Practice Reading – The Horse Shoe Spread

Hi to All My Tarot Friends,

Tarot Problem Page

Layout for Horse Shoe Spread

(Please note this image is for layout purposes only and does not show the Cards for the Reading)

Cards for Reading

Base Card  – Judgement (XX) Major Arcana

Card 1 – 2 of Swords Reversed

Card 2  – 10 of Wands

Card 3 Near Future – 7 of Wands and 5 Wands

Card 4 Answer – 10 of Cups

Card 5 (Surrounding Energies) – 9 Pentacles/4 Wands

Card 6 (Hopes and Fears) – 6 Swords

Card 7 (Outcome) – 8 of Wands

Here is The Horse Shoe Spread for you to have a go at (see layout above).  The Practice Reading I have posted below is based on this Spread. It is a Reading I did a few years ago. I have been given permission from the Querant to use it for Practice Reading purposes when teaching.  The Horse Shoe Spread is very popular among Readers of all levels and can be used for multi-purpose Readings. It is a variation of the Celtic Cross Spread.  It has a basic shape of 7 Cards laid out anti-clockwise in a Horse Shoe shape (click here to see exact layout of Practice Reading) .  In the Reading below, extra Cards have been drawn for some of the positions at the request of the Querant at the time.  When doing Readings, it is perfectly fine to add extra Cards in a Spread, but try not to add too many as the Reading is liable to get confusing. In addition to the Cards drawn for the Spread, I have also added the Base Card.

The Base Card is the Card that is found at the bottom of the Deck, after all shuffling has been completed, and before Cards are drawn.  It is the very last Card in the Deck. The Base Card often yields substantial information about the nature of the Reading, and as a Stand Alone Card, it can be uncannily accurate.  The Base Card should be looked at before any other Cards. If its meaning is not clear at first, it will likely make its relevance apparent as the Reading progresses.

It is important to understand what area a Position in a Spread covers. It is best to approach each Position with a flexible and open-mind. This is important for the Querant to understand too.  For instance, Querants do not always understand what the Past Position means. They can take it too literally; they can think it refers to the recent past or distant, but not both.  You may see something in their Past Position Card and go to great lengths to explain what it is.  The Querant can look blank and say it has no meaning for them.  This gets you off to a bad start.  You may see a broken relationship in the past that is causing them problems, but they disagree with you. Later in the Reading this comes out again and again before the Querant eventually makes a connection saying, ‘oh yes, there was a relationship, but that was over a year ago. I thought you meant in the last couple of months’. So a two-way flow of communication is very important. The Querant must know what you are referring to in relation to time spans and what the Position implies. However, do not get bogged down in having rigid views.

The Horse Shoe Spread has Seven Positions.

Position 1 The Past (This can be any time from a couple of weeks ago to two years ago.  Depending on the Reading, and if you get a sense about it, it may refer to the distant past or childhood.  Experience and practice will help with this. This Card should give background information as to the root cause of the situation i.e. where it is coming from).

Position 2 – The Present (approx. 3/4 weeks each way, but it may be more than that, so keep an open mind.  This Card should yield information about what is happening in and around the situation at the moment. This Card can also throw some light on the people who are involved if Court Cards are present.

Position 3 – The Near Future (approx. 3/4 months) This Card should give an indication of where the situation is heading based on the last two Cards, how it is likely to develop. Here is where the first bit of constructive advice can be given if the Card appears to be negative or unwelcome.  The Past cannot be changed, the Present is happening now,  but the Querant does have the power to take steps to change the future. They can do this by changing their attitude, behaviour, feelings and actions. If the Card is a Major (one of the 22 Cards of The Major Arcana), then the situation will be quite difficult to change as these Cards indicate a more fixed state.

Position 4 – The Answer (one of the most confusing Cards and needs a lot of practice to understand its nature.  The Answer does not mean the Outcome. The Answer can represent The Desired Outcome and may not be based on reality, but more like wishful thinking.  The Answer can represent advice, or the solution to the situation or issue, but it does not mean that it will occur or be taken on board. The Answer can act as confirmation or reiteration for the Outcome Card, suggesting that yes, it is the best Outcome under the circumstances. The Answer Card if in opposition to the Outcome Card, can suggest that you are heading for the wrong Outcome by the choices you are making. The route you are taking is not in your best interest, there is another way.

If you are looking for a definite ‘Yes’, then the Outcome and Answer Card should both be Upright. A Reversed Answer Card can indicate blocks or set-backs to the Desired Outcome. Once again, if the Answer Card is a Major Card, either Upright or Reversed it carries more weight than a Minor Card.

The Answer Card can also stand as a representation of the Querant, highlighting their personality or where they stand in the situation and how it is affecting them.

The Answer Card in The Horse Shoe Spread is generally read last. However, should you see a very positive Outcome and Answer Card from the outset, it can be very reassuring to let the Querant know this. When both Outcome and Answer Cards appear Negative or Reversed attention should not be immediately drawn to them.  The Reading should be worked through so that the Querant is gently guided and assisted in understanding the reasoning and logic behind them.

Position 5 – The Surrounding Energy (Another difficult one for Readers to interpret. It is a bit like the Base Card, but instead of it giving you background information, it will let you know the general feel surrounding the issue or situation.  It can show how others are perceiving  the issue, family and friends for instance, and whether the atmosphere is either positive or negative. It can expose information that the Querant may not necessarily wish to reveal, therefore, hidden agendas or the ‘real story’ can turn up in this area)

Position 6 – Hopes and Fears – This is quite straight forward.  If it is an apparent Negative Card, then it represents the Querant’s Fears about the situation. It is also shows that they are quite pessimistic about the Outcome. Their Fears can be discussed and extra Cards may need to be drawn to get to the root of these fears.  If it is an apparent Positive Card, it reflects the Querant’s Hopes, and suggests they are quite optimistic about the Outcome and have a positive outlook.

