Complete Guide for the 5-Card Horseshoe Tarot Spread

  • By: Reece
  • Date: 20 February 2023
  • Time to read: 5 min.

There are numerous spreads available when you’re conducting a tarot card reading, and the 5-card horseshoe spread is a very popular one. As far as its shape is concerned, think of it as a giant upside-down “V,” with card number one being on the bottom left-hand side and card number five being on the bottom right-hand side. The cards numbered two, three, and four continue by being placed a little higher and with card number three being at the very top of this unique shape.

In fact, as long as you keep the five cards in the inverted “V” position, or something very similar in shape, the spread will work for you. The cards do not have to be in a ruler-straight upside-down “V” because as long as the shape is approximate, the spread is a lot easier to work with.

Why Five Cards?

Complete Guide for the 5-Card Horseshoe Tarot Spread

Five cards give you as the reader the opportunity to probe more and get more specific answers for the client in the end. Some readers simply place the five cards next to each other and make a straight line with them, but the horseshoe design means the cards are placed in positions that are a bit different than that. Just remember that card one is placed below card two, card three is placed above card two at the very top, then card four and five go back down on the other side of the inverted “V.”

A demonstration is the best way to tell readers how the 5-card horseshoe spread is supposed to work, so let’s take a closer look at how it is done. To begin with, the five cards in this type of spread have the following rough meanings; in other words, this is what the cards are there to tell.

  • Card one: your attitude. This means your present character and outlook, which are essential to know before you draw any other card.
  • Card two: your expectations – literally. In other words, this card represents what you wish to happen in your future, and it can indicate if you are an optimist, a pessimist, or a realist.
  • Card three: the unexpected. Think about things that can surprise you and how prepared you are for whatever this card may indicate. It can help you discover how open you are to new things happening.
  • Card four: the near future. This card will indicate what might happen in the next three to six months of your life and how your general attitude will affect that.
  • Card five: the far future. This is what might happen in the next year or more, and it could help you change your path so that you can get what you want in the end.

Now, when we say “you” when talking about what these five cards mean, we only mean “you” if you’re doing a reading on yourself. Otherwise, the remainder of this article applies to the querent, or the person who came to you for assistance. Again, the best way to show you how to conduct a tarot card reading using the 5-card horseshoe spread is to give you some examples of some cards that might be pulled so that you can see how everything comes together. Let’s do that now.

Card One: Attitude / The Fool Card

Pulling the Fool card usually signals the beginning of some type of learning because fools need to live and learn their way around life. The card can also mean an adventure is underway, so the querent might be escaping a challenging situation and need to take a step back to look at the “big picture” and determine whether or not they can keep a level head and land on their feet. In other words, the querent needs to pay attention to the details of the situation to be successful.

Card Two: Expectations / The Four of Pentacles

The Four of Pentacles is a miser and therefore doesn’t give freely. He loves material possessions and money and is extremely frugal. If you pull the Four of Pentacles as your second card in a 5-card horseshoe spread, it usually indicates that the querent needs to watch their money situation a bit. It doesn’t necessarily mean they need to be a penny-pincher, but it does mean they need to be a bit more careful with money.

Card Three: The Unexpected / The Hierophant

The Hierophant card is open to several interpretations and has to do with rules, religion, and history. Pulling this card as the third card means that if the querent is in the middle of a transition – for example, in between careers – they should stick to the basics and learn from people who have more experience than they do. They should stick to a timetable and follow the lead of people who know what they’re doing.

Card Four: The Near Future / Nine of Chalices

This card represents emotional satisfaction for the moment. It doesn’t mean extreme or lasting bliss, but an appreciation of the simple things in life. Again, if the querent is in the middle of some type of change, this card tells them they’ll be wise to enjoy the moment because it is the little things in life that tend to bring the most happiness.

Card Five: The Far Future / Seven of Swords

The Seven of Swords card is a symbol of dishonesty and ruthlessness. Sort of the opposite of a hero or a noble person. For querents, it may mean that the action they’re taking isn’t the most dignified one. This could mean that they aren’t necessarily doing what’s best for others, but that doesn’t always mean a bad thing. Sometimes, people have to do what’s best for themselves, and that is often what the Seven of Swords card means.


As you can see, the 5-card horseshoe spread is a popular one for many reasons. The order of the cards is important because this is the order of importance. This spread allows you to get a lot of the information that is yearned for by the client, and it is a fairly easy one to learn.

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