It's an old standard. Much like the songs of Frank Sinatra or Billie Holiday, The Celtic Cross is a spread that every Tarot reader has in their arsenal. That is, except for me. Despite the fact that it's a spread even the most novice Tarot observer can recognize, it has never been one I've been able to connect with.
Dating back to A.E. Waite and his involvment with The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, the spread is mostly commonly used to answer more general inquires about the querent's life, goals, and any potential road-blocks they may encounter while highlighting internal and external factors that may be playing a role.
Maybe it's my aversion to automatically like or follow something the general masses use or gravitate toward (it's the inner hipster in me, I think...), but I could not for the life of me connect to a spread I was starting to feel every Tarot reader knew inside and out.
Now, this has been a bit of a blessing, as it has required me to research and find other spreads that could be just as effective as The Celtic Cross (my FAVORITE I picked up from fellow Tarot tosser Fiona Benjamin and her YouTube Channel! I'd also recommend what I've pretty plainly dubbed the 10 Card Spread; three mini reads in one! I forget, though, where I found it...). However, I would always run across ol' faithful and could never shake the feeling that I was missing out on delivering some great readings due to my inability to make "C squared" work for me. I tried variations ranging from the original RWS little white book, a take on it by Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone form their The Fool's Dog Tarot App companion book The Concise Tarot Reader, NUMEROUS sites, books, and blogs, and even hit up Pinterest a few times (which I wold highly recommend...some great Tarot treasures out there in the world of the virtual inspiration board!)
Now finally, FINALLY, I have found a version of the spread that works me for! I'm not sure what it is about this particular variation that connects with me so well, but the minute I found it it was off to the races!
I don't recall HOW I found it, but I stumbled across the enchanting The Good Spellbook a few weeks back. A bohemian beauty of a site, the three curators of this little witchy corner of the web posted their own version of The Celtic Cross, and for me it just CLICKED!
The first "AH-HA" factor for me was the use of the Conscious and Subconscious cards within the spread. Now some may argue that this is what is represented in traditional variations by "What Roots You/What Crowns You", but I'm always been drawn to spreads that HIGHLIGHT consciousness in any form and this really works for me. I like to get my querent thinking not only on those aspects that they know, but also those they may be unaware of, or worse, attempting to avoid. It helps shed light on problems or factors in a no nonsense, straight to the point sort of way (a technique I'm always in favor of).
The spread also takes away the "cross" factor of the spread and turns the order of the cards into a "wheel". While I get that's it's not called "The Celtic Wheel", I've always responded better to this variation then ones that follow the motions of what is usually perceived as the Christian cross' Father, Son, Holy Ghost motion (no disrespect, yo! I just like the flow better!).
I'm also a fan of the lack of a significator. A concept I have never really got on board with, I'd much rather use a querent's question and energy to help focus the reading than taking a card out of the deck which could really have something to say if included in the spread in order for it to act as what I believe to be a mere place holder. While others obviously (and obviously freely) see things differently, it's never been something to put float in my boat and I was happy to see it omitted here.
If you're familiar with the spread, the "staff" (cards 7-10) remains pretty much unchanged from what most would call the "traditional" Celtic Cross. Clearly my issues were with the "wheel", and I have FINALLY been able to find a variation that does me some good!
I think it's important in life to admit to ourselves and others that we don't always understand or grasp a concept, teaching, philosophy, fad, etc. Conformity is detrimental to our individual growth as humans, and not only negatively effects us but has potential repercussions on those around us. If I went around pretending to know and like this spread before this discovery merely for the purpose of conforming to other readers and their spread offerings, I would be doing a HUGE disservice to myself and my clients. Instead, I held off on utilizing it until I found a version that works for me. Now I'm able to give authentic, from-the-heart readings using this insightful spread that both my clients AND myself can feel good about in the end!