Tarot Spreads Compendium is an iOS app designed for the iPhone or the iPad. Each version is designed accordingly to take advantage of device screen size, so if interested, be sure to choose the correct app. This post specifically explores the iPad version.

This app is much like it sounds: it presents a gathering of 50 tarot spreads, most of which seem to be unique. You won’t see the Celtic Cross or the “Thoth spread” here; although the ever-versatile Three Cards is present. In fact, this latter spread gives the user a surprisingly large grid of options for how this spread may be interpreted, while reminding the reader that these ideas aren’t the limits.

Then there are spreads with names like “The Devil Made Me Do It,” or “Paralysis of Analysis.” Finally, we have some tarot celebrity spreads contributed by tarot-ati (my term), a couple of which I’ve seen such such as the Tarot Elements Signature spread and Robert Place’s Relationship spread; but most of these are new to me, and probably for those tarotistas who haven’t misspent their youth trawling both print and digital sources of tarot information.

As you can see from the screenshots, the app is very attractive. Spreads can be perused by category, chosen from the list of tarot celebrity spreads, a full index of everything, and even picked randomly. I am surprised that the index is not in any kind of apparent order; I’d have expected this list to be alphabetical. Random is a neat feature, to find new spreads to play with or explore without having a specific need in mind.

The categories include career, general and relationship spreads — three of the most common reading types, in my opinion. There is a spread intended for group use called Tarot Hold ‘Em that seems most intriguing; if only I had a group handy to try it out!

Besides looking sharp, the app goes beyond a static list of screenshots and deals the cards in an animated fashion, to show the reader how to arrange the cards.Β  The flow of action when using this app is:

  • choose a spread,
  • read a summary of how the spread should be used, including any special rules to follow,
  • let the app deal the placeholder cards after which the reader should deal her physical deck,
  • then tap on cards or card groups on the device, to see how the cards should be read.

The iOS device becomes an interactive spread reference.

Let me state explicitly, in case there is any question: this app is a spread reference, NOT a virtual tarot deck. It does deal cards on-screen, but again, these are meant to show how to utilize an actual tarot deck. They are placeholders, not actual tarot card images.

There aren’t any major downsides to this app. I wish there was a back button; after drilling down through the categories and into a specific spread, I have to go “home” and start from the top navigation menu to choose a different one. Slightly cumbersome when browsing, but not a big deal. I already mentioned the index is not alphabetized which seems strange, but again, it’s a minor quirk.

I could imagine the developer adding spreads or spread-packs for in-app purchase as a long-term strategy if they wished. And although it gets away from the core purpose, I wonder if a basic tarot journal could be incorporated, to capture spreads? Ah, the end user: always wanting more!

In summary, with Tarot Spread Compendium I get what I’d expect, given the title: a compendium of tarot spreads. For the tarot reader with an iDevice who enjoys trying different spreads, this app seems like a good way to access them, especially when on-the-go. A nice range of spreads is included, and while my regular readers probably know that I’m not a big spreads guy, there are some here that I intend to play with and see how they might fit into my repertoire. If the above sounds appealing to you, then check it out in the app store.

Tarot Spreads for the iPhone

Tarot Spreads for the iPad.