The Axis Relationship Tarot Spread

Axis Relationship Tarot Spread

This is not really a new Tarot spread – I have already shared versions of it on the blog… This is more of a ‘how to’… Today I want you to get a different feel for this traditional star layout when used for an overview of the relationship. In essence, at a glance, you get the same type of information from this type of Tarot spread as a summary of your astrological composite chart (where you read on the relationship as its own entity) if done right… but with the added bonus of a forecast of the long-term potential.

Look carefully at the cards… first along the vertical and then along the horizontal axis… The vertical axis gives you a clue about the depth of connection; the horizontal axis gives you an overview of how the relationship is most likely to progress and the final card tells you if there is long-term potential as things stand.  

Now shift your focus to your central card (1). The power to change lies in the now… If you have a strong card here, like Strength or The Sun, you have every opportunity to shift the future in your favour if you do not like the final card. However, whether or not you will want to should really depend on the depth of connection.

If card 3 indicates that things are cold/indifferent… 2 of Swords, 4 of Swords, 4 of Cups etc… or even contentious (any of the 5’s), do you really wish to pursue this relationship? You could have a strong connection due to fantastic chemistry but if the heart isn’t in it…

If card 2 is less than fabulous ask yourself how important a strong intellectual connection is to you and be honest about it. If cards 1-3 line up really wonderfully and the future still looks bleak, this is a relationship you will want to fight for!

The 4th card gives you important clues about the foundation of your relationship as this is how you arrived at where you are now (card 1).  If the Devil falls here or in position one, it is very likely that this is a connection you are better off without.

Really focus on getting a feel for how the energy flows along both axes. Feel free to ask if you get stuck but please note that I cannot interpret full spreads on here (there simply aren’t enough hours in the day!). Questions about individual cards that don’t make sense to you is totally fine though.

Hopefully, today’s post will help you understand the flow of reading the cards (for other layouts too!) a bit better. It is very much about getting a feel of how the energy flows between the cards and reading for overview as well as details. I would love to hear how you get on with this spread and look forward to your comments.


~ Lisa

Comments 32

  1. Hi Lisa! I really enjoyed this spread! For my reading I got 1) ten of cups
    2) five of wands
    3) four of pentacles
    4) ace of swords
    5) Justice
    To me the most alarming card here was the five of Wands as it is known as the “strife” card… and a card of battle which as an intellectual connection could probably prove draining over time— but the four of pentacles seems like such a good card emotionally that offsets that? Since it is very security minded and creature of comfort type card. The Ace of Swords seemed powerful same with the ten of cups and Justice ; however, would the ten of cups be considered ill dignified here? Because the ace of swords and Justice are next to it? It felt like maybe the reading was saying that our relationship is meant teach us and provides us a new way of thinking on what we both need to be happy in a home / marriage life which may not ultimately be together. Does that interpretation seem correct?

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      The Five of Wands is nowhere near as bad for a relationship as the 5 of Swords. On the positive side of the spectrum, it could be seen as friendly sparring… but yes, there could be times when one of you feel constrained by the views of the other. The 4 of Pentacles for the emotional connection is not ideal. While it could mean stability, it is not the kind that promotes growth – especially in the context of the vertical line (with the 5 of Wands). The 4 of Pentacles for an emotional connection could also mean stonewalling and a lack of empathy. This is ideally where we would want to see a card like the 10 of Cups to inspire optimism. As for the 10 of Cups being ill-dignified… I would say it is, yes… I don’t see anything wrong with your interpretation/conclusion.

  2. My question concerns reading in a larger context (relationship of the whole). I consider myself fairly intuitive and have been drawn to tarot because I can “feel” the cards when I am choosing them for a reading. I don’t know how accurate my senses are for doing my own readings, however. In the reading I have just done for myself and my current relationship (which has been fraught with difficulties, but I have been laboring under a strong gut feeling that this man has something major to do with my life path and could possibly be One of my soulmate’s for this life). Four years ago, I involuntarily made a prediction for this relationship which came out of my mouth without my forming the thought. The statement was that if we could make it past the “vetting” period of our relationship, which may be long and bloody ( about five years) it would all be worth it in the end. First I shall give you my draw, then ask my question which I would so greatly appreciate any guidance on!

    1. Six of Pentacles (ill-dignified)
    2. Two of Cups (ill-dignified)
    3. Knight of Pentacles (ill-dignified)
    4. Ace of Wands (ill-dignified)
    5. The Sun

    I am not sure how to translate 4 out of 5 cards being ill-dignified with what I perceive to be a very positive card in the long term potential position. Either way, I find the reversed cards significant. How much does the Two of Cups Reversed influence the overall picture even though they are not on the same axis? Does this negate the positive influence of the well dignified Sun? Or simply indicate that the culmination of this relationship will result in my overall progression toward fulfilling my higher purpose for this life, but the relationship itself is not fated to last? I am in the beginning of my study of the tarot, and perhaps I have interpreted them entirely wrong! Thank you in advance for any help and insight you might be able to provide me with!

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      If you are just beginning, I think you’d be better off not worrying so much about dignities. Focus more on intuitively reading the images and sensing how the energy flows between the cards. Think about how the cards actually relate to the relationship to ground the reading into reality.

