Nine-Card Tarot Spread

Gem Blackthorn
3 min readNov 2, 2021

When you’re a working Tarot reader, you will eventually find yourself reading in a busy environment like a festival, market, or restaurant. A successful event will provide you with back-to-back clients. Seeing a line of people waiting to read with you is both exciting and daunting, but you shouldn’t let these feelings push you into rushing someone’s reading. Clients are not less deserving of a meaningful message just because they found you in a hectic environment.

Instead, I suggest using a spread that will help you establish a connection quickly by providing a snapshot of the querent's situation. I use a 9-Card spread for efficiency. Other names for this spread are The Portrait, The Box, or 3x3 spread. This spread was popularized by the Lenormand, a different divination system (the Lenormand is not an oracle deck) that originated in France. The symbolism in the Lenormand is more literal, and therefore their spreads allow for more literal interpretations.

Image by Gem Blackthorn

The client, or significator, is in the center of the spread. If the person is asking about a specific situation, it will represent the central theme of the situation.

Image provided by Gem Blackthorn

The cards circling the significator (curved arrows in the diagram) provide additional information about their client’s environment. While the earthly plane row describes literal situations and events, the cards surrounding the client allow for a more liberal interpretation.

The top row represents the spiritual plane. This stands for the universe, fate, God, whichever belief system works for you and the client. These are the greater forces in life that gently push the significator forward.

Like previously mentioned, the earthly plane is the most literal. Use this to gather concrete details. For example, timing, specific amounts, or description for people.

The bottom row represents the subconscious mind: dreams, secret desires, inner wisdom, or intuition. While Tarot readers should have tact throughout the entire reading, this row requires special attention because it may reveal private feelings or concerns.

Gem Blackthorn

✍️ Copywriter for spiritually-based business 🕊 Community Involvement Leader 🔮Tarot Educator/Reader 🌙 Occasional Poet