The Zodiac Spread: Boost Your Tarot Reading Using Astrology’s 12 Houses

The Zodiac Spread is the perfect pull for anyone who wants to infuse astrology into their tarot reading.

The 12-card zodiac spread mirrors the circular layout of the astrology chart, based on the symbolism of the 12 houses. In astrology, each of the 12 astrological houses represents an area of life, which we explain in this article.

How does a zodiac spread mix tarot and astrology?

In your zodiac spread, you will pull 12 cards and place them in a circle, one by one. You begin at the 9 o’clock position and move counterclockwise from there.

This is how the 12 houses work in astrology. The zodiac wheel begins with the 1st house, at the 9 o’clock point, and moves counter-clockwise. Chronologically, the houses represent the evolution from self to family to relationships, to society and spirituality.

The 1st house is all about new beginnings, personal expression and inititation, much like the first zodiac sign, Aries. The houses end with the 12th house of spirituality, transitions and dreams, which is similar to the twelfth sign, Pisces.

The 12 cards in this tarot spread represents a different zodiac house and its corresponding traits, qualities, and energies. What we love so much about the zodiac tarot spread is how it gives you a complete picture of your life at any moment!

What does a zodiac spread tarot reading show?

When doing a zodiac spread, you are gaining insight into your overall life.

The cards in a zodiac spread can be interpreted in a variety of ways, depending on the question or topic of the reading, as well as the specific meanings associated with each card. Some tarot readers may also incorporate astrological symbolism or interpretations into their readings, using the zodiac signs as a way to deepen their understanding of the cards.

The zodiac spread can be a useful tool to gain insight into different aspects of yourself. It can also help you explore the energies of the different zodiac signs––how they may be affecting your life or situation.

When should I do a zodiac spread reading?

You can do a zodiac spread reading any time, but it is often used as a predictive tool for a new year or when you are embarking on a momentous new chapter of your life. Your new year can be January 1 or whatever date for an annual calendar you follow. Some other times that are good to do a zodiac spread are:

– beginning of the astrological new year (when Aries season begins in April)
– at the Spring Equinox/April new moon
– at the start of a Chinese new year (at the new moon between January 21 and February 20)
– at the beginning of a new life chapter, such as a wedding, a new job, a move to a new city

Is a zodiac spread tarot reading easy?

Tarot readers consider a zodiac spread to be fairly sophisticated, so it’s not necessarily one we recommend for a beginner (you might try our 3-card spread or Celtic cross for that). The zodiac spread is used best by people who have a good understanding of tarot cards and astrology.

But if you’re ready to go deep with a tarot reading, a zodiac spread delivers! It’s only hard if you’re not already familiar with tarot card meanings and the 12 houses of astrology.

Here’s how a zodiac spread tarot reading works

Each card represents the 12 houses of the zodiac in astrology, as explained below.

Some readers of a zodiac spread use a 13th card––more on that later!

zodiac spread card configurationPin

What the zodiac spread cards mean

1st house

What the first house card represents: Your aspirations, what to initiate, where to take action
Element: Fire (ignites action)
Planetary ruler: Mars (courageous, competitive)
Zodiac sign: Aries
Where it’s placed in the zodiac spread: Just like the 1st house of the zodiac, this card will be at the 9 o’clock point in the circle of your spread.
What it means: New beginnings, initiation and self-expression.

How to interpret this card: In a zodiac spread reading, this card reveals how best to take action, be bold and assertive, and initiate new projects or endeavors. It can also reveal the best path forward for personal growth and development. Here is where you may need to cultivate more self-confidence and independence.

If pulled in reverse: This card may suggest impulsiveness or recklessness, or your tendency to rush into things without proper planning or consideration. It may also indicate a need to temper your aggression or competitiveness. You may need to be more mindful of the effects of your actions.

