Russian cartomancy spreads have commonly been used for playing cards which traditionally uses a system of 36 cards instead of the standard French playing card deck of 52 cards.
This tarot spread here has been adapted from the traditional Russian Cross spread that’s used for playing cards and instead here used for a tarot reading.
This adaptation of a Russian Cross spread can be read as a general reading or to examine/answer a question.
Here we’ll include the steps of this variation of this tarot spread. Keep in mind this version isn’t traditional and has been adapted for use with tarot cards instead of a playing card deck of 36 cards.
A Russian Cross Tarot Spread
This tarot spread can be done with any tarot deck.
If you wish to use a Russian/Slavic theme deck, try:
- The Russian Tarot of St. Petersburg by Yury Shakow
- Golden Tarot of the Tsar by Lo Scarabeo
- Tarot of the Golden Wheel by Mila Losenko
If you’re looking for a Russian themed playing card deck, try this deck from The Witchery.
To begin the tarot spread, think of the question / topic for the reading or if you will do a general reading.
A significator can be used for the reading, however it’s not necessary. To know more about significators, check out Significator Tarot Cards: What are they & do you need them?
Here is a general layout of what the spread looks like:
The positions of this adaptation of the Russian Cross spread is as follows for tarot readings:
- What’s under your heart (the root of the current problem or situation)
- What’s on your heart (what crosses you or affects the current problem / situation)
- What’s on your mind
- The present situation / events / happenings
- The past situation / events / happenings
- The future situation / events / happenings
- How your past is affecting the present situation / problem
- How the past is affecting your current thoughts / plans
- How your current thoughts / plans are affecting your future
- How your current actions are affecting your future
- A final card for advice
Next shuffle the deck while thinking of the question, topic (or if a general reading) and the querent.
Cut the deck as usual and reassemble.
Then draw two cards from the top of the deck and place these as position one (1) and two (2) in the centre of the spread.
Shuffle the deck again and then cut the deck as usual, reassembling the deck again.
Now divide the deck into four piles of equal (or approximately equal) cards and distribute the piles as such:
Place the first pile in position 3.
Place the second pile in position 4.
Place the third pile in position 5.
Place the fourth pile in position 6.
Turn over the top card of pile 1 (in position 3). This card will be set in this position.
Take the rest of the pile that was in position 3 and place at the bottom of pile 2 in position 4.
Now take the top card of pile 2 in position 4 and turn it over. This will be the card that will be interpreted in this position.
Take the rest of the pile that is now in position 4 and place at the bottom of the pile in position 5.
Take the top card of the pile in position 5 and turn that card over. This will be the card that will be read for the position 5.
Take the remaining pile from position 5 and place those cards at the bottom of the pile in position 6.
Turn over the first card in the pile that is at position 6. This will be the card that will be read in that position.
Now take the remaining cards that were in position 6 (not including the card remaining for the position) and shuffle the cards while thinking of the next step of the reading – the “How questions” of the reading (see position explanations from above – positions 7 through 10.)
Shuffle the deck until you feel ready, then cut the deck and reassemble the deck.
Place 1 card from the top of the deck for each position: 7, 8, 9 and 10.
Take the remaining cards from the deck and shuffle again, thinking of the final card to be drawn which is the final word/advice for the reading.
Shuffle, cut and reassemble the deck. Draw one card from the top of the deck and place in position 11.
Now interpreting the tarot spread:
First begin with the two main cards.
Start with card position one, then two.
The rest of the spread is interpreted in the order the cards where placed down (1 through 11.)
The final card (position 11) gives some final advice and is generally viewed as a “takeaway” from the reading that can give a positive outlook or some encouragement for the querent.
If your style of tarot reading is more fluid and intuitive without many set rules, you may wish to make a note of where any of the figures in the spread are looking and if they are “interacting” with any of the other figures in the reading.
This can be such as if a Queen is facing towards or away from another court card or if two court cards are facing each other or away from each other.
For more about how to read these interactions between cards, check out Synergy and Tarot: Interactions between the Tarot Cards.
While this spread is mostly used in playing card divination reading, it can also be adapted to Lenormand-style readings which also use a 36-card deck.
This tarot spread here isn’t traditional and has been adapted from a personal practice to adjust it to tarot readings based on the Russian Cross spread method.
If you’re interested in learning the traditional Russian style methods with playing cards, check out this Classical Russian Spread Tutorial on YouTube.
While this isn’t the Russian Cross spread, it does show another Russian method of reading playing cards.
Впереди удача! Good fortune lies ahead!
Prefer to have this tarot spread done for you? The Russian Cross Tarot Spread is now available.
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