Most of the spreads on this page are all of my own design, and were
constructed to answer the types of questions I receive regularly
but which other spreads don't handle as well. Feel free to use these
and modify them to suit your own individual reading style. At the
bottom of the page I explain my Stream-of-Consciousness technique
for reading without spreads.
The Spread of Changes
Most spreads are good at assessing static situations. They give a
snapshot of thoughts, feelings, attitudes, and so on. Such spreads
are not ideal, however, for assessing dynamic situations - changes
in one's life or beliefs. To fill this void, I designed a spread
that is flexible enough for many different situations yet powerful
enough to provide a strong answer.
The layout is so simple that a diagram is unnecessary. The Spread
of Changes is made up of five cards arranged in a horizontal line,
dealt from left to right.
- Position One (far left)
- A past event or influence that is the root cause of
the change at hand. Something that is behind you but which is still having an
impact on your life.
- Position Two (near left)
- Your initial state. The attitude or opinion you held
before the change. How you saw yourself before the change, or how you think
- Position Three (center)
- The change itself, which may already have happened,
which may be in the process of manifesting itself or which may not occur for
- Position Four (near right)
- Your changed state. The attitude or opinion you hold
after the change. How you see yourself after the change, or how you want to
- Position Five (far right)
- A future event that will happen as a result of the
change. A new option that opens itself because of the change. A desired
The Elemental Pentacle
The pentacle has been said to symbolize many things throughout the
centuries, but the system with which the Elemental Pentacle spread
concerns itself is the attribution of each point of the pentacle to
one of the four elements (plus the pseudo-element Spirit). Each
point is also assigned one of the five magical virtues (To Know,
To Dare, To Will, To Keep Silent, and To Go). These help define the
The spread itself is laid out in the form of the pentacle, starting
with the upper point, then the lower left point, and proceeding
until the pentacle is completed with the card in the lower right.
Each point of the pentacle represents a different element, as shown
above. These elemental positions influence the cards that are placed
there; some elements naturally oppose each other. Fire and Water are
opposites, as are Earth and Air; they weaken when placed near each
other. This means that a Cup card in the Fire position loses a lot
of its power. Also, a strong Wand card in the Fire position will
gain strength, and will weaken the card in the Water position.
Here are what the five positions mean:
- 1. The topmost point - Spirit (To Go)
Represents outside influences in the matter, or the
essence of the matter (a synthesis of all the other cards and a key to the
reading as a whole). It may also show the best possible outcome of the
situation. A card in this position is made more powerful if it is a Major
Arcanum. The first position is not modified by any of the other positions.
- 2. The lower left point - Earth (To Keep Silent)
Represents stable energies in the situation, not
likely to change in the near future, lasting influences. May also represent
the foundation of the matter; why things are the way they are. This foundation
may be known or unknown to the seeker. The card in this position is
strengthened if it is a Pentacle or an Earth Major, but weakened if it is a
Sword or Air Major. This position is also modified by the card in the fourth
- 3. The upper right point - Water (To Dare)
Represents somewhat stable but still fluid energies,
which may change but are likely to remain. May also represent the action to
take at this point which would lead to the best outcome. The card in this
position has its power increased when it is a Cup or Water Major, and
decreased if it is a Wand or Fire Major. This position is influenced by the
- 4. The upper left point - Air (To Know)
Represents dynamic energies in the situation that are
likely to change in the future. Can also reveal a secret to the seeker, or
show them what they must know or learn in order to act. The card laid here is
made more powerful if it is a Sword or Air Major, and weaker if it is a
Pentacle or an Earth Major. The position itself is influenced by the second
- 5. The lower right point - Fire (To Will)
Represents those forces which are in a constant state
of change, or that are entering or leaving the matter. Also shows what the
seeker wants to do; the action which they are planning on taking at this time.
This position is influenced by the third position. The card here is made more
powerful when it is a Wand or a Fire Major, but weakened if it is a Cups card
or a Water Major.
The Heart Spread
This spread is designed to aid clients who want to know more about
the possibility for a relationship with a particular individual,
or the factors involved in an existing relationship. Romantic
relationships are almost always the subject, but this spread is
open-ended enough that any kind of relationship could potentially
be explored. Note that the spread does not tell anything about
the person the client asks about, it focuses on the relationship
as a whole. So for questions such as "Who is my true love?" this
spread would not work. But "Is John my true love?" could be
answered with a Heart Spread.
- Positions 1, 2, 3
These represent one group of factors, either in favor or the
relationship or acting against it. Based on the natures of the
cards you should be able to tell whether they are favorable or
unfavorable; by default it shows the forces in favor.