Position 7 – Outcome – This Card represents the Probable Outcome and not a definite Outcome.  In Tarot, nothing is set in stone or absolute. No guarantees should ever be given.  Telling a Querant that a certain Tarot Card is telling them exactly what is going to happen or what they have to do is interfering with the individual’s freedom of choice. No matter how excellent a Tarot Reader you think you are, you can never be 100% accurate.

The Outcome suggests the most likely Outcome based on the attitudes, actions, behaviour, feelings and thoughts of all involved, if the situation continues as it is. If the Outcome Card is Positive and Welcome, it suggests that there is great potential for all to work out in the end. This can be very reassuring for the Querant.  If the Outcome Card is Negative and Unwelcome, then it can suggest that the Querant is unlikely to be happy about how things are going to work out. They may not get what they want.  If you are using Reversed Cards, they may have appeared in the Reading highlighting blocks, negative mind-sets or behaviour that is stymieing a successful Outcome.  Constructive advice can be given or extra Cards drawn for further insight. Look to the Answer Card in Position 4 for advice, solutions or options.  It is quite common to do a second Reading using a Negative Outcome Card as the focus, with the intention of seeking constructive advice and a way forward for the Querant.

Along with Reading the individual Positions, you should be observant of Cards that are opposite each other, and diagonal to each other. If there are Court Cards, note which way they are facing and which Card is opposite them. For instance, a Court Card directly opposite an apparent Negative Card can throw light on who is causing the problem.

The above all sounds very complicated but only because it is written down.  We automatically arrive at these assumptions in our everyday life as we go about our business and when communicating with those around us. No one thing ever stands alone without having an effect of one sort or another on others, or the atmosphere around it.  In our everyday life we are constantly making connections and linking one bit of information with another in order to arrive at an assumption or the facts.  When we watch movies, TV dramas and soap operas, we actively and consciously participate in looking at a scenario from many different angles and perspectives. We analyse the characters and their personalities, search for flaws, inconsistencies, hidden agendas. We try to second guess or predict what will happen next and declare loudly to all ‘I knew that was going to happen’ when it actually does. When asked by those present with us ‘how did you come up with that?’, you are ready and waiting with a list of all the observations, links and connections you have made. Some around you may have come up with similar conclusions or were way off the mark.  We all know there are some much better than the rest of us at working out complicated plots and puzzling situations.  Some of us are  natural Police Officers, Detectives. Then there are those who are inclined in a Forensic manner. There are those who have a combination of the above, with minds, eyes and ears that are acrobatic, elastic and extremely rapid. Their minds flit this way and that, calculating and analysing continuously, while their eyes miss nothing and their ears here all.  Bringing a Tarot Reading together does involve having to cover many angles all at the one time, a bit like watching a tv drama or movie when you are not just content to sit there waiting for the end to find out ‘who did it’.  You want to work it out for yourself, and so must apply yourself to the task, and not just be a passenger. Intense detective and forensic work goes into Tarot Readings on many occasions. It takes time to be successful at juggling it all. In time like any decent Forensic Detective or Sleuth knows, it becomes instinctive and automatic.

So if you are ready to have a go at making links and connections, have an attempt at the Reading by clicking here or on the Link below. This Link will take you to the  Practice Reading – The Horse Shoe Spread. Read the Querant’s Question several times and make sure that your Reading keeps coming back to the Question. Set your imagination and subconscious free. Set you mind to analytical mode. Let them report back to you with their findings. See what you come up with. I will post a transcription of this Reading next week which will should allow sufficient time for interpretation.  You can then compare your Interpretation with mine.

Practice Reading – The Horse Shoe Spread

Remember it would be really weird if you were all to come up with the exact same interpretation as mine, so do not expect to.  Your Reading will be a reflection of your own personal style of interpretation.

Good Luck!  

Vivien (your Tarot Teacher)


The Querant – Male. Late Fifties. Quiet spoken and a bit unsure as to what will come of the Reading.  Slow to communicate in the beginning, but once he settles into the Reading and sees how relevant all the Cards are he becomes quite animated and leans closer to view the imagery on the Cards for himself.  He has never had a Tarot Card Reading before but connects quite quickly to their symbolic nature.  He sees things in the Cards himself and points them out to me as we go along.  

The Question – I am going through a difficult time at the moment and would like to know what the next year holds for me.  I am filing for divorce, have a lot going on in work and can’t seem to see the wood for the trees.  My divorce is not amicable so I know it is going to be tough going.  The good thing is, I am in a very strong relationship but feel I cannot fully commit until I am totally free.  I feel tired of it all right now and would love to see some sort of light at the end of the tunnel.

The Cards Drawn

Base Card  – Judgement (XX) Major Arcana

Card 1 – 2 of Swords Reversed

Card 2  – 10 of Wands

Card 3 Near Future – 7 of Wands and 5 Wands

Card 4 Answer – 10 of Cups

Card 5 (Surrounding Energies) – 9 Pentacles/4 Wands

Card 6 (Hopes and Fears) – 6 Swords

Card 7 (Outcome) – 8 of Wands

The Horse Shoe Spread – Practice Reading (please Click)

Practice Readings

Copyright © 2006-2013 Vivien Ní Dhuinn

About miss tarot teacher

I am a Blogger, Blog Mentor and writer. I am also an experienced Tarot Consultant and have written an in-depth and comprehensive online course for those who wish to become a Professional Tarot Reader or Consultant. I am skilled in various areas of Digital Technology. I happen to make vintage style boudoir dolls in my spare time and am a trained mezzo soprano. I have a passion for Tudor History.

Posted on July 24, 2013, in Practice Reading, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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