This is my all-time favorite tarot spread, and it's also the one I use most for my professional readings. My sister, Teri, aka Love Angel Tarot, deserves the credit for this because she's the one who taught it to me (and to the rest of our family). Over the years, my sisters and nieces and I have given thousands of readings using this simple layout, and have yet to find one that works better. This spread is awesome because it's quick, to the point, and it provides a wealth of information to the reader.
The layout is very simple. Working from left to right, lay out 3 cards in a row and place the 4th card aside for later. Now lay 3 more cards out next to the first ones. Finally, place the 4th card above and in the middle of the other 6. Like this:
1 2 3 5 6 7
Each position in this spread is assigned a different meaning and when read together, they're almost like a book. Here's what each position means:
1. The near past.
2. The present circumstances.
3. The near future.
4. The focus.
This card brings all the others into focus and can reveal more about the situation than all the others combined.
5. The obstacle - factors that could work against you and/or what you should avoid.
6. The blessing - Factors that could work in your favor and/or your best course of action.
7. The most likely outcome, provided you take the advice suggested by cards #6 and #7.
The cards are also read according to whether they are upright or reversed. This works especially well for yes/no questions. More upright cards gives a "yes" answer, while more reversed cards gives a "no".