Which Celtic Cross?

Barleywine

At tarotbear's suggestion, I'm starting this thread to try to get a handle on how many different "flavors" of the Celtic Cross spread are in general use today. We all think we know what it's supposed to be, but there doesn't seem to be much agreement on what to name and number many of the positions in the "cross" section, and some in the "staff." When I started in the last half of the 20th century, the two main versions were A.E. Waite's from the Pictorial Key to the Tarot (1910), and Eden Gray's from her 1960 book The Tarot Revealed. (I've attached pictures of both). Waite's 3-through-6 number sequence started at the top and moved like the Catholic "sign of the Cross," while Gray's flowed more like a wheel, clockwise from the bottom (I liken it to the daily path of the Sun - midnight, dawn, noon and sunset). Recently, while helping interpret CC spreads here, I've seen a wide range of different arrangements, some of which made little sense to me.

Personally, I use a modified version of Gray's layout, as follows:

The "cross" section is about the question; the "staff" section is about the querent.

Position #1 (covering) - The circumstances of the question; why the querent came.

Position #2 (crossing) - Opposing forces in the matter.

Position #3 (beneath) - The Distant Past; not subject to change.

Position #4 (behind; to the left) - The Recent Past, just passing away. Note that, following Gray's model, I've never paid any attention to which way the Significator is facing; lately I haven't even been using a Significator.

Position #5 (above) - Gray said "what may come to pass;" I just say "the realm of possibilities" and call it the Present.

Position #6 (before; to the right) - The Near Future. Again, no Significator orientation is considered; Near Future is always to the right.

(I actually read positions 4, 5 and 6 as a continuum, since they can blend into one another as far as timing goes)

Position #7 (bottom of staff) - Gray said "the querent's fears," but I like the modern assignment of the Self here - especially the deepest part of the Self where all the psychological "baggage" accumulates (so the full range of subconscious and unconscious factors goes here); thus, "pessimism" as a negative emotion does fit here.

Position #8 (second from bottom) - Gray said "family opinion" but others have said "the influence of other people" and "the querent's environment" in general, and I go with that.

Position #9 (third from the bottom) - Gray said "the querent's hopes," but I look at it more as the querent's "stake" in the matter; what he or she has to gain or lose. Conscious aspirations would go here; "optimism" as a positive emotion would also fit here.

Position #10 (top of the staff) - The end of the matter; the final outcome. I use it the same way.

I'm interested in seeing how those of you who use the CC name and number each position, and especially how you handle positions 3 through 6.
 

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jolie_amethyst

Two more for you to compare and contrast--from Barbara Moore's Steampunk deck and from Shadowscapes, both via the Fool's Dog apps. The Shadowscapes one has something of an odd layout for the 5 & 6 cards; I so rarely run a CC, I hadn't noticed until just now. Different order to the staffs, as well.

(Doing this in two seperate posts, as the iPad can only handle one attachment at a time)

Steampunk (11 cards including significator)
 

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jolie_amethyst

And here's the one from Shadowscapes; ten cards (no "covers" card, only "crossing"), switches 5 & 6 positionally from the previous one.
 

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Barleywine

Thanks for the input! The Steampunk is closer to what I do. It would have been nice if they had some descriptive text to show what, for example, "This Covers You" and "This Crowns You" mean in useful terms. The Shadowscapes I can't relate to at all. How does the "You" position differ from the "Yourself" position? At least there's no "conscious" and "unconscious" cluttering up the landscape :)
 

tarotbear

Tarotbear's CC Variation

Since my suggestion started this thread I thought I should post in it!

I have always thought that the positions used by Eden Gray such as 'Above Him' and 'Before Him' mean ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to a Querent, much less the fact that one card is here, jump over Him to there, bounce back and forth, etc., and you have a Very Lost Querent on your hands. I also seat the Querent next to me so that they can see the cards as I see them - FOR THEIR UNDERSTANDING - but that is another discussion. The TB CC Variation:

---------------------------------10

--------------3-------------------9

6-----------1, 2----------4------8

--------------5-------------------7

BTW - NO SIGNIFICATOR! Total waste of a card IMHO!

1) - the Question - no matter what the Querent tells you

2) - crosses #1 - an Influence on #1 (does not have to be a blockage)

3) - The First Outcome - the combination of cards #1 & #2

4) - The Past

5) - The Present

6) - The Future and also Secondary Outcome

7) - The Internal - what the Querent feels inside

8) - The External - What the Querent is showing the world, or how everyone else is seeing the situation (could be a deliberate act on the part of the Querent)

9) - Hopes and Fears - depends on the card but is usually illusory, not fact

10) - The Third and Final Outcome.


#3, #6, & #10 can form a sequence as the Immediate Future, what will happen next, and what will Ultimately happen.

You can also run #7 - #10 up the lefthand side if that is where the Querent is sitting.

Just my two cents! :surprise:
 

Barleywine

Since my suggestion started this thread I thought I should post in it!

I have always thought that the positions used by Eden Gray such as 'Above Him' and 'Before Him' mean ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to a Querent, much less the fact that one card is here, jump over Him to there, bounce back and forth, etc., and you have a Very Lost Querent on your hands. I also seat the Querent next to me so that they can see the cards as I see them - FOR THEIR UNDERSTANDING - but that is another discussion. The TB CC Variation:

---------------------------------10

--------------3-------------------9

6-----------1, 2----------4------8

--------------5-------------------7

BTW - NO SIGNIFICATOR! Total waste of a card IMHO!

