The Celtic Cross

The Celtic Cross

Some may say that the celtic cross spread is a challenging one and I agree. When I first encountered this spread, I was scared to even attempt it. There are so many cards! And so many things to connect! As such, I thought I would share the first ever reading I did from this spread, to show it shouldn’t be as intimidating as it seems. For this reading, I drew upon a couple I know very well. I had gotten the 9 of swords for party Y once and when I drew a card for her this year, I got 10 of swords as her character card. Curious, I drew the celtic cross spread to find out more details.

A reading about a relationship

8 of wands and Knight of swords: the central conflict

I interpret these two cards as the clash between the fierce intellect (party x) and untamed imagination with no obvious end (party y). Because X is ruled by a realm of logic and reason- the concrete, material realm- and Y is chasing after something imaginary, there is an imbalance, creating the central conflict.


Foundational issue from past: 10 of pentacles reversed

When I saw this card, the first message that appeared strongly in my mind was greed. 10 of pentacles is the ultimate card of prosperity. In this case, its reversed position seems to apply the pursuit of greed for selfish reasons, leading to an unpleasant end.

Past: 9 of swords

Now… the past card here was why I drew this spread in the first place and it did not surprise me to see the same card appear in the past position for Party Y. 9 of swords is one of those cards most people fear the most to get because it is all about inner turmoil. The figure in the image is defined by a sense of victimhood. Her identity has been founded upon a sense of martyrdom and sacrifice and now her dreams are tormented by regret and despair. This card is also a very ‘mental’ card in that the source of conflict is created by the mind. She wakes upon her bed as if from a nightmare, with 9 swords piercing the negative space of the card, suggesting her subconscious self is plagued by a sense of regret and guilt about the past. Keen.com phrases it nicely that

“This card confronts you to accept responsibility for your actions even as it refuses to divulge the impact these sins will have…. When the Nine of Swords is in the past position, there are deep issues of having been responsible for something terrible or for feeling guilty about an old tragedy”.

Seeing I had had the 9 of swords card drawn for party X 3 years before this reading, I see 10 of swords as a natural progress from choosing to declare oneself a martyr to avoid responsibilities for events to being defined by a sense of regret and despair because of that avoidance of responsibility.

Present: Death

Death as a present card, here, is not physical, but represents the death of an old state and the emergence of the new. The subject may be going through some powerful life transitions that will force them to have to make some important choices that will decide their fate. The future card, in this case, is important to understand what exactly this ‘death’ will bring.

Future: 2 of swords

This card is not promising as a future card as it represents a blockage of emotions. Not being willing to see truth, the subject shields herself with whatever weapons she has at her disposal. The swords in the picture suggest she is protecting herself with the mental beliefs she has created (a reference to the 9 of swords card).  The figure is also dressed in white (a nod to the martyr card: 8 of swords). This is the card of ‘turning a blind eye’ to the reality of the situation. It suggests the ‘death’ change that happened only served to make the subject more defensive and more sure of the lies she has created within her inner, mental realm. She is choosing to invest energy in the self-constructed mythology of her mind rather than see what is in front of her. The card seems to be quite neutral though. All the conflict takes place in the subject’s mind. The sea is calm and the scene is quite mundane, suggesting the drama is all self-created.

The Reader’s position in the situation: Ace of Swords

I had asked the cards “How will this relationship affect my relationship with the party? Will everything turn out for the best for me?” The cards turn to address this after this card. Hence, I read this card to mean my relationship in this scenario in connection with both parties.

I read Ace of Swords, here, to present the clarity of reason / truth conquering lies. A sword pierces the clouds with a crown upon it. The card suggests that I have a conviction that, no matter what happens, truth will win or prevail and this is what will affect the outcome of the scenario.

Also note how the hand comes in from nowhere and is disembodied, hovering over a landscape. It seems that this card is really about the power of the mind to create reality and truth, which is quite a contrast to the previous cards which are about using the intellect to shield oneself from reality.

Exterior perception of the scenario/ Environment: 6 of swords

Everyone around me apparently seems to see this whole scenario as a laborious journey towards healing. This is not a wholly negative card though. I feel strongly that the figure in this card has a sense purpose and destiny. He is rowing towards a distant land with his family. Apparently, it seems that those around me see the relationship between X, Y and me as a long journey with many obstacles (the swords in the picture) but the upward current of the card and the sight of land suggests an optimistic future.

Advice and Outcome: 10 of cups and 6 of cups

Here, things take a definite turn. The advice card seems to suggest that I need to focus on what I already have: abundance, family, ties and that by focussing on those things, I will achieve the outcome: happiness and a kind of idyllic state.

  In general, it was really good practice! I have avoided mentioning the names of the parties to protect the privacy of people involved, but I think anyone who knows me will be able to guess who they are. Suffice to say, it’s interesting how the Celtic Cross can map out the entire scenario in a very concrete way. I strongly advise anyone who seeks insight into a scenario to explore this spread and see what you discover.
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