Tarot Elements Signature Spread©

Welcome to the Tarot Elements Signature Spread Tutorial. This is my very own personal spread that I use exclusively, but am now sharing with you, my readers and friends. I will be outlining the positions of the Tarot cards using a mix of explanation and visual graphics, and giving tips along the way to help you gain the most out of my favourite Tarot spread.

I have also provided an example Tarot reading using this spread to further enhance and illustrate its benefits to you. The reading itself was done today, and to make it as real as possible, I asked a personal question for myself and share the results with you honestly and openly – in my opinion the only way to get the best from Tarot and Tarot readings.
Lay your first three cards out in a straight line.

Directly underneath those, add your next three cards. Now you have six in total and these six Tarot cards form the basis for your reading. There are no defined positions in this set of cards, suffice to say you will have everything you need to weave your story from the Tarot cards in front of you.

Allow yourself to free-flow amongst the cards, picking them out randomly as they speak to you. Perhaps one particular card stands out to you, and you feel drawn to the card underneath it – this is a special combination that is giving you a particular message and will help you to narrate a really deep and detailed reading.
These six Tarot cards have provided the base of the reading, or as I like to call it – setting the scene. You will have established the here and now, and also looked into any pitfalls or help that is on the way, identified any supporters or antagonists, in fact anything that you need to know will be contained within these six cards.
Tarot Tip: Look to see if any cards are pairing themselves together – they don’t have to be next to each other, relationships of all kinds can jump at you when you free-flow in your Tarot readings. These could be ‘same number’ pairings, or the repeat of a symbol on others. You just need a little confidence to do it and a Tarot spread like this one that will give you enough cards to free-flow with but isn’t too large to be intimidating or likely to become confusing.
The next two cards, 7 and 8, will begin to show potential outcomes in the divination and they are laid on top of the base of six cards, squarely in the middle of them. These two Tarot cards will be showing you the direction in which you are heading in relation to your question. You may also find that these cards extend the narrative you have begun. What you will most certainly find is a relationship between the top two cards and the bottom six cards; they will be pulling the reading together, tightening it and bringing your narrative to its conclusion.

Finally, add the ninth card. This sits firmly on top of the previous two Tarot cards, 7 and 8. The ninth card will almost certainly represent the most likely or expected outcome of the reading. This card will be the culmination of the bottom two underneath it, which in turn are the culmination of the six below them.

Once you have laid out all nine cards and have analysed them, it’s also very useful to go back over the reading and look for other information. The spread will look very different with the top three cards over the bottom six cards and you may see other relationships between the cards forming or, see how the outcome cards are derived from the scene setters. Giving this process a few minutes of your time will further enrich your reading and be well worth the re-examination.

An Example Reading

As I said at the beginning of this Tutorial to my Signature Spread, this Tarot reading was done today. I asked a real question of the Tarot and the results of that reading are here for you all to read and assess yourselves. You may find that we use different interpretations for individual Tarot cards – this is fine; neither of us are wrong. Please feel free to read these cards in the way you would normally, and if you feel you need to share any information with me regarding this reading or your findings, please do so.
I have been making plans for some time now to monetize my blog. In all honesty, I love working online and want to build my Tarot practice around my blog. This is my home now, on the internet, and so it feels right that I should operate from here too. My question to the Tarot was based on this situation.

What will the likely outcome be for me when I monetize my blog? What help or pitfalls may I encounter? Is there anything I haven’t considered in my plans that I should know about?

You will notice that I have asked a series of questions as opposed to one question. This was quite deliberate because as you will see, this Tarot spread is more than capable of answering any and all of those questions. I have also elected not to use elemental dignities in this reading simply because not all Tarot readers use that system of divination, and I wanted to show the benefits of this Tarot spread in its own right, and by its own merit.

Looking at the first three cards that came out of my Thoth Tarot deck – Five of Cups, Seven of Wands and the Three of Disks surely shows I have a lot of hard work on my hands with some disappointments thrown in! It’s not a great start, but as you’re about to see, it doesn’t get any better.