2nd house

What the second house card represents: Your material security and baseline planning
Element: Earth (grounding)
Planetary ruler: Venus (beauty and pleasure)
Zodiac sign: Taurus
Where it’s placed in the zodiac spread: Place this counterclockwise from the first card in the circle at the 8 o’clock point.

How to interpret this card: What material resources do you need to gather, such as supplies, money or people power. This card reveals the seeds you need to plant to have this situation take root. There is a sensible, yet sensual, quality to the 2nd house. The tarot card you pull may reveal clues about how you can make life more pleasurable on a day to day basis.

If pulled in reverse: This card may indicate stubbornness or your resistance to change. Or it could mean you have a tendency to get too attached to material possessions or comforts. You may need to be more flexible and adaptable. Be mindful of how your attachments are possibly limiting your growth or holding you back from greater abundance.

3rd house

What the third house card represents: Your thoughts, communication and peers
Element: Air (gets things moving)
Planetary ruler: Mercury (inquisitive, communicative)
Zodiac sign: Gemini
Where it’s placed in the zodiac spread: At the 7 o’clock point

How to interpret this card: In a zodiac spread reading, this card reveals the best way to communicate about the matter. Do you want to enlist short-term collaborators and find people who can help you ideate and start a buzz? This “cooperation card” represents your peers, friends and casual allies. It can also point to the research and data that you need in order to move this situation forward.

If pulled in reverse: The reversed 3rd house card may be challenging you to be adaptable to change and embrace new experiences.. It may be asking you to consider where you’ve lacked focus or commitment. It may also suggest the need to be mindful of your word choice in when you’re communicating, an awareness of how it affects others. It can also suggest the importance of being curious and open-minded.

4th house

What the fourth house card represents: Creating a firm foundation, home, roots, emotional security
Element: Water (flowing feelings)
Planetary ruler: the moon (our daily emotions)
Zodiac sign: Cancer
Where it’s placed in the zodiac spread: At the base of the wheel, the 6 o’clock point.

How to interpret this card: In a zodiac spread reading, this card reveals the emotional temperature of the situation. How do you currently feel about it? What is the mood for yourself and others involved? In astrology, the 4th house represents our home base and foundations of security, such as family and savings. This card can give direction on how to feel more “at home” in your current life.

If pulled in reverse: When flipped, this card may indicate your tendency to be overly emotional or reactive. Or, it could mean you’ve become too attached to certain people or situations. Be mindful of boundaries and self-care. In other words, don’t neglect your needs while in the service of others. It can also be asking you to listen to your intuition, or inner guidance. Do you find comfort and safety at home or in your personal spaces? If not, it’s time for a change.

5th house

What the fifth house card represents: Your personality and creative self-expression; leadership and visual presentation. Romance and desire.
Element: Fire (ignites action)
Planetary ruler: the Sun (bold, ego-driven)
Zodiac sign: Leo
Where it’s placed in the zodiac spread: At the 5 o’clock point
What it means: Creativity, self-expression, leadership and confidence.

How to interpret this card: How and where do you shine? Is it time to step up to the plate—or onto the throne? In a zodiac spread reading, this card reveals your public presence and the aspects of yourself that are currently drawing attention. This may indicate a need to focus on self-expression. It can also suggest the importance of building your confidence and self-assuredness. You may be challenged to find the ability to take a spotlight, shine in that light and express yourself fully! How’s your romantic life going, specifically the dating phase—or the “keeping romance alive” aspect? This card has lots to say about that!

If pulled in reverse: This card may indicate your tendency to come across arrogant or egotistical, or to demand attention or praise from others. It may be a reminder to be mindful how your actions or words affect others. How are you using a leadership role, or your influence impact of one’s leadership or influence.

6th house

What the sixth house card represents: Systems for productivity, healthy habits, wellness
Element: Earth (grounding)
Planetary ruler: Mercury (inquisitive, communicative)
Zodiac Sign: VIrgo
Where it’s placed in the zodiac spread: At the 4 o’clock point

How to interpret this card: It’s clean-up time! This is the “healthy habits card,” associated with practicality, organization, analysis and attention to detail. You may be asked to analyze situations or problems, and find practical solutions. It can also be a reminder that not everything has to be “perfect.” Are you ready to embark on a wellness mission or medical treatments? This card can bring clues about the best way to approach that process.

