The Zodiac Spread – also known as the 12-House Astrology Spread – is extremely popular among professional tarot readers.
I think this spread is slightly less complicated than the Celtic Cross Spread, which makes it a great tarot layout for beginners who want to explore the cards deeper.
Reading the Zodiac Tarot Spread
There are two ways to read this spread:
- Informative, with each card representing its astrological house
- Predictive, with each card representing a month of the year
For the examples below, I’ll be interpreting this spread with each card tied to its astrological house.
Because the Zodiac Spread uses all 12 astrological houses (or areas of a person’s life), it’s an excellent spread to use in a general reading. It’s also a good starting point when you have more detailed questions, like “What will my finances look like over the next 12 months?”
If you’d like to try the ‘month of the year’ version, the layout is the same but you read the first card as January, the second card as February, etc.
The Basics of the Zodiac Tarot Spread
Before we get started, it’s important to know a few things about this spread. First, there are a zillion different variations on how to read it. The version shown here is one of the simplest, but if you have a deep familiarity with astrology, you may want to hunt down some of the more complicated interpretations.
Second, this spread is best done infrequently. This isn’t the spread to use for daily draws or weekly planning. I like to do this one in January, to plan out the year ahead, and once each quarter, to see if I’m on track. It’s also a great spread to use for your birthday.
And finally, don’t bother memorizing the astrological house associations. I’ve included them because they give additional meanings for people who are already familiar with the astrological signs and associations, but they aren’t necessary for understanding this spread.
Laying out the Zodiac Tarot Spread
This tarot layout uses twelve (or sometimes thirteen) cards, laid out in a circle.
Once you shuffle and cut the deck as you normally would, the first card is placed at the far left, at the 9 o’clock position. The remaining cards are laid counter-clockwise, one at each hour of the clock, with the optional 13th card in the center of the circle.
If you are familiar with astrology, you are basically placing each card to represent the houses of the zodiac chart, starting with Aries.
Interpreting the Zodiac Tarot Spread
To understand this reading, it helps to be familiar with the astrological houses of the zodiac.
The First Card – Your Identity
This is the house the represents your sun sign. Your sun sign is the astrological sign that you are probably most familiar with – it’s the one you tell people when they say, “Hey, baby, what’s your sign?”
The sun sign (and the first house) represents your personality and general attitude towards life. It’s how you express yourself outwardly to the world – how you see yourself, and how others see you.
It also indicates your physical health and appearance.
First House Associations
The Second Card – Your Resources
The second house is the money house. It shows your relationship to money, personal possessions, and security. It also indicates your current earning potential.
It’s the house of self-worth, as well. It also reveals your priorities in life, especially as it relates to what you value.
Second House Associations
The Third Card – Your Environment
The third house is all about your extended family, neighbors, and who you know. This includes siblings, grandparents, cousins, and the whole mess. (It does not include your parents, spouse, or kids).
The third house also covers where you live and your environment, including your daily travel and commute. A card like the Six of Swords in this position might indicate a move or relocation is in your future.
All forms of communication and writing fall under the third house, such as letters, phone calls, emails, and other messages.
Third House Associations
The Fourth Card – Your Home & Family
The fourth house shows information about your relationships at home, specifically with your parents or children.
This house is for your attachments, your roots, your domestic life, and your emotional security as it relates to your family.
Fourth House Associations
- the Moon
The Fifth Card – Your Creativity
The fifth house reveals your creativity in all areas of your life. It’s not just creativity as in art, music, and hobbies. It’s more about what you create and how you solve problems.
This house indicates your capacity for passion and how you translate your emotions into the material world.
It’s also the house that indicates what kind of lover you are. It’s the house that shows how you love and fall into love.
In this house, a relationship card indicates a short-term romantic affair, and an Ace can indicate a pregnancy – the ultimate creation.
Fifth House Associations
- the Sun
The Sixth Card – Your Daily Work
The sixth house reveals how healthy you are internally. Where the first house is about physical health externally, the sixth is more related to how you take care of your insides.
Think nutrition, self-care, personal hygiene, and the like.
The sixth house also includes your ‘every day routine’ – those habits and daily activities that you regularly do.
Sixth House Associations
The Seventh Card – Your Partnerships
The seventh house reveals your attitude about your partner, and about partnerships in general.
If you’re romantically involved, this indicates how you feel about that pairing, or what type of partner would best suit you.
It’s not just romantic relationships, though. This house includes all partnerships, including those at work or deep friendships. Even openly declared enemies are partners, in a sense.
This is also the house for legal matters, including marriage.
Seventh House Associations
The Eighth Card – Your Secrets
The eighth house is for the things that no one likes to talk about – death, sex, and taxes. It includes possessions you get from others, such as gifts, an inheritance, or winning the lottery. It’s the house you consult when you are thinking about making a big financial investment.
It’s also the house for your primal life force and sexual energy. It’s not so much about love-making (that’s the fifth house) as it is about your core energy drive.
Eigth House Associations
The Ninth Card – Your Growth
The ninth house holds your dreams and your growth, and all the ways you can expand yourself. This includes religion, philosophy, long-distance travel and education.
Ninth House Associations
The Tenth Card – Your Career
The tenth house indicates ‘you in the world.’ It’s not about how you present to the world (that’s the first house). It’s more about how you are fulfilling your dreams and self-expectations.
This includes your financial position, your career, and your public image.
Tenth House Associations
The Eleventh Card – Your Community
The eleventh house covers your casual friends, acquaintances, and social connections. It’s how you interact with the world.
This house includes your thoughts on generosity, charity, and giving.
Eleventh House Associations
The Twelfth Card – Your Shadow Self
The twelfth house is the house of your unconscious mind. It has been called the ‘house of sorrows’ because it deals with those issues and psychological problems that are not being dealt with.
It shows your burdens and secret fears, your self-imposed restrictions and limitations, and your hidden enemies and dangers.
This house also reveals whether or not your are living up to your life’s potential.
Twelfth House Associations
The Thirteenth Card – The Overall Theme (optional)
This totally optional card is placed in the center, to indicate the overall theme of the reading. It can give clarity to any of the other cards.
Going Deeper with the Zodiac Tarot Spread
Combining tarot and astrology is like combining shrimp with grits – there can be no more perfect match. Many of the tarot cards already have astrological symbols printed on them, and most cards have a zodiac association. It makes sense to combine the two.
I’ve barely touched on the possibilities and power of this spread – I highly recommend doing some research into the other ways to read it.