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Books on reading spreads as a whole?


I'm new to reading Tarot and wondering if there are any books or other resources that help teach you to learn to read spreads, not just the cards themselves. I have a pretty good grasp on the card interpretations, but I'm not sure how to relate a card's meaning to its position in a spread and thus its significance in the reading as a whole. Ideally, the book would contain a good number of different spreads and how to determine the best spread for a particular reading, as well. Anything like this out there?
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I have three books about spreads.

Power Tarot by MacGregor/Vega has a lot of good spreads but only a very short chapter about "Fitting it all together". So not what you're looking for.

Barbara Moore's book about spreads is great, digging much deeper, even a bit overwhelming at times, certainly for a beginner. But I definitely recommend her book.

Also very good and probably best for a beginner is Tierney Sadler's excellent companion book to her Deck of 1000 Spreads. While she explains how to use the deck (which I also find an excellent tool in designing spreads, interpreting and documenting them), she also explains the principles of spread structure and how to read them.

ETA: And of course read here on AT! Excellent readers in reading exchanges where you can see how it's done ;-)

My very first tarot book, Spiritual Tarot - 78 Paths to Personal Development by Echols/Mueller/Thomson deals with card meanings but it has a very interesting and section about spread interpretation with examples. While I find some of their interpretations overly positive and thus a bit bland, they explain how cards in a spread influence each other, and how a complete picture appears.

So these are good to read. But actually the best way of getting "fluent" in the tarot is practice, practice, practice. Read for yourself or others until things start falling into place.
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I think what you want is books that have a lot of readings in them so you can see how another reader applies meanings to cards in various spreads. Look at this post in the Forum Index for a whole list of books that focus on readings.

Using Tarot Cards, Your Readings and Reading Exchange/Reading Circles are all forums you might want to look at to see how folks interpret cards from readings.

Rodney
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Rodney, this is wonderful, there are still so many corners of AT I didn't discover. Wouldn't have jumped in had I known this list. There's so much work of love in these boards.
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Mary K. Greer's 'Tarot for Your Self 'has a very thorough chapter on the Celtic Cross (and transmutations of it, which is interesting).

Also, Catherine Chapman's 'Tarot Elements' blog has a 3 part tutorial on reading the celtic cross and going deep with it. It's great and, because it's a blog, free!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nemia View Post
I have three books about spreads.

Power Tarot by MacGregor/Vega has a lot of good spreads but only a very short chapter about "Fitting it all together". So not what you're looking for.

Barbara Moore's book about spreads is great, digging much deeper, even a bit overwhelming at times, certainly for a beginner. But I definitely recommend her book.

Also very good and probably best for a beginner is Tierney Sadler's excellent companion book to her Deck of 1000 Spreads. While she explains how to use the deck (which I also find an excellent tool in designing spreads, interpreting and documenting them), she also explains the principles of spread structure and how to read them.

ETA: And of course read here on AT! Excellent readers in reading exchanges where you can see how it's done ;-)

My very first tarot book, Spiritual Tarot - 78 Paths to Personal Development by Echols/Mueller/Thomson deals with card meanings but it has a very interesting and section about spread interpretation with examples. While I find some of their interpretations overly positive and thus a bit bland, they explain how cards in a spread influence each other, and how a complete picture appears.

So these are good to read. But actually the best way of getting "fluent" in the tarot is practice, practice, practice. Read for yourself or others until things start falling into place.
I was actually going to pick up Power Tarot, so thanks for mentioning that. I think I'll skip it for now. I will take a look at the others you mentioned. I have been practicing, and I already have a had a few people volunteer to be test subject for readings. I just find it very overwhelming at times because I am not sure how the cards relate to one another, and each card has many interpretations so without understanding the relationship between them, it's difficult to hone in on which one is relevant. I downloaded the Galaxy Tarot app to help me study the cards while I wait for my physical deck to arrive in the mail (tomorrow!). The most helpful aspect of it so far has been the section where it discusses the prevalent symbolism in a spread because I get better idea of what seemingly unrelated cards have in common, which sometimes gives the reading "direction" for me. I am so nervous about reading for others because most of the time when I read for myself, I determine which meaning to apply based on what I know applies to me. It will be a challenge to select the relevant information from a card for someone who I don't know as intimately as I know myself.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rwcarter View Post
I think what you want is books that have a lot of readings in them so you can see how another reader applies meanings to cards in various spreads. Look at this post in the Forum Index for a whole list of books that focus on readings.

Using Tarot Cards, Your Readings and Reading Exchange/Reading Circles are all forums you might want to look at to see how folks interpret cards from readings.

Rodney
AT is already becoming a great resource for me. I've exhausted the threads in the index on one of the boards about using the cards, and I am now perusing the Your Readings board. I intend to start a journal, so between that and the forum, I might skip books altogether - at least until I have a better understanding of and relationship with my deck. Thanks again.

And thank you to all the other responders, I love how helpful this community is. I will definitely review your suggestions.
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In his videos, John Ballantrae recommends somewhere to look at a tarot card
a) as if it was a movie poster. What would you expect from the movie that is advertised here? Who is the hero? What is his journey? What would be the title of the movie, and to which genre would it belong? This is great if you look at ONE card; it helps you develop the narrative muscle.

b) as if it was a movie still. What came before, what will happen next? and how is it connected to the name of the spread position? or the next card? This is helpful for the next step: when you start relating cards to spread positions and to other cards appearing in a spread.

I found this exercise clever.

And my own metaphor for connecting the dots comes from art history. You know how people look at Impressionist or Pointillist paintings in a museum? They see the picture from afar and see a lake with a bridge or a field of poppy flowers. And then they come closer and see colorful dots. And they step back again. And forth.

You do something similar with a tarot spread. You see the whole picture - you see the parts. This shifting focus is great fun once you feel more secure with it. You can learn it without books.

I use the Deck of 1000 spreads for an exercise (game) that you can play without the deck, too. The idea is from Mary Greer - permutations. Take one card and interpret it as "your greatest strength", "a challenge ahead" or "hopes and fears". This will bring out different facets of the card and give you a more secure feeling of the card's meaning.

The better you know the cards, the easier it becomes to see it "flow" in the narrative of a spread.

In the end, I guess cards can teach us more than books can... or at least as much.
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Barbara Moore's book is THE book for this topic. She talks quite a bit about how we process patterns and why we will read a column of cards differently than a line of cards etc etc
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I'm also in favor for Barbara Moore's book about spreads. I'm reading it right now and it's awesome. Very interesting and I love how she inspires the reader to be creative with spreads and adjusting them to fit current needs.
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