If pulled in reverse: This card may indicate that you’re being overly critical or perfectionistic. Are you too caught up in the details that you’ve lost sight of the bigger picture? You may need to take a step back. It may also suggest you need to tend to your own self-care. It may be a reminder not to neglect your physical or mental health in the pursuit of your goals.

7th house

What the seventh house card represents: Committed partnerships, personal balance, fashion and beauty, justice
Element: Air (gets things moving)
Planetary ruler: Venus (beauty and pleasure)
Zodiac Sign: Libra
Where it’s placed in the zodiac spread: Halfway around from the first card, at the 3 o’clock point

How to interpret this card: In a zodiac spread reading, this card represents committed relationships that have a 50/50 quality to them, such as romantic partners, business partners or creative collaborators. How can you best balance your personal or professional relationships, or cultivate greater empathy in your interactions with others? This card can help you uncover solutions to conflicts or disagreements that benefit both (or all) parties. As the fashion and arts house, see what the tarot card you draw might say about personal branding.

If pulled in reverse: This card may indicate your tendency to be indecisive. Or, you’re avoiding conflict instead of facing matters head-on. Have you become too reliant on the approval of others? Don’t forget about your boundaries and priorities––this isn’t about sacrificing your needs to maintain harmony in relationships. Surely a compromise can be made!

8th house

What the eighth house card represents: Your personal power and sexuality. Long-term investments and wealth.
Element: Water (go with the flow)
Planetary ruler: Pluto (intense, powerful)
Zodiac Sign: Scorpio
Where it’s placed in the zodiac spread: At the 2 o’clock point

How to interpret this card: As “money, power and sex” house, this may be the most intense card in the entire zodiac spread! Here is where you are most magnetic, perhaps through your own strategic or seductive actions. Your current approach to sex, sexuality and all things erotic is flavored by the tarot card you pull. Who will you invest in—and what? In order to move ahead, you may need to face your fears, release old patterns and beliefs. This card encourages you to go deep into your psyche to explore the mysteries of life!

If pulled in reverse: This card may indicate your tendency to be controlling or manipulative in a situation. Have you become too fixated on your desires? Has something healthy turned into an obsession? This card may be reminding you of your own intensity and power over others. How can you channel it and use it more gently, and with integrity?

9th house

What the ninth house card represents: Where you’ll expand and be adventurous, travel, personal growth, study and teaching
Element: Fire (ignites action)
Planetary ruler: Jupiter (jovial, larger-than-life)
Zodiac Sign: Sagittarius
Where it’s placed in the zodiac spread: At the 1 o’clock point

How to interpret this card: In a zodiac spread reading, this card reveals where you’re ready to explore life with a wide-open mind, perhaps through travel, education or spiritual growth. Do you have something to teach to others? This is the Yoda card—and yes, you are Yoda here. Or you may simply be reminded to maintain a positive attitude in a situation. At the very least, this card inspires you to be adventurous and curious.

If pulled in reverse: This card may indicate your tendency to be overly optimistic (we know, we know, we just said be more optimistic!). But you can be optimistic and maintain a healthy dose of skepticism. Just be careful not to overdo the latter! Also be careful not to become too attached to your beliefs or opinions. In other words, try to be open-minded and even willing to change your mind, even on things you thought you were firm about.

10th house

What the tenth house card represents: Your ambition and discipline. Career success and what goals to focus on
Element: Earth (grounding)
Planetary ruler: Saturn (serious, hard-working)
Zodiac Sign: Capricorn
Where it’s placed in the zodiac spread: At the top of the wheel, at the 12 o’clock point

How to interpret this card: In a zodiac spread reading, this card represents your highest goals. These are the matters to focus on with discipline and responsibility. This could involve your career or another mission you are out to accomplish. Since the 10th house is often associated with the men or male influences in your life, the card you draw may bring information about your interactions with the guys. This card may also be asking you to set goals, work diligently to achieve them, or at least establish structure in your life to make it possible.

