Complete Guide for the 9-Card Tarot Spread

  • By: Reece
  • Date: 20 February 2023
  • Time to read: 4 min.

By the time you are ready to utilize a 9-card tarot spread, you should already have some experience under your belt doing readings. While the 9-card spread can be a little complicated, it doesn’t have to be this way.

In fact, don’t think of this spread as being a detriment because there are more cards to learn; instead, think of it as a huge opportunity to get even more specific with your clients and provide them with revelations that are much more detailed than they would be if you’d used a smaller spread.

The good news about the 9-card spread is that you have a lot of leeway to design and interpret them any way you wish. Like other spreads, you’re in control when it comes to your readings, and the way the cards are read presents you with far more possibilities in the end. You only have to remember exactly what you’re going to ask for each card and what each of those cards represents. Let’s take a look at some of your possibilities when you use a 9-card tarot spread.

Basic Reading for a 9-Card Tarot Spread

Complete Guide for the 9-Card Tarot Spread

This article will explain three basic spreads and ways to read them to receive the insight you’re looking for. For the first two spreads, the cards are laid out in three rows of three cards each. This is what the spread looks like:

  • Row 1: Cards 1, 2, and 3
  • Row 2: Cards 4, 5, and 6
  • Row 3: Cards 7, 8, and 9

The first way that you can utilize this spread is to read the center card, the corner cards, the vertical cards, or the diagonal cards. In other words, keeping in mind the spread mentioned above, you can read the cards any of the following ways:

  • Center card only, which is card 5
  • The corner cards only; for example, 1 and 3, 7 and 9, 1 and 9, or 3 and 7
  • The cards placed vertically from one another, which includes 1, 4, and 7; 2, 5, and 8; or 3, 6, and 9
  • The cards placed diagonally from one another, which includes 1, 5, and 9; and 3, 5, and 7

As you can see, there is a lot of variety with this spread, so you can get very creative with your readings when you use it.

Another Possibility

Using this same spread, you can conduct a reading that tells you a lot about the past, present, and future. Take a look at the following information:

  • First column (1, 4, and 7): The past
  • Second column (2, 5, and 8): The present
  • Third column (3, 6, and 9): The future
  • First row (1, 2, and 3): What’s on your mind
  • Second row (4, 5, and 6): The present situation or challenge you’re experiencing
  • Third row (7, 8, and 9): Your strengths

This utilization gives you some specific areas to look for as you conduct your reading. You don’t have to make up any questions but instead, you’ll simply be looking for revelations and answers to six specific areas. For people who don’t yet feel confident enough to come up with questions on their own, this is a great spread to use.

A Third Option

This third 9-card spread has a layout that looks a bit complex, but it’s really very simple once you get used to it. The card layout is a diamond shape that is arranged like this:

  • Row 1: Card 9
  • Row 2: Cards 4 and 5 (placed on either side of Card 9)
  • Row 3: Cards 6, 1, and 7 (in that order)
  • Row 4: Cards 2 and 3
  • Row 5: Card 8

When you’re laying out the cards, make sure that there is space in between every card. You don’t want any of the cards touching one another or being right next to one another. With spaces, the arrangement makes for a perfect diamond shape that makes your readings a lot more fun. And when it comes to assigning a question or value to each of the cards, here is what you can do:

  • Card 1: The specific situation you’re dealing with
  • Card 2: What you should be avoiding
  • Card 3: What you should be pursuing
  • Card 4: Which obstacles you are currently facing that you need to get rid of so you can face your fears
  • Card 5: The tools you have and need to deal with the current situation
  • Card 6: Past influences that can help you understand why you’re dealing with the situation and what you should do about it
  • Card 7: The potential outcome, which could have a very vague answer or revelation
  • Card 8: Things that are beneath you that you no longer have to worry about or deal with
  • Card 9: The crown/summary of the reading

One More Spread to Try

Finally, here is one more possibility we’d like to squeeze in to let you know that there are lots of possibilities with 9-card spreads. Arrange the cards in an inverted pyramid style with the following cards:

  • Row 1: Cards 6, 7, 8, and 9
  • Row 2: Cards 3, 4, and 5
  • Row 3: Cards 1 and 2

For a “monthly check-in” reading, here is what the cards symbolize:

  • Card 1: Your current self
  • Card 2: The theme of the month
  • Card 3: Your key goal to pursue
  • Card 4: An obstacle to overcome
  • Card 5: A major accomplishment
  • Card 6: What you should avoid
  • Card 7: What you should embrace
  • Card 8: Where to go to find support
  • Card 9: Advice and encouragement

Of course, you can assign any value to the cards that you like, as long as you’re consistent throughout the reading.


Nine-card tarot spreads seem complicated but are easier than you think once you get a few of them under your belt. Still, readings using lots of tarot cards should only be attempted by more experienced tarot card readers because they are usually too confusing for beginners. Nevertheless, a 9-card tarot reading is very in-depth and helpful to the client, and once you learn how to do one, you’ll be tempted to use them from then on.

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