - you can also accept that your intentions have changed during this creative process and be happy with what you have created.
Remember, Your spread doesn't need to look like any other spread that are out there and it doesn't need to be perfect. It just needs to be perfectly yours.
And that's it! That's the 4-Step Spread Creation Process in a nutshell!
If you want to learn more about the 4-step Creation Process and other interesting things like
How to modify pre-existing tarot spreads
How to create spreads with fun themes and figurative elements
How to create spreads that become your unique tarot offerings for your tarot biz
How to create spreads for your original tarot or oracle deck
…consider enrolling in my Tarot Spread Machine Course: Everything You Need to Know About Creating Tarot Spreads! (Coming in October!) It's a 6-chapter self-paced "quest" (with add-on’s available) that you can start and finish any time, with tons of practical content and resources to enable you to become the ultimate spread making machine in less than a week. Not to mention that it's super affordable so you definitely don't want to miss out. ♥
Anyway. I hope this blog post has helped you level up your tarot spread crafting skills and maybe make you fall in love with it a little. :)
See you next time and stay awesome!