  3. I did this for someone I had known for a long time and I got:

    1. Death
    2. Hermit
    3. Ten of Cups
    4. 9 of Wands
    5. Queen of Pentacles.

    If I am reading this correctly, we have a strong intellectual compatibility based on sharing wisdom and alone time together, we have a very strong emotional compatibility and would find our relationship emotionally fulfilling and transformative…and after a period of struggle with some endurance required, we would transform our current friendship into a fertile and stable relationship.

    AKA: We have a great chance if we’d just persevere through the current struggles, and when we transform our relationship there will be probably babies.

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  4. Just saw this on twitter today! Curious how to read Fool for intellectual compatibility, as I can see it being a shared curiosity or possibly also finding each other tiresome… ??? Any insight appreciated!!

    Oh and if a bigger picture is needed – the full spread was 1) ace of cups, 2)the fool, 3) knight of wands, 4) 3 of pents, and 5) 3 of wands.

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  5. Lisa, I’ve recently entered a new relationship about which I’m quite uncertain. I tried gaining a little perspective through this spread and was a bit shocked to find four Major Arcana among the five cards of the spread. They were: 1. Judgement, 2. The Moon, 3. The Hierophant, 4. 8 of wands and 5. The Empress. Any advice?

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      Yes, with four Majors, this is important enough to warrant an objective reading by a professional Tarot reader. I’m sorry – I’m not trying to be funny here but because of all the Majors and because you can’t seem to make head nor tails of any of it yourself (you have not provided any context or attempt at interpreting the srpead) AND because I can’t see the actual card, may I suggest you buy a reading?

      1. Could you do it? Also, how much would it cost and how could I pay? I trust your judgement and I don’t know any other professional I can rely on. If you can, I’ll provide you all the context. Otherwise, I won’t burden you because I know you’re a very busy person. Thanks.

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  6. Lisa this is the first time I’ve posted, but had to tell you I love your different readings. Im having a problem with this one though. I understand the emotional axis, but the horizontal one is where i run into the problem. 4) 3 swords, 1) Magician, 5) 9 of cups. Does it mean im going to have good luck about healing the broken heart from the past? Please help im confused. Thank you!

    1. You will be taking a more active part than expecting tood luck to come your way – the Magician signals a shift of consciousness and that you have the necessary skills/tools for facilitating self-healing and greater happiness levels.

  7. Hi Lisa, how are you? This is my first time writing to you. I did your relationship axis spread. I did it on a current love interest. 1. The magician, 2. Seven of cups, 3. King of swords, 4. Seven of swords and 5. Ten of cups. Now with this spread, the fifth card as ten of cups. Does that mean him and I will be in a relationship?

        1. Please read the whole article and you will understand that no one card can be read in isolation. Also, no card guarantees happily ever after. Your future is not set in stone. A relationship requires work. Stop working at it and it will fall apart (just an example). Much less than you think is ‘fated’ – what you think today, you live tomorrow.

  8. Thank you for your insight! Definitely makes sense to me and I think I need to just let what come, be.

    Last question: I did an additional reading for a friend and got 1) 2 of cups, 2) The Chariot, 3) The Hanged Man, 4) 6 of Pentacles, 5) The Sun. I guess I’m more just confused on the 3rd placement for these readings as a whole. How would you translate the Hanged Man for emotional compatibility?

    1. A ‘fantasy connection’…. limerence… or possibly highly idealistic… but as the foundation is the 6 of Pentacles I would say it is one-sided (a giver meets a taker)… and that with the Sun as the outcome, the needs of the stronger person/taker will direct the fate of this connection…

  9. Ok so! Did the spread. It happens to be on an ex from a few years passed who I recently crossed paths with again. I got 1) 7ofCups, 2) 2ofSwords, 3) King of Wands, 4) The Lovers, 5) 6ofCups. The spread in itself makes sense to me. But one question.. The King of Wands in the emotional compatibility, not sure what this entirely means when a Court card falls in this position. (I’d love to know in general as I plan to do this reading for others) — I have a couple thoughts but would love some insight. 🙂

    1. Court cards confuse people because they are known as the ‘people cards’ and usually indicate the presence or future presence of a person. However, that is only true UNLESS they fall in a position where the positional meaning indicates that they carry a different meaning. The King of Wands is the saggie king so for depth of emotional connection think of the Sagittarian qualities… commitment is NOT a forte of Sagittarius. If the fun goes out of the connection, they are off to the next one… The 7 of Cups in position 1 indicates general confusion. Now might not be a good time to read on this… OR you need to get an objective third party to read for you.

  10. Definitely doing this when I get home tonight! I’ve been doing the celtic cross but theres too much information and I’m just getting confused. Side question though, when you read cards for yourself would you recommend shuffling and choosing random cards or shuffling and going in order of where you stopped shuffling the deck? When I read for others I have them choose, when I read for myself I just pull in order from the deck. But I’m asking others to see their perspective. Anyway. Thanks! I’ll post how this spread works out for me 🙂

    1. Lisa, I did this spread and I had a question.. I had the Star as position 1 in the middle, with the Tower to my left and the Devil to my right..does this mean that there will be healing of the relationship after the breakdown of a bad situation??? Im trying to figure it all out…

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