If pulled in reverse: This card may indicate a tendency to be overly rigid or serious. Or, perhaps you’ve become too focused on material success at the expense of your well-being or your relationships. All work and no play? Be mindful of your own limitations and try to avoid taking on so much responsibility that it becomes a burden and a barrier to building or tending to relationships.

11th house

What the eleventh house card represents: Your originality and ability to innovate, communities and groups you belong to
Element: Air (gets things moving)
Planetary ruler: Uranus (rebellious, unique)
Zodiac Sign: Aquarius
Where it’s placed in the zodiac spread: At the 11 o’clock point


How to interpret this card: Who are the people in your squad? Are you seeking collaborators? In a zodiac spread reading, the 11th card can point to the groups of people who can support you. The 11th house is the humanitarian house in astrology. If you’re looking to get involved in community service and activism, the tarot card you pull for this position can bring insight. But don’t fit in at the expense of your individuality! This card may indicate a need to focus on innovation and creativity in your personal life or in a larger societal context. And it’s a reminder to be open to new and unconventional ideas.

If pulled in reverse: This card may indicate your tendency to be too detached or impersonal in a situation. Have you become too caught up in your own ideas at the expense of others in relationships?

12th house

What the twelfth house card represents: Your dreams, fantasies and spiritual wisdom (intuition), transitions, what to release
Element: Water (go with the flow)
Planetary ruler: Neptune (imaginative, dreamy)
Zodiac Sign: Pisces
Where it’s placed in the zodiac spread: At the 10 o’clock point


How to interpret this card: The 12th house is the “dream” house, that rules the thoughts we have in our sleep, or ones that are brewing in our subconscious. In a zodiac spread reading, this card may indicate a need to dial in to your intuition and spirituality. This can be done through meditation, prayer, ritual or other forms of inner work. It can also suggest the importance of compassion and empathy (including self-compassion). And you may be challenged to tap into your creativity and imagination to take this situation to a higher level. What are you fantasizing about? Tune in!

If pulled in reverse: This card may indicate your tendency to become too escapist or avoidant. Are you overwhelmed by emotions or situations beyond your control? Try instead to not become absorbed in the feelings or experiences of others. You can be empathetic without co-opting! Remember, boundaries are good.

The 13th card in a zodiac spread

In common zodiac spread readings, there is not typically a 13th card, since the zodiac consists of 12 signs/houses. Some tarot readers, however, include an additional card to represent the overall theme or energy of the reading. They believe it provides further insight into the zodiac spread. It’s entirely up to you if you add a thirteenth card!

What the thirteenth house card represents: Overall theme or energy of the zodiac spread
How it’s pulled: From any card in the deck
Where it’s placed in the zodiac spread: In the center of the circle

What it means: The card, if you choose to read it, may represent an overarching theme or energy that ties together all the other cards in your zodiac spread. It may offer additional insight or guidance, it’s up to you to interpret that how you wish based on the card’s meaning (it is not tied to astrology).

If pulled in reverse: This card may indicate an overall blockage or imbalance in the energy of the spread. It may suggest that you’re struggling to embody the positive aspects of the zodiac signs represented in the spread. Ultimately, the interpretation of a reversed 13th card in a Zodiac tarot spread will depend on the specific context of the reading and the intuition and experience of the tarot reader.

Try these other tarot spreads for reading cards

If you like the zodiac spread, you may also like:

The classic 10-card Celtic spread

Tarot spreads for love

And remember to reference card meanings for all the major arcana and minor arcana cards here while you’re doing your readings! Or use the dropdown menu below.

Select a Tarot card from the dropdown below to learn its meaning

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