My Favorite Four Card Spread

I’ve been spending a lot of time reading tarot on the Biddy Tarot Free Readers Network and I realized that having a good, versatile go-to spread, containing a reasonable number of cards, is absolutely essential (at least for me).  I started out spending a lot of time and energy coming up with elaborate spreads specifically designed for each question I received. I was so tired by the time I was done designing the spread, that I didn’t have much energy for the reading. So I came up with this simple four card spread which covers a lot of the information that I need to answer my clients questions.


Here is a sample reading using this spread. The querent is wondering what she needs to know about a possible relocation. (Reading used with querent’s consent.)

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Card #1 – The Querent/The Current Situation: Nine of Swords: Right away it looks like this move is causing a lot of anxiety and I get the feeling its not your run-of-the-mill moving jitters I’m seeing, its much deeper than that. If the querent isn’t feeling the effects of this distress outright, it still exists on a subconscious level. If it does exist on a subconscious level it could be more troublesome to address because its being stuffed down and not dealt with. The reasons for the anxiety need to be discovered and resolved. I also get a sense that there is a pattern somehow involved with this anxiety. Perhaps the querent has had very bad experiences with moves in the past and fears that this one will turn out similarly.

Card #2 – Unknown Factor/Additional Information/Blocks: Eight of Cups: The anxiety in the Nine of Swords could be linked to an unwillingness to leave behind what she has, where she is now. Even with the possibilities of a much more satisfying future situation, something about her present circumstances have an emotional hold that she is distressed to let go of. Taking time to pin point exactly what that is may make it easier to let go. Taking time to meditate on the reasons for making this move and how they will positively effect her life can help to refocus that energy.

Card #3 – Advice/Focus: The Tower: She needs to stop  holding everything in. Let it out. All the anxiety from the Nine of Swords is building up and it will explode, so she should decide when and how that will happen. Stop trying to act like you have everything under control. Its time to let yourself ball your eyes out, to scream into a pillow, to honor and validate your anxieties, your pain, the loss that this move will cause. Once you let yourself fall apart a little bit you will feel more free, lighter and more capable of moving forward. In the future it may be a good idea to find ways to let anxieties and fears out in little bursts so that they don’t build up and cause a full blown meltdown.

Card #4 – Outcome/Outlook/Future Potential: The Hanged Man: It looks like she won’t be able to successfully go forward with her plan to move until she’s done some soul searching and found a measure of peace with the decision. I do see that happening and I anticipate a sense of serenity and acceptance to replace the anxiety, but she must understand and honor how she is feeling now, first.

universal rider waite deckI hope you guys find this spread helpful. I love it. Its been incredibly useful to me so far and I feel like I get just as much information from my readings as I did when I used more cards. If you try it out, I’d love to hear if you liked it as well.

8 thoughts on “My Favorite Four Card Spread

  1. Thank you very much! I really like the “flexibility” and the synthesis power of this 4 cards spread. I totally agree: you don´t need more cards in order to be more accurate. You need to get the relations between them and dive deep into theier meaning. Or the message could become confuse! I tried it right ahead 🙂 I did it for myself, asking what do I need to know about a possible new love interest coming into my life (I´ve been single for quite a while and now). I got:

    Card #1 – The Querent/The Current Situation: ace of pentacles
    I read it as I am “ready” to commit. I see the ace as a new beginning, and maybe I am being more grounded than I used to be. I probably need to focus on my career goals and my self realisation more even in order to meet this person.
    Card #2 – Unknown Factor/Additional Information/Blocks: Justice
    Wow – big one!:) – there might be Karma issues related to my quest.. I need to keep working on my own inner balance and harmony and not looking for someone “to complete” me or to believe in me (I feel it´s connected to self love somehow).
    Card #3 – Advice/Focus: 9 pentacles
    Lucky one 🙂 – I have to believe in this, I need to keep a positive attitude. Maybe this new love approaching will be connected with my work field and somehow a healthy person..
    Card #4 – Outcome/Outlook/Future Potential: Queen of Wands
    I like her! 🙂 I think it might represent me, moving forward with my goals in life and overcoming some fears. It´s going to happen, it´s a question of inner strenght and keeping up with the challenge of believing in myself 🙂

    This is a very inspiring spread I´m gonna use it with my friends too 🙂 – I think it will delight everyone!
    Love and Light*


    • Hi Marta,
      I’m thrilled that you enjoyed the spread. 🙂 I see a lot of really positive energy and empowerment in the cards you got. 🙂


  2. This is a good spread. I usually don’t use more then five cards. Sometimes when it is a special occasion I will use more. But for a day to day question three or four are mostly enough. I think it is easier to weave a story around three or four cards then for instance around ten.


  3. Thanks for posting this. What a great blog…I love it. I’ll try the Tarot Parlor spread today. It appears to be ready to handle just about any situation. 🙂 pearl


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