Does the physical placement of cards in a spread matter?


Hi, sorry if this sounds dumb, but I am wondering if the physical placement of cards matters. For example, if I know I will pull 5 cards, and each card is to answer a specific intention/question, does it matter if I put them all 1 2 3 4 5? Or starting from the middle and fanning out, like 4 2 1 3 5?

I guess I don't understand the signficance of the various spread arrangements, though I do understand the type of question each card is to address. The various spreads sound interesting (ie, relationship spread, career spread, etc) but do you really have to physically place cards out in a specific shape if you know what questions each is addressing?

Seems like it would be easiest just to know your question and assign it a card number and go from there, but I don't know...

Thanks, I am learning.


Quite truthfully, if you are making the spread up as you go, and some of us do, it doesn't matter where or how you put the cards. However, once you formalize a spread you made up, because you feel the questions are best in a particular order, you should always place the cards in the same pattern that you've predetermined.

If you are using someone else's printed spread, you should lay them out in the order designated. Once I watched someone do a celtic spread, but they laid out the cards in any-which order, then started to read them in the formal manner. I said that Card # 1 is the first card you placed on the table, card #2 should be the second...etc. They said this is how they always did it. In my way of thinking, card #6 off the pack is card #6 and should be read as such.


I have an eight-card spread that I really like and the placement of the cards is important because the cards usually relate to each other. Sometimes it's as specific as the person in one card looking at another, or swinging a sword or club in the direction of another, sometimes it's just the advise card directly below the challenges/opportunities card telling how to handle the challenge. The Present below the Self gives more information about the Self in the present.



quan_yin (30 Nov, 2001 03:46):

I have learned, the people here do not believe in "dumb questions" are you going to learn if you don't ask...

I am not an expert, but when I lay my cards out (use celtic cross and now Talisman's cup) I say (mumble) what the placement is. I also do the spread the same way ever time. you put the card in position 5 say "the past", as you put the card in postion 6 you say "the near future"..and so on..

Hope this helps.



I also stick to the way I spread the cards. I tell ppl before the spread that I place card soandso in place soandso as there are different ways (ie in the Celtic Cross) where to place the cards and so I can avoid smartass comments or disputes on how to start the "Fool's way" spread (I think that is very important when you do readings for others or in public).


Quote:quan_yin (30 Nov, 2001 03:46):
Hi, sorry if this sounds dumb, but I am wondering if the physical placement of cards matters. For example, if I know I will pull 5 cards, and each card is to answer a specific intention/question, does it matter if I put them all 1 2 3 4 5? Or starting from the middle and fanning out, like 4 2 1 3 5?

The purpose of a spread is two-fold. First, to help you remember which card stands for what. It's just a mnemonic devise in that respect.

However, there is a "magical" aspect to spreads. This is the feeling that a certain ritual gets you in touch with whatever "power" is behind the cards. It doesn't matter which spread you use, or even if you make up your own spread, the idea here is to get you in a state of mind, and to open the "flow" of energy though the cards. This would be the reason why you'd want to keep whatever spread you were using the same, rather than mixing it up and doing it different each time.

Not that there's any hard, fast rule saying you can't mix up the cards if you really want to. Whatever works the magic for you. If you want to, go for it.



It does not matter how you spread, so long as you understand how. Even with a Celtic Cross, you might ascribe different feelings to parts than are 'standard'. I know I do, and there is nothing wrong with this. If you don't like a cross, why not develop a spread based on triangles, or circles, or a butterfly (may one wing is past, body is present, other wing is future). Just feel comfortable with what you are doing. If it feels right, it is right !



I always lay the cards in the same position. For instance in the celtic cross, the past is always the same position to the left etc. However, I have found that sometimes the cards become more important than their positions. For instance , a certain card or spread is telling you something, and it's position isn't really that important. That is why you can do a reading next time , the same card that's trying to tell you something will come up, in a different position. Does that make any sense? I'm sure some will disagree.



for me as well, as said above, a spread is just a mnemotic device because I am not able to assure for myself that I will remember the meaning of 15 cards every time laid out in another way. Besides this, a spread is also a visualization of relations, meaning that we can also see, not just know, which cards have relations with others.
What can work quite well, if you don?t like specific and fixed spreads, is the story telling tecnique. For myself that does not work always, and I use spreads to be able to read always, not regarding of how I feel. I can?t tell a client "sorry, I?m not in the mood today". This way of reading is to pull one card after the other, placing it intuitively anywhere, and telling a story, intuitively also knowing what this card is refering to. It comes somehow near channeling and can be very exact and powerful, though it requires an active psychic disposition.



A spread is like a map or guide. It can be as flexible as is desired, as long as one is clear about what a position represents to avoid confusion in a reading. Otherwise, it is like dealing with a jumbled sentence that needs unscrambling to be intelligible.
The placement of cards create a relationship from one card to another as Kimon indicated. Thus, depending on the position of a card & its proximity to another, a card may offset one or more cards. Sometimes, as PurpleLady mentioned, the position is not as important as what the card may impart. Therein is the intuition at work.
Experimenting with different spreads & spreads of your own creation will give a better view & grasp of what is involved.
On at least two occasions while using a Celtic Cross in readings for others, I felt urged to switch a couple of cards from the order in which they were pulled from the deck, thus changing their positions in the spread. In both instances, I went on to read the resulting spread.
Out of curiosity, I tried to read one spread in the original card order. The reading changed markedly in subject matter; & part of it made no sense. I concluded I was prompted to switch the cards for a valid reason.