11 CARD CELTIC CROSS SPREAD ~ Learn How To Read The Celtic Cross Spread Like a Pro!

white wooden table displaying cards, white stars, jewelery and a candle, with the legend 11 card celtic cross spread

The 11 card Celtic cross spread is one of the most popular spreads and one of the hardest to learn too. Why? Because it has 11 cards, and we have to learn to interpret them individually AND together simultaneously.

To make things easy for you, I will teach you the BEST method to read the Celtic cross spread like a pro.

First, you will learn to easily interpret each card position in the Celtic cross spread using a key question. And then, I’ll show you the card combinations that you should pay attention to to get a coherent and complete interpretation.

Let’s go!

Celtic Cross Meaning in Tarot

Have you ever wondered why we use a Celtic cross in Tarot spreads? What is its meaning? And where does it come from?

According to Wikipedia, The Celtic cross is a form of Christian cross featuring a nimbus or ring that emerged in Ireland, France, and Britain in the Early Middle Ages. The Celtic cross is essentially a Latin cross with a nimbus surrounding the intersection of the arms and stem.

The Celtic cross spread, also known as the Sun Cross spread, is one of the most popular. This spread is inspired by the shape of the Celtic cross but divided in two, with the long branch of the cross on the right rather than below (to make interpretation visually easier).

The Celtic cross spread first appeared in print in 1910 in the book Pictorial Guide to the Tarot, written by A. E. Waite with illustrations by Pamela Colman Smith. Since then, the Celtic cross spread has been used, reproduced, and modified countless times over the years.

And with so many new and modern versions of the Celtic cross spread, you may wonder, is there any that is correct?

The Correct Celtic Cross Spread: Is There Such a Thing?

I must clarify that there is NO such thing as the correct version of the Celtic cross sperad. All versions of the Celtic Cross are valid, as they all offer different perspectives and information.

That said, you should know that the traditional Celtic cross spread is done with 10 cards. However, in the version that I use and teach my students, we use 11 cards.

Why and what is the difference? Which one should you learn and use? To answer these questions, I’m going to teach you how to do both spreads, the traditional and the 11 card Celtic cross spread. Then you can choose which one you feel most comfortable with.

First let’s take a look at the traditional Celtic cross spread.

The Traditional Celtic Cross Spread

The Traditional Celtic cross spread is a 10 card spread. In the traditional spread, the meanings of the card positions, according to A. E. Waite, are:

  • Card 1: The matter
  • Card 2: Crossing card, obstacles in the matter
  • Card 3: Crowning, aims or ideal
  • Card 4: Foundation, basis of the matter
  • Card 5: The Past, how the past influences the situation
  • Card 6: The Future, what is coming in the near future
  • Card 7: The Querent, the person who is asking and his/her attitude
  • Card 8: Environment that surrounds the Querent 
  • Card 9: Hopes and Fears of the Querent
  • Card 10: Outcome, the final result
Celtic cross tarot spread diagram
Celtic cross tarot spread diagram

In addition to the 10 card Celtic cross spread, there are also spreads with 11, 12, and more cards. However, I always teach and use the 11 card Celtic cross spread. Why?

Because it is a more modern and complete spread, that in addition to revealing your future, that 11th card also gives you guidance and direction about the best you can do in your situation.

You see, in the past, the Tarot was used only to predict the future. And although it is an excellent tool for this, it is not its only purpose.

Today when most of us are developing our own spirituality and want to connect with and receive advice directly from our Higher Power, Ascended Masters, and Angelic Guides, we need to incorporate space into the classic Tarot spreads to receive such guidance and advice.

That is why, respecting the traditional Celtic cross Tarot spread format, I incorporated one more card whose purpose is to receive advice from our Higher Power, Guides, Ascended Masters, and Angels.

How To Do a Celtic Cross Spread

To do an 11 card Celtic cross spread, we will follow the traditional Celtic cross layout, adding one more cart at the end, above the 10th card. 

This is how the 11 card Celtic cross spread looks like:

11 card Celtic cross spread
11 card Celtic cross spread

How To Read The Celtic Cross Spread

To read an 11 card Celtic cross spread, we will use the classic method and read it starting with the first card, then the second, etc., following the spread order.

Of course, you can use this guide to read the traditional Celtic cross tarot spread too. All you have to do is use 10 cards instead of 11. The meanings of each card in their positions are the same for both styles of Tarot spread.

11 card Celtic cross spread position meanings

Now let’s analyze in detail the meaning of the cards in each of the positions in the 11 card Celtic cross spread.

11 card celtic cross spread infographic
  • Celtic cross card position #1: The Core
  • Celtic cross card position #2: The Obstacle
  • Celtic cross card position #3: The Ideal
  • Celtic cross card position #4: The Foundation
  • Celtic cross card position #5: The Past
  • Celtic cross card position #6: The Future
  • Celtic cross card position #7: The Attitude
  • Celtic cross card position #8: The Influences
  • Celtic cross card position #9: The Hopes/Fears
  • Celtic cross card position #10: The Outcome
  • Celtic cross card position #11: The Advice

Celtic cross card position #1: The Core

Celtic cross card position 1: The Core
Celtic cross card position #1: The Core

This card answers the question:

What is this situation really all about? 

This card is one of the most important and one that you must interpret well from the beginning. Remember that not everything is what it seems. What may look like, for example, a relationship problem can be rooted in problems of self-esteem, or money, or other things. And this is the card that will reveal to you that core issue.

Celtic cross card position #2: The Obstacle

Celtic cross card position 2: The Obstacle
Celtic cross card position #2: The Obstacle

This card answers the question:

What is preventing this situation from being resolved or moving forward?

Open your mind when interpreting this card because the obstacle may be another person or situation. Still, it can also be a querent’s mentality or attitude, which prevents her from finding a solution to her situation.

