“No Spread” Tarot Spreads

IMG_4480The “No Spread” spread…

Yesterday, I posted about using big spreads versus little ones. As we discussed this week in the Tarot Toolkit class that I’m co-teaching, though, you can also use no spread at all. It’s okay to just pull cards – whatever number feels right – and see what kind of meaning you can wring from them.

Do you ever do this? Or then again, do you maybe do this exclusively? Some people like the structure of a set spread, with every card position carrying its own definition, while others like the more free-form, organic method of growing a reading with no spread or structure imposed on the cards at all.

Personally, I like spreads, but have lately started to feel like maybe I’m more naturally wired for no-spread readings…

17 thoughts on ““No Spread” Tarot Spreads

  1. A very good idea/practice. 🙂 I’ve been experimenting with “no spreads” and trying to distinguish patterns in the laid out cards (numbers, suits, colours, etc.) However sometimes I noticed the cards will just be in a “chronological pattern” like past/present/future three card spread (lol), but with more than three I find it’s a good practice to trigger the intuition and notice patterns. I’ve become fond of using “no spreads” just as much (or even more) as regular “spreads”, since I feel using no spread allows a lot of flexibility. 🙂 🙂

    1. I love doing “pattern recognition” modes of analysis when using Tarot! The interesting thing is that it’s possible to do this from either a left-brain/orderly/logical place, or from a right-brain/chaotic/intuitive place. The no-spread method definitely seems to place more emphasis on the overall need for this kind of work than a defined spread might…

  2. I need a spread with my cards to give me some context, otherwise I’m lost. Oddly enough, though, I use free-form with my runes. But most often, I’ll use a spread with my cards and then draw a rune for each card to give more tone. 🙂

    1. You’re on to something, though, when you reference Runes, because the no-spread method is very similar in many ways to what Rune-users do when getting into a traditional Rune scattering type of reading. I never just toss the cards onto the table the way I’d drop Runes, even in a no-spread Tarot reading, but the general lack of definition is pretty similar. It’s interesting that you like the less-defined mode with Runes, but not so much with Tarot! Then again, they’re not identical systems, so it makes sense that our preferences might change when going from one to the other.

      1. Maybe that’s it. 🙂 The runes have a different feel to me. The cards seem more “civilized” or something like that while the runes feel more “natural” to me. Like City Mouse and Country Mouse. 🙂

      2. I was just given a copy of the Wooden Tarot recently as a gift! Yeah, it’s a pretty interesting deck, alright. Some of the creatures in it make me feel like there’s a bit of a Lovecraft influence running through it…

  3. I just pull a story. Sometimes the cards go together or offer options. But if I get the world I stop. Once I only had one card left after the world card. It’s a story.

    1. Wow, what an interesting method! Why does The World mean to stop? Because it’s the last of the Majors in the sequence? That must have been some reading when it was the second to last card left in the deck!

      1. Honestly I’m not sure. When I first started doing it it seemed like I was supposed to. Maybe it always felt like the time to contemplate the story. I’d reshuffle over and over for too long probably. The World might just be the “to be continued” of my journey. 🙂

      2. You know, whenever one of us has that feeling of “It seemed like I was supposed to,” and it’s coming from within (as opposed to from some other human making us feel that one certain way of doing things is the only “correct” way of doing those things), I often believe that these are some of the truest pathways for us. It’s like you channeled this technique from out of the aether!

  4. Unless I draw one card only, I always use some kind of spread for Tarot. I love the idea a card stops the reading, I have to try it one day!

    1. Interesting! I do appreciate spreads a lot, but it’s true that in recent times, I’ve been drawn more and more to reading with no set spread at all — I start with a card or two, and let the reading grow from there. It’s unpredictable, but really fascinating!

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