Ah, yes. The Celtic Cross. I think most of us have a love/hate relationship with this spread. I don’t recall ever reading a book on Tarot without this spread being presented.
Yet I think we all have our problems with it. Well, I’ve taken another look at this spread, and come up with a few new angles.
To me, Tarot is totally visually oriented. That’s leads to my first problem with the Celtic Cross. It doesn’t look like a cross. There’s the horseshoe spread that looks like a horseshoe; the horoscope spread that looks like the zodiac wheel… you get the point. To me the CC is a circle with center point sitting next to a stick in the ground—like somebody lopped the top off the cross. That’s the first thing I wanted to fix; I wanted the cross to be a cross….
I’m using Eden Gray’s text, the first place I met the CC (kind of dates me, huh?) So here goes:
card 1—this covers him
card 2—this crosses him
(This always annoyed me. It’s the only mention of cross, and it’s a negative card. Something I felt didn't make too much sense)
card 3—this is beneath him
card 4—this is behind him
card 5—this crowns him
(The mention of ‘crown’ here always made me think of the tree of life. This card is in the top-most position, and there are ten cards…)
card 6—this is before him
Let’s stop here a minute and see what we’ve got.. We can look at this as a circle of cards with a point made of two (three if you use the suggested signifacator) in the center—nice sun symbol. And one reason why the circle is on the Celtic Cross. It was meant to blend the Celtic and Christian symbols together.
Usually, the next four card make what I see as the stick in the ground. And for some reason there’s no “this ___ him" said (that is if you ACTUALLY say these things
) with these last four ; I don’t know why that suddenly stops. Perhaps someone can come up with something to say for these last cards.
Instead of that placement, let’s finish the cross…
place card 7 (fears) beneath card 3
place card 8 (environmet et al) beneath card 7
place card 9 (hopes and ideals) beneath car d 8
place card 10 (the grand finale) beneath card 9
Voila!! Now the Celtic Cross LOOKS like a cross.
Now onto interpretation considerations.
Look at card 4, card 2 and card 6. Here’s where that problematic word “cross” appears. We tend to look at this card as a barrier or obstacle. But there’s another meaning to the word cross—'cross' as to 'pass over'. So if we consider card 2 to ‘pass over’ card 1, we arrive at a horizontal line of three cards. Card 4 is “behind him” and card 6 is “before him”. So we can look at these three as past, present and future.
Next, card 3, card 1 and card 5. Beneath, cover, and crown—a vertical line. The clue I take from this triplet is the word “crown”. From this, and the fact that it is moving upward, I consider it a spiritual triplet.
Then there are cards 7, 8 and 9; fears, hopes... Here is the emotional triplet.
And lastly card 10. Both a summation and a foundation…
If we group card 4, card 3 and card 7 together, we might consider it a holistic look at the past.
Cards 1, 2 and 8 are the now
Cards 5, 6 and 9 are possible future with the help of card 10
I thought I’d share these early morning thoughts. As you may tell, I like threes. After all, the world is triangulated….