Oh dear. The Seven of Disks, the Six of Wands and the Tower! I’m in for a rough ride for sure. Let’s examine these six cards in a little more detail together.
The first thing I look for amongst the horror is some hope! And there it is in two cards, the Three of Disks and the Six of Wands, Work and Victory respectively. The Three of Disks is seen as a card of excellence in work as well as work itself – at least I will be producing high quality work. The Six of Wands is the card I would be hoping for – Victory! Though we can’t ignore its bedfellows – the Seven of Disks and the dreaded Tower. So is my victory short lived? I don’t believe so. I think these cards are showing me a hard ride and if I had any idealistic or romantic notions of a rapid success, I’m being brought down to earth with a bang – by the Tower. The Tower is also forewarning of a change of ideas or direction. Something I had included in my plans is either unfit or inappropriate and like it or not, I must identify that and make the appropriate changes.
I can’t ignore the Five of Cups up there in the top left of the reading – I’m not pleased to see that despite a valiant effort, it looks like I’m heading for some disappointments. When you look at the Tower though, I must then level that disappointment, for it may just mean that I will be disappointed at the performance of certain parts of my business plan and that by way of the Tower, I will change them. The Seven of Disks does indicate frustrations, delays and possibly the failure of certain aspects of my plan or ideas.
It would seem that in trying to establish my business plans for my blog, I am going to be in for a frustrating time. No doubt I will see successes and losses and the rethinking and changing of plans will be commonplace at least in the early days of establishing my business. These cards speak to me of ducking and diving, rolling with the punches and taking measured responses to problems as they arise.

Card Pairing the Scene Setters

You can pair any card that speaks to you when you free-flow during a tarot reading – there are no rules to say you are confined to any particular system or set. Having said that, it’s natural to pair the cards next to each other for further information, and while we’re having fun pairing adjacent cards, let’s pair the ones underneath them.

Five of Cups and the Three of Disks
Do I lose heart at the amount of work involved, perhaps I loose perspective as to what I’ve actually achieved so far?
Seven of Disks and the Tower
Will this financially break me while I’m waiting for my business to take off? Does this pairing suggest I cannot wait for success?
Five of Cups and the Seven of Wands
Disappointment at the amount of effort it’s taking to make my business plans work – perhaps I thought it would be easier than it’s going to be.
Seven of Wands and the Three of Disks
I certainly enjoy the challenge and rise to it, producing good work.
Seven of Disks and the Six of Wands
Success will come but it will take longer than expected.
Six of Wands and the Tower
Short lived success or success borne of dramatic changes made to ensure the success of my plans?
Five of Cups and the Seven of Disks
Is this where my disappointment lies, in the length of time it takes to see success?
Seven of Wands and the Six of Wands
Yes! Success can come through persistence, standing my ground and fighting for what I believe are the right moves.
Three of Disks and the Tower
Are we seeing a total change in my working pattern? Does this pairing actually show change so dramatic that I actually abandon my plans to monetize my blog, no matter how far I have travelled down that road already?

Cards Seven and Eight – Pulling it Together

Laying cards 7 and 8 out gave me more hope and a smile – here at last I am beginning to see some improvements in my fortunes. These two cards are in some senses, the middle distance in terms of the future and while I would have preferred the Ace of Disks, I will gladly accept the Ace of Cups as my indication that after all my trials and tribulations, I will begin to see improvements. I also feel this card shows I will remain connected to my readers and of course, connect with new ones. Good times! The Six of Cups, while pleasant and appealing – shows I will thankfully keep my love affair with my blog alive; the Six of Cups also carries with it a warning – of rose coloured glasses and sentimentality. I believe it shows I need to be less romantic about the whole process and operate as a business. This will be quite a balancing act – remaining close to my readers and clients whilst also being a businesswoman at the same time. The lessons, pitfalls and warnings in the six scene setting cards make a lot of sense now that I have seen these two cards and already I am alerted to a potential problem area contained within myself. The question is, can I do it?

Well if I ever needed confirmation that indeed I can make all of the necessary changes within myself, then the Princess of Disks in the Thoth deck is it. Aleister Crowley called her a “woman on the brink of transfiguration.” I’ll take that, thank you very much!

