Celtic Cross, why so popular?


So, why is the Celtic Cross such a popular spread?

While it is not bad, I find the layout slightly confusing and prefer layouts that keeps cards that have similar roles together.

Still it probably competes with the three-card spread for most common, so there has to be something that keeps it popular.

Any insights?

Le Fanu

I think it covers things pretty well. And out of a deck of 78 cards it doesn't use too many cards, nor too few.

Most aspects of life are covered. If ever I want a larger, more thorough spread (most of the time I use 3 or 5 card spreads) this is the one I do.

Despite the flak, I think it has a lot going for it. The problem is it's cited in LWBs so often. It isn't a beginner's spread and most people buy one deck and the CC would totally throw them. It's too much to take in and read well.

When learning, it's better (IMO) to do 1 card readings, then maybe 2 or 3 or 4 or 5. At maximum 7 cards...


Hi C.N. Here are my thoughts --

I use the Celtic Cross even if I don't have a question or issue. It's quite good in telling me where I am and what I could focus on, as well as the past influences that have affected my state.

It's also the most common -- in fact, I notice that most of the Tarot books I bought always put the Celtic Cross as a spread to use ... I also like the fact that I could put variations in it. I think it's comprehensive enough for a general reading, but flexible enough to make own variations. Hope this helps.


Le Fanu said:
I think it covers things pretty well. And out of a deck of 78 cards it doesn't use too many cards, nor too few

Short answer for the attention-deficient: Because I just love the thing (!!!)

Well-put, Le Fanu. I've always found it quite intuitive and flexible for something that seems so rigid and rote on paper (and, just as importantly for keeping the scope of a reading "in-hand," it's internally consistent, well-balanced and user-friendly from a structural standpoint). I find the number of cards "just right" when reading for others. It allows an effective "time-line" approach and some creative pairing and associations due to its "past/future, "behind/ahead," "below/above," "near/far," "personal/public" dualities. It bounds the duration of the reading rather nicely, leaving time to explore any interesting side-lights and flesh out subtleties without exhausting the reader. I tried some larger spreads for practice (including one that used the entire deck . . . I certainly wouldn't recommend that unless you're a masochist who loves to be confused) but keep coming back to this one. Single-card draws and 3-card progressions are my choice for a quick impression of the lay-of-the-land, but I really use them only for my own inspiration. The ten-card array (excluding the significator) also has a nice, round qabalistic connotation, even though it's not really a Tree of Life spread. It's also the first one I learned (the Eden Gray format) and the one I still use with a few tweaks and add-ons courtesy of Mr. AC and my own experience.

Laura Borealis

The Celtic Cross also has tradition going for it. It feels authentic, if that makes sense.* And it has the element of ritual. "This covers him." "This crosses him." Sometimes you want that. It gives a reading a certain gravitas.

*I'm not saying that new spreads, or even spreads you just made up, are not authentic. I'm all for making up new spreads. Whatever works!