The Celtic Cross

This spread has many variations, so many that when one says they did a Celtic Cross, I always ask them what positions they used.
I am listing what is believed to be the original Celtic Cross, by A.E. Waite and some variations for comparison.

A.E. Waite "The Pictorial Key to the Tarot"

Significator
1. What covers him
2. What crosses him
3. What crowns him
4. What is beneath him
5. What is behind him
6. What is before him
7. Himself
8. His house
9. His hopes or fears
10. What will come

Mary K. Greer "Tarot for Yourself"

1. What covers - general environment or atmosphere
2. What crosses - conflicts and obstacles
3. What is below - The foundation or basis of the situation
4. What is behind - The past
5. What is above - your goals
6. What is before - the future
7. You as you see yourself
8. Your environment (home, work family etc.)
9. Hopes and Fears
10. The outcome

James Wanless "Voyager Tarot" (This spread is called the Whole Self Mandala)

1. Spirit: Archetypal Personality
2. Head: Mental State
3. Heart: Emotional State
4. Legs: Physical State
5. Left Side: Feminine
6. Right Side: Masculine
7. Finances
8. Work
9. Home
10. Relationships

Interpreting the Celtic Cross

(This spread was a group effort from a class I taught. Each participant frew one card. The cards drawn are given below and thhe question was about one of the studen't career.)

Whenever I lay a spread, I take a moment to look it over and see if anything catches my eye.
In the cards we drew, the first thing I noticed was a lot of cups and wands, but only one pentacle.
Since the question is about a career change, I would expect to see more pentacles.
In the Celtic Cross spread, the first two cards (what covers and what crosses) are usually the most important cards in the reading. Lets look at them.

1. What covers her: the general atmosphere or environment - The Hierophant.

Let's review what we know about the Hierophant:

It is a Major Arcana Card, so it could represent outside forces beyond our control.
Convention
Tradition
Orthodoxy
A teacher, leader or Guru
Dogma
Examining one's belief system
Seeking a new leader or path
Associated with Taurus: secure, practical sometimes obstinate and resistant to change

2. What covers her: obstacles or blocks in her path - 8 of Wands
Energy
Movement
Activity
Speed
Things happening quickly

We don't know what Jane's present career is is, but looking at the first two cards in this spread we could say several things about her present job situation:

The job is secure, probably pays well enough and she has built up a support group or found a mentor. The workplace may be traditional and the company has it's own ways of doing things; it's own dogma so to speak. Carla may not be happy there, but she has probably grown comfortable.

The obstacle is energy, movement, activity, and things happening quickly.
Perhaps Carla feels that things are moving too slowly on her present job. She may not be advancing as quickly as she would like. She may have ideas and plans for which she can find no outlet.
There is a block to her moving ahead. Conversely this card could be interpreted as changes taking place in the workplace which Carla finds unsettling.
Things may be moving too quickly and she might be having difficulty adjusting. The