Signature Spread Reading Summary

So what did I learn about my business plans, and my plans to monetize my blog? Well, it would seem that some or part of my plans are flawed or ill thought out. That I will have some successes and some failures. Not all of my ideas will work and I must pay close attention to what my readers and clients want from my blog and indeed myself if I’m to make a success of my plans.
Success can be mine, but I have a lot of hard work ahead of me and I must be prepared to change whatever isn’t working despite any romantic or sentimental attachment I may feel toward it. I must be prepared to grow and change as a person, a tarot reader and a blogger if I’m to succeed, but more than anything, I must be prepared to face those changes head on. The road will be a little rough and at times I may wonder what on earth I’m doing, and there will no doubt be times when I’m a little scared to make a change or move forward, but do you know what? I’m going to feel the fear and do it anyway ;)
I hope you enjoyed reading the Tarot Elements Signature Spread Tutorial – please join me in the second part where we’ll beef it up a little by applying elemental dignities to the reading, and in doing so, we have to make a little change to the layout. All will be revealed…


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33 thoughts on “Tarot Elements Signature Spread©”

  1. Did you enjoy reading about my Signature Spread Tutorial? Do you have any questions regarding its layout or the techniques I use in this tutorial? Do you have a different take on my personal reading that you would like to share with me?
    Please feel free to share your thoughts and ideas about this post and how you would like to see the next tutorial develop in Part Two.

  2. This is a great introduction to your spread. I like that you included your own reading so that I could see it in action. Most excellent. I will give it a whirl and see what I discover. Can’t wait for the second part!

    • Hi Theresa,
      Thank you for your comment and for reading through my Signature Spread. Part Two will be along very soon and will dip into elemental dignities – things change ever so slightly then, contrasting the two readings will be great fun!
      Looking forward to seeing you there!

  3. Hi Catherine,
    Nice spread! I prefer spreads with no positional meanings, so my readings can be fully intuitive and free-flowing. I’ve been using a similar one for a while, where I place 9 cards in a square (3 cards each row), the centre card offering some info about the here and now with the surrounding cards as influencing factors. I tend to look at the cards on the left as past influences, and on the right future possibilities, but this isn’t set in stone; it all depends how I feel about individual cards.
    I’m looking forward to trying out your spread soon!

    • Hi Christiane,
      Thank you for such kind words and a lovely comment. I’m currently working on Part Two as we speak and it follows a similar tread to your own nine card spread – the layout of the Signature Spread had to change a little to incorporate elemental dignities – all will be revealed later. Suffice to say the elemental dignities have beefed it up a bit, and of course I’ve gone to town on showing all the possibilities with lots of lovely graphics!
      I think you may find that you will be able to adapt your own spread to incorporate elemental dignities after you see Part Two. I look forward to reading your comment on that one, and I hope we can share lots of ideas about our spreads.

  4. Hi Catherine, thank you for sharing your personal spread. I agree with Christiane, I like to have an idea of the questions asked but try not to get caught up in positional meanings. Really looking forward to part two!

    • Hi Earth,
      Thank you for commenting – I’m glad you liked the spread. The reading was personal, but you know, everyone who reads my blog regularly, all my friends here and on Twitter and Facebook, are all on this journey with me to one degree or another, so I’m only sharing with friends – and it felt right to share. I feel an honesty is required when you have a Tarot reading, and when a bad card comes up, it’s there for a reason – it has a lesson for us and so it has to be read and not glossed over or ignored. I would have liked better cards, but hey, this is real life and it’s always had its ups and downs – I can’t see how that will change.
      Looking forward to seeing you for Part Two :)

  5. I just tried it for me and I loved it. I like how the layers build on each other and work together. I like how with the absence of positional meanings to try and wrestle into the interpretation, the cards themselves work together more easily and create meaning. At least for me. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
    PS Thank you for sharing your personal reading. Your blog/website has fast become one of my favorites…it did the very first time I saw it (probably got there via Facebook). I realize that there will be struggles, per your reading, but seriously, I’m sure you’ll do well.

