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How I Develop Tarot Spreads

Hi Reader, Margaret here, Tea & Tarot's Sage & Scribe. Let's chat about how to make our own tarot spreads.

Whether I'm creating tarot spreads ahead of time, or developing them on the fly as I sit across from someone in our tarot nook, tarot spreads help me provide readings that tell stories.

As an author and book coach, I like to tell stories. Stories give us a framework to better understand our situation and potential paths we may choose to walk or manifest for ourselves.

I can't wait to share with you my approach to creating tarot spreads. This is, I'm sure, not the only way to create spreads, but it's my method and maybe it will help you. If so, please feel free to focus on story to develop tarot spreads that will work for you.

The Arc of Change

All stories have an arc of change. In fact, all stories usually have at least two--an external arc we would call the story or plot, and an internal arc of change we might call the character or hero's journey.

The purpose of the external or story arc is to drive the internal arc of change. This is why people come to story. This is how humans process stories in our hearts and minds.

The job of the internal or character arc? To help the character grow and change. We read to go on that journey with our favorite characters.

In tarot, we use that journey to better understand our own lives, to see with new perspective the choices before us, the paths we can manifest, and our way forward.

When I make a tarot spread, the goal is to get an arc of change into it. Where does the seeker start? Where might they end? What action can they take or how can they reclaim their agency or voice on their journey?

A spread can be two or more cards in order to incorporate an arc of change. I've designed spreads that go up to twenty-one cards before, and they all have an arc of change.

Why? Not only because we humans understand our world through story, but because when we come to the cards, it's often because we're seeking or sensing a change on our horizon.

Starting with a Focus on the Seeker

No matter what the arc of change is in the spread, I always ensure there's a card to connect with the seeker and where they are now.

This helps for a few reasons:

  • If I'm reading someone else (or even myself), this shows the cards and Universe are aligned with me

  • The seeker card provides context for the reading, or a starting point for the arc of change

  • It provides insight on how the seeker might be able to grow by asking a question which the arc of change in the tarot spread can answer

The main reason to focus on the seeker is because without them--whether it's you or someone else--there wouldn't be a reading at all, or a spread.

Final Thoughts

Whether you make your own spread or you go to get a tarot reading, in this practitioner's humble opinion, a spread with an arc of change that connects first and foremost with the seeker produces the best reading.

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