1) - the Question - no matter what the Querent tells you

2) - crosses #1 - an Influence on #1 (does not have to be a blockage)

3) - The First Outcome - the combination of cards #1 & #2

4) - The Past

5) - The Present

6) - The Future and also Secondary Outcome

7) - The Internal - what the Querent feels inside

8) - The External - What the Querent is showing the world, or how everyone else is seeing the situation (could be a deliberate act on the part of the Querent)

9) - Hopes and Fears - depends on the card but is usually illusory, not fact

10) - The Third and Final Outcome.


#3, #6, & #10 can form a sequence as the Immediate Future, what will happen next, and what will Ultimately happen.

You can also run #7 - #10 up the lefthand side if that is where the Querent is sitting.

Just my two cents! :surprise:

Interesting! Thanks for the input; the flow of the reading makes sense to me. I've never seen a whole lot of value in having an "old" past and a "new" past, and may just roll them together as you've done. I think I might discover a different way to get a useful "yield" from cards 1 and 2, though. Cards 6 and 10 I also read as a two-card "vignette", with 6 providing an early glimpse at aspects of the eventual outcome that are still within the querent's power to alter. Regarding the crossing card, I've seen instances where it reinforces Card 1, but it's influence may still be oblique or hard to absorb (kind of like "take your medicine, it's good for you").

I absolutely agree. I never use those antiquated terms with a sitter. They seemed stilted back in 1972 when I started, so I didn't use them then either. I don't "waste" a card on the Significator; if I bother to use one at all, I take it from a different deck to avoid removing it from the population of the reading deck. But I've been using them less and less; querents know who they are, so they don't need an avatar in the spread. I also like to sit them next to me for a common view of the cards.

ETA: OK, I mulled it over a bit and decided I don't like an "outcome" so early in the reading, so I'm thinking of calling Card 3 "Advancement of the Matter," implying that it has evolved out of the "emergent" stage shown by the interaction of Cards 1 and 2. Card 4 becomes the "Unresolved Past" or "Active Past" since the entire history of the situation may not have a bearing on its future development. On the other hand, this doesn't necessarily have to post-date Card 3, since something from the dim recesses of the querent's past might still be driving the matter. These are still provisional ideas, though, until I work with them. I decided to leave my number arrangement the same since I like the clockwise flow from the "midnight" position. The developmental timeline "arises out of the darkness into the light of day," so to speak, which seems to approximate how things often start coming together in the unfolding of a matter.

This is what I added to my working definitions:

3 - Early advancement of the situation, emerging from the interaction between Cards 1 and 2; first concrete signs of the direction the matter will take; first chance to “take charge” of the situation.

4 - The “active” past; prior situations or influences that are still driving the matter; may show the “light at the end of the tunnel;” the threshold of a change; the first inkling of the next step.
 

jolie_amethyst

Thanks for the input! The Steampunk is closer to what I do. It would have been nice if they had some descriptive text to show what, for example, "This Covers You" and "This Crowns You" mean in useful terms. The Shadowscapes I can't relate to at all. How does the "You" position differ from the "Yourself" position? At least there's no "conscious" and "unconscious" cluttering up the landscape :)

The way the app is laid out, it's a bit harder to dig into the individual positions. Even when you do, the You/Yourself positions aren't very clear.

You: This card represents You.
Yourself: This is your self-image, how you see yourself in this situation.

I tend to think one of these two is unnecessary, probably the first one. I like Tarotbear's idea of the first card representing the question.

Crown in Shadowscapes is listed as "the outcome you desire most". Hmm....

I'll look up the Covers/Crosses/Crowns for the Moore one in a bit and post the exact wording. (edit: attached screenshot, each definition taken from the Steampunk app)
 

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Barleywine

The way the app is laid out, it's a bit harder to dig into the individual positions. Even when you do, the You/Yourself positions aren't very clear.

I tend to think one of these two is unnecessary, probably the first one. I like Tarotbear's idea of the first card representing the question.

Crown in Shadowscapes is listed as "the outcome you desire most". Hmm....

I'll look up the Covers/Crosses/Crowns for the Moore one in a bit and post the exact wording. (edit: attached screenshot, each definition taken from the Steampunk app)

The explanations are similar to what I've seen elsewhere. The "crown" is sometimes called "the best that can be expected." The "covering" card is sometimes called the "reason" for the reading or the "environment of the question." The "crossing" card I've seen in my own practice as reinforcing Card 1, but there is still usually some price to pay for the help. The way I've always done it, the first six cards (exclusive of the Significator) are solely about the development of the situation exposed by the question; there is no explicit "You" in it until position 7.
 

Barleywine

One of the main variations between Eden Gray's model and Waite's (and its followers) is that she split "hopes and fears" into two positions. "Fears" landed in position 7 which, on reflection, makes some sense because it's at the bottom of the "staff," and the "bottom" of anything often has a negative connotation (like the "shadow" card from the bottom of a tarot deck). But the idea of the 7th position as the "inner self" has merit too, most tellingly as the source of our self-limiting behaviors and attitudes, so I expanded on Gray's model by calling it "Self-Definition (Root of Limitation)" in a "your own worst enemy" sense.

"Hopes" went into position 9, which by the same sort of analogy is near the top of the staff, and the best in us ideally rises to the surface. But I didn't think this goes far enough, so I renamed it "Self-Motivation (Root of Expansion)" and see it as opportunities - especially the last chance to make a "mid-course correction" - as well as hopes and wishes.

I've been using these ideas for a while, but this discussion is making me refine them some.

ETA: Although this will be part of my upcoming self-published workbook on advanced tarot spreads (along with development notes and detailed commentary), I thought I'd share it here by way of illustration.
 

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rachelcat

Very generous of you!

I hope I'm not being a bore, but I always like to have "primary sources" for these things, just so folks know what we're modifying.

Here's Waite's version. http://www.sacred-texts.com/tarot/pkt/pkt0307.htm

(You can also get a computer reading using this version on the sacred-texts.com site.)