    • Hi Barbara,
      Thank you for such a wonderful comment and such faith in me and my blog – your words mean so mean to me personally.
      I’m glad you liked the spread – I also loved it from the first moment it unfolded in front of me. Like you say, the layering works well and really adds to the reading. I’m a fan of non-positional spreads and so free-flowing is important for me, it just allows so much more detail and interpretation to unfold.
      Hope you like Part Two just as much – it’ll be along later tonight – I’d love to know what you think of that when it’s published.
      Once again, thank you for stopping by and commenting on my blog :)

  6. That is a great spread Catherine.
    I really liked it for it’s meatiness if you know what I mean. The pairings can lead to some good conversations with the client when in a face to face situation.
    It seems you have a lot of work for you with your blog! I think for you the Tower signifies a need for you to be willing to change your original vision if it doesn’t work for you. Don’t be attached to it. Good luck!

    • Hi Amy,
      Thank you for your kind comment and concern about my future fortunes and experience with the Tower!!
      The Signature Spread does allow for meatiness – it’s the free-flowing I feel, and of course the layering – and not forgetting the card pairing! I love this spread too!
      Part Two will be out later this evening – I’d love to hear what you think about it – I’m calling this one the Magic Square – same spread, slight adjustment but with elemental dignities thrown in :)

  7. Hi Catherine,
    What an interesting spread and so refreshing not to have to be so restricted by set card positions, this really flows and it’s also adjustable to suit personal preferences.
    Perfect. Haven’t had the opportunity to try yet but soon will do. Look forward to part two.

    • Hi Lori,
      Thank you for such a lovely comment! I’m glad you found it inspiring and I look forward to hearing how you get on with it on your first try ;)
      Part Two will be along any time now….

  8. Hi Catherine,
    you´ve shown a splendid spread… And an awesome reading.
    As I like spreads without being fixed to any positions to “go with the flow”, I will try this one out immediatly!
    You asked for other insights in your reading…
    What popped up to me immediatly is the numerical order. You´ve layed out cards ranging mainly between 5 and 7 what makes me think your plans / realisations are at the climax. Surely, there is some “fine-tuning” left to make and some challenges to cope with. The already broke the ground, now you´re right in the thick of things.
    The Princess of Coins often gives me a timeframe of 9 months (suppose it´s because of her pregnancy ;) ). That would match with the delay indicated by the 7 of Coins, doesn´t it?
    Best wishes – and good luck for your business-to-be,

    • Hi Phine,
      Thank you for such a nice comment, and for some very interesting ideas about timing. Of course you’re right to point to the progressive status of the 5 and 7’s, and I hadn’t viewed them in that way, as everything is still in the planning stage. If we use your method, perhaps my plans are not fully worked out yet, not being a 9 or 10? Interesting idea.
      I also never considered the Princess of Disks to indicate 9 months, and of course, you’re right about that too – it can represent her gestation, so perhaps it will take 9 months before I will be out of the woods and operating at a financially comfortable level.
      As for working out the rest of the timing in the reading, I have actually written about that in the third part of the Tutorial Series – The Magic Square: Secondary Triads and Timing. I would like to hear your ideas about that too when you’ve read it :)

  9. Hi, Catherine –
    It´s me again. I did a reading with this spread. And I was completely taken aback.

  10. Hi Catherine, thank you again for posting this spread. When I first looked at it, the first thing that I noticed was that there wasn’t any air. Are you coming up for air???
    I had a read with my sister the other night and we used this spread ~ very nice flow, we were able to see some underlying reason for her situation and the places where she can make some changes.
    So I’ve run this spread for her and for you, I used the Legacy deck and laid the same cards from your post. The knight of coins is a really nice card to see right there on top.
    Personally, with that tower under your body of work (3 of coins), I would consider upgrading your computer or backing your work up to another device or something.
    Many blessings!

    • Hi Eartha,
      Thank you for such a lovely and insightful comment!

      When I first looked at it, the first thing that I noticed was that there wasn’t any air. Are you coming up for air???