Celtic cross card position #3: The Ideal

Celtic cross card position 3: The Ideal
Celtic cross card position #3: The Ideal

This card answers the question:

What does the querent think it’s the ideal solution?

Please pay attention to this card because it shows us what the querent considers the ideal solution. But it does NOT mean that it is the ideal solution to the situation. It only shows what the querent thinks it’s the ideal solution. And many times, this idealization is what prevents us from finding a better solution!

Celtic cross card position #4: The Foundation

Celtic cross card position 4: The Foundation
Celtic cross card position #4: The Foundation

This card answers the question:

What is the basis on which this situation has been built?

This card shows us the hidden beliefs, ideas, values, problems, etc., on which this situation rests. If the foundation is false or unstable, the situation will falter or collapse later.

Celtic cross card position #5: The Past

Celtic cross card position 5: The Past
Celtic cross card position #5: The Past

This card answers the question:

What in the past has strongly influenced this situation?

This card sheds light on past events, specifically on one thing from the past, which has especially contributed to the current situation.

Celtic cross card position #6: The Future

Celtic cross card position 6: The Future
Celtic cross card position #6: The Future

This card answers the question:

What will happen with this situation in the short term?

This card is significant and, unfortunately, very misunderstood as well. The Future card shows us what will happen in the near future IF WE DO NOTHING regarding the situation we are asking about.

In this card, we see what will happen if we let things run their course without intervening or making changes. If you like where things are heading, just let events take their course.

If you do not like what will happen in the short term, the best you can do is make a new spread asking, “What is the best I can do to change the outcome in the near future?

Celtic cross card position #7: The Attitude

Celtic cross spread card 7
Celtic cross card position #7: The Attitude

This card answers the question:

How does the querent really feel about this situation?

This card reveals the true mental and emotional state of the querent regarding the situation on which she is consulting.

Use this card to see if the attitude of the querent is affecting the situation, and in what way.

Celtic cross card position #8: The Influences

Celtic cross spread card 8
Celtic cross card position #8: The Influences

This card answers the question:

What external influences are affecting this situation?

This card shows us how external influences (other people or things) are affecting the situation. If we see that the external influence is too great and/or negative, we can use this information as a starting point to find out how to reduce or eliminate this interference.

Celtic cross card position #9: The Hopes/Fears

Celtic cross spread card 9
Celtic cross card position #9: Hopes and Fears

This card answers the question:

What are the hopes or fears of the querent about this situation?

This card helps us better understand the limiting beliefs or baseless fantasies that may affect the querent and attract a negative outcome to the situation.

Celtic cross card position #10: The Outcome

Celtic cross spread card 10
Celtic cross card position #10: The Outcome

This card answers the question:

How is this situation most likely to evolve or end?

This is another of the key cards of the Celtic cross spread. Remember that the future is NOT set in stone. If you like this Outcome, go about your life and let events unfold naturally.

If you don’t like the Outcome, do another reading asking the Tarot what you can do to change it for a happier and more positive result.

Celtic cross card position #11: The Advice

Celtic cross spread card 11
Celtic cross card position #11: The Advice

This card answers the question:

What is the advice of my Higher Power / Guides / Ascended Masters / Angels in this situation?

This is the extra card that I incorporate into the 11 card Celtic cross spread. The Outcome is not black and white, and it can always be changed. And the best way to improve the outcome is by asking for the advice and guidance of our Higher Power, Guides, Ascended Masters, and Angels. 

Celtic Cross Tarot Interpretation – How To Read It Like a Pro

Remember that doing a Tarot reading is not just a matter of interpreting each card individually in its position, but of interpreting the spread as a whole.

Use these guidelines for reading the Celtic cross spread like a pro.

1. Understand the querent’s role in the situation

Celtic cross interpretation cards 1, 2, 3, 7, and 9 highlighted

Look at cards 1, 2, 3, 7, and 9 to evaluate the querent’s role in this situation. This combination of cards will help you understand the querent’s position concerning this situation and what attitudes, thoughts, fears, and hopes prevent him from achieving the desired outcome.

2. Discover where is this situation coming from

Celtic cross interpretation cards 4 and 5 highlighted

Look at cards 4 and 5 to see where this situation is really coming from. Understanding where it comes from, the basis of everything that is happening, will help the querent better understand the situation and their role in it.

3. Evaluate the power of external influences

Celtic cross interpretation card 8 highlighted

Pay special attention to card 8. If it’s a simple card, don’t worry too much about integrating it into the spread. But if it is a major arcana, or a problematic card (such as the 3 of Swords, the 9 of Swords, or the 5 of Wands), it is better to make another spread to see who or what is causing such interference. 

4. Give a concrete answer about the future

Celtic cross interpretation cards 6, 10, and 11 highlighted

This is probably what the querent is most interested in knowing. To give a concrete answer about the future, pay special attention to cards 6, 10, and 11. The outcome and the near future look positive or negative? What is the advice of the Higher Power and Guides? If the result is not clear or is not what the querent want, do one more Tarot reading to see why it is like that and what can be done.

Conclusion

Learning how to do the 11 card Celtic cross spread is easy if you follow these steps. Use the card positions’ key questions to interpret them individually, and then combine them using the method explained above for reading the Celtic cross spread like a pro.

And practice a lot! Practice this spread with friends, family, colleagues, co-workers, and even yourself. Tarot is a language, and the more you practice it, the faster you will become fluent at it!

Of course, what you will need now is to know how to interpret the cards in the spread. But don’t worry, I also have that covered for you in this ultimate list of Tarot cards with pictures and meanings.

Tell me in the comments what are your results with this 11 card Celtic cross spread. And if you liked it, remember to share this post on social media!


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