If you wish, this group can be treated as a
body/mind/spirit triad or something similar. The first card would then be a
physical factor in favor (or against), the second would be a mental factor,
- Positions 4, 5, 6
Essentially the same as the previous group, but it represents
the opposite of the first group. So if the first group shows
factors in favor, this second group shows factors against the
progress of the relationship. By default it is factors
- Position 7
Basically a synthesis of the first six cards, this
position shows how the relationship will most likely unfold or change in the
- Position 8
This is a "factor for change" position shows
something that can affect the outcome. If the outcome is favorable, this
position will show something to avoid; if the outcome is not favorable, look
here for a way to bring about something more desirable.
The Mountain Stream
So named because a mountain stream often switches channels while
still flowing down the hillside, the Spread of the Mountain Stream
is used to assess where a situation is going and what changes
should be made or avoided to favor the best outcome. The single
timeline branches into three lines, each of which can show a
different message and a different possible future.
- The distant past, the foundation of the matter and also the
reasons why it is so important now.
- The recent past, and any recent events which have served to
set events in motions
- The state of the situation at the time of the reading
- Can reflect the present state or show what kind of changes
are currently taking place.
- The short-term future of the situation, if nothing changes.
- The long-term future of the situation, if nothing changes
- A possibility for change, another option that can be taken.
- The long-term future of the situation, if the change that
is described by #7 is made.
- A second possibility for change
- The long-term future of the situation, if the change
that is described by #9 is made.
A variation of this spread involves removing cards 1, 6, 8, and
10 for a shorter and more localized spread. This is useful when
you are more concerned with short-term than long-term effects.
Laid out to resemble the sign of infinity, the Lemniscate Spread
is designed for giving advice and aiding decisions. Two different
views of the matter are contrasted and synthesized; usually these
will correspond to the client's two main choices in the matter.
By looking at the four cards for each question, it becomes easier
to see which option will be best for the client to pursue.
- The first option, from the emotional perspective
- The first option, from the spiritual perspective
- The first option, from the practical perspective
- Synthesis and outcome if the first option is taken
- The second option, from the emotional perspective
- The second option, from the spiritual perspective
- The second option, from the practical perspective
- Synthesis and outcome if the second option is taken
The Event Spread
This spread is the brainchild of a good friend of mine, Michael
Shannon, who uses it to analyze specific events in a client's life
or predict when they will likely happen. (I've made a couple of
modifications to his original design, most notably the addition of
a seventh card in the middle.) The layout is simple but powerful,
and it answers what are usually the six most important questions
on a client's mind.
- Who - could be the client or another person that will
play an important role in this event.
- When - can provide an explicit time frame or some other
occurence that must precede the event in question.
- Where - can provide an explicit location where the event
will take place, or a symbolic one.
- What - describes the event itself in terms of what will
happen or what impact it will have on the client's life.
- Why - The underlying cause of the event; when properly
understood the card in this position can often be used to
speed up the occurence of the event.
- How - How the event will manifest; there may be some
surprises here if something is going to turn out differently
than the client expects.
- An optional card, used when necessary to
provide a summary of the reading or clarify any ambiguities (especially
in the second and third positions).
Reading Without Spreads
To become a really versatile reader, I believe that you must be able
to do readings without spreads of any kind. I personally feel that,
spreads sometimes can't explain everything you want answered. When
those times come, you can try to find a spread online that suits
your purpose, or you can make a new one, but the easiest thing to
do is simply to go without spreads of any kind.
Spread-based reading is like writing down a list of questions you
want to ask, and then handing it to someone else for answers. This
works well if you have a fixed list of questions to ask, but if
there's something else you want to know, or if one of the answers
you get is ambiguous, or if a particular card makes you think of
more questions, you have no second chances - the monologue is over.
If you don't use spreads, on the other hand, you can treat your
reading as a two-sided conversation - you ask a question, you get
an answer, then you ask another question, and get another answer.
This is the natural way to communicate, and after a few practice
runs to get used to it, the answers flow very naturally. You can
ask almost any question, and get a complete answer in the span of
time it takes to turn over one card.
I refer to this method as Stream-of-Consciousness reading, because
you're basically asking questions as you think them up, and getting
answers just as quickly. You're basically writing the story as you
go along, pausing only to contemplate the cards you lay out. The
best thing about this method is that everything is up to you - how
you lay out the cards you draw (if at all), how many questions you
ask at a time and how specific they are. There are no restrictions
except those that you decide to impose, to bring structure to the
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