      I’m glad you spotted that! What a fabulous way to view the air that’s missing from my reading – perhaps it also suggests that I haven’t thought my plans through well enough. In past readings, I have also interpreted this to mean that it’s a time to stop planning and thinking and move into action!
      It’s great that you tried the reading out, I hope you and your sister enjoyed it. Laying the same cards out that I had in my reading is a great way to follow it. This also gives greater insight as you have so beautifully put in your next paragraph:

      Personally, with that tower under your body of work (3 of coins), I would consider upgrading your computer or backing your work up to another device or something.

      What an awesome interp!! My pc does actually make some weird noises and to lose it would be devastating as I couldn’t replace it at this time. I will indeed start backing everything up!

  11. Hi, again :D
    “If we use your method, perhaps my plans are not fully worked out yet, not being a 9 or 10?” you asked.
    I think Eartha gave the clue, why you´re still in the vibs of the climax and not shortly before coming to the end of the preps / the planning stage…
    “When I first looked at it, the first thing that I noticed was that there wasn’t any air.” she wrote. And she´s absolutely right.
    It seems as if a clear line is still missing which would be given by the air element as indicator of a concept.
    But going deeper into detail of the elements is part of the second section, isn´t it ;)?
    I will still mull it over,
    best wishes

    • Hi Phine,
      Thank you for such an insightful comment. You’re quite right in your assessment – the missing air element does give us a clue as to how complete or incomplete my plans have been and would suggest that I need to review them and quickly!
      I haven’t explored the theme of the ‘missing element’ in the next post either, as primarily, the reason for using an actual reading was to illustrate the mechanics of the Signature Spread and the Magic Square.
      Yours, and Eartha’s points are valid though, and I plan to explore the concept and theory behind ‘missing elements’ in a separate post as I feel it needs much more explanation than I could give it in this type of tutorial.
      I look forward to reading your comments on that post when I write it :)

  12. Hi Catherine,
    Thank you for posting detailed and clear instructions on how to do this spread and also sharing a sample personal reading. It really helped put it into context. Attempting this is a goal of mine :). And when I do, I’ll share it with you. The tip about watching for card pairings has helped me out as I explore the cards and how they relate with one another.
    – Nicole

    • Hi Nicole,
      The birth of the Signature Spread © was a very inspirational event, and it’s really been an inspiration to a lot of people, least of all me. I’m glad you enjoyed the reading I did in the post, it’s the best way to show the best of a spread. Whenever you’re ready to have a go at it, just let me know and I’ll be happy to go through it with you :)

  13. Hi Catherine! We tried out your Tarot Elements Signature Spread (Pt. 1) at Tarot School tonight. It made a great group reading exercise and was helpful and reassuring to our querent. :) It’s a beautifully flexible technique — thanks for sharing it!

    • Hi Ruth Ann – wow, thank you!
      That’s awesome news, I feel highly honoured, and humbled to have my work presented at the Tarot School, this is quite an accolade! I’m glad that the group enjoyed working with it and in particular the client who had the reading.
      I’m still a little taken aback – but I have the hugest grin on my face too – thank you so much :)

  14. Hello! I just discovered your blog, and I very much enjoyed reading the tutorial here on your Signature Spread. I like intuitive, “flow-based” card reading very much, and this type of throw (what I like to call spreads that are intuitive-based rather than position based) appears to be a great one to use! Good luck with your business and your blog as you move forward. It looks like success is coming through hard work and dedication. Blessings!

    • Hi Rose,
      Thank you for such kind words about my blog and this tutorial. So far things are moving, albeit slowly, better to move than standstill though eh?!
      Thank you stopping by – welcome to Tarot Elements :)

  15. Nice spread! I’m just starting to want to try layered-style spreads and this one is quite manageable. Tried it for myself… though not impressed with the outcome, but that’s my problem, not the spread ;)

  16. Wow! I absolutely love this spread! Great idea! And I’m hoping that you are satisfied with your blog business after these 3 years, btw ;) Thank you!

  17. Do you offer any private coaching? Specifically on the elemental dignities and numerology aspects of tarot? I would be interested in purchasing that

    • I do private mentoring that can be tailored to your needs. I will email you so we can discuss it in private.

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