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Celtic Cross Tarot Spread – With Layout and Meanings

The Celtic Cross tarot spread is one of the oldest used in tarot today, it’s a definite classic. It can be a bit complicated if you’re just starting out with tarot, but if you take it one step at a time, you’ll soon be reading it like a pro.

Like anything today, this spread has evolved from the original version to new versions, but generally they’re founded on the basic old Celtic Cross spread layout.

I’m outlining what I’m going to call the classic Celtic Cross spread. It’s a 10 card spread. I’m using the Rider-Waite deck of tarot cards.

Celtic Cross Tarot Spread Layout

First, let’s have a look at the layout itself. It’s laid out in what’s referred to as the cross and the staff.

The first 6 cards make up the cross and cards 7 to 10 make up the staff.

Celtic Cross Tarot Spread

There are ten cards in the Celtic Cross Tarot Spread. Each one is assigned a position meaning.

How to Deal Tarot Celtic Cross

Shuffle the cards so you get uprights and reversals. You can cut the deck or not, it’s up to you. Then deal the cards one at a time, face up, in the order shown in the diagram. Keep your question, and the position meanings in mind as you go.

Position Meanings of the Celtic Cross Tarot Spread

1. Influences working around the question

2. Forces for good or evil

3. The past

4. Something just going away

5. This may happen

6. The future.

7. Negative feelings, fears

8. Family and friends, immediate environment

9. Hopes

10. The final outcome

Celtic Cross Tarot Reading Example

We’re going to go through an actual reading. I’m reading for myself and the question I’m asking involves projects I’m working on.

Would I be better off starting the new project?

I like to look at the overall cards before I do more on the reading to get a general feel for the cards.

I can see a lot of wands. Wands generally stand for movement, growth. In this reading most of them are reversed – this can mean lack of movement, lack of growth.

Then I see a few swords – state of mind, conflict.

Only one Major Arcana card but a powerful one, though it’s in a bad position.

In relation to my question it would seem that growth is static, and there is conflict.

Then I look at each card in relation to its position meaning.

1. Influences: Who or what is having an immediate influence on the question. Queen of Swords

This shows a woman, quick witted, with keen observation.

Is there a person like this around me? Actually there is. I’m learning new things from her. Perhaps what I’m learning will help make up my mind.

2. Forces – What forces are at work at this time. (this card is always read upright) 8 of Swords

Imprisonment through indecision. Fear to make a decision.

I’m seriously see-sawing back and forth. Should I continue with the current project, should I start the new one? And mostly stalling in the process

3. The past – 9 of Wands Reversed

This card represents something that happened in the past that is still influencing now. Adversity, obstacles to be overcome.

The new project does have problems. I can assume my indecisiveness is also a problem. But this could be a card that you do an extra spread on to learn exactly what the problem is.

4. Something just going away – 21 The World

Completion, reward, success.

Well, this is a great card! Except it’s in the position that says it’s going away. Is my chance success slipping away? I don’t want that. Does starting a new project mean I won’t finish the current one, will I lose the chance at success? With all my stalling is my opportunity slipping away?

5. This may happen – Knight of Wands

There could be a young man becoming involved.

I can’t rule that out as it’s a possible future position. It could also mean the coming or going of a matter. It could also mean I come to a decision. I’ll be on the lookout for this.

6. The future – this is likely to happen. 2 of Cups

Harmony of masculine and feminine. Beginning of a friendship. Balance of ideas.

When I’m looking at this meaning, there could be a possible partnership in the works. I’m not convinced I’d go for a partnership with this project though. So, perhaps a balance between the new project and the one I’m working on now.

7. Negative feelings, fears – 10 of Wands Reversed.

Again, the card has several meanings. Intrigue, separation –

I’m not concerned about that. Nor about a lawsuit. The only thing left is there will be some loss. Perhaps I’m worried about missing out. Seems reasonable since I want to consider the new project which has potential.

8. Immediate environment – 2 of Pentacles

What does family think, what influences do they have, or the immediate environment, have on my question.

Pretty easy for this one – The ability to juggle two situations at one time. However – new projects may be difficult to launch.

That’s pretty straight forward. I can likely do it, but the new project will be difficult to get going.

9. Hopes – Ace of Wands Reversed

Honestly I always have a problem with this card position. And here it is again. Canceling of a new enterprise, a false start.

I’m not hoping for that. So what do I do with this? Maybe I have to dig really deep and acknowledge that I feel that I don’t really want to launch the new project after all. Maybe it’s easier to just keep going until the present project is done first.

10. Final outcome – 10 of Swords

Ruin of plans and projects.

Yikes! It goes on with more dire predictions. Tears and disruption.

Now we need to put the whole thing together to get our answer. Back to the question:

Would I be better off starting the new project?

My interpretation:

I’m going to step out on a limb here and say, NO!

You go over the entire reading and put it together in a way that makes sense and flows.

There is enough information here that I get the impression that leaving the project I’m working on now would not be the best move.

I can spend time on both, that might work. As long as I realize the new project is going to have some challenges and plan for it to move slowly, perhaps in my spare time.

It would likely serve me well to pay attention to the #4 position – This is passing – The World. Completion, reward, success. Giving up this project could bring that about. Am I throwing away the success of my first project and therefore my overall goal? It looks like it.

There is a hint of bringing in a partner, which I don’t want.


I take into consideration the several hints that the new project will be difficult. Also, giving up my current project will actually have a negative effect on me overall. The idea of going with the new project, all by itself, is probably not the best decision.

I’ll continue with the present project.

I hope this has helped you get some insight on how to do the celtic cross layout and the meanings of the positions.

The Celtic Cross spread covers a lot of information that’s meant to help get to the root of your question and give you an answer or a solution that you can work with.

It includes different areas of your life that have an effect on how things are working out for you. If these areas are holding you back or getting in the way, you can work on these areas and make a big change for yourself.

Read what the cards say. Dig out what the right interpretation might be. Let the cards guide you. And remember the final decision is always up to you.

The Celtic Cross Spread is great for a more detailed reading, take it one card at a time and you’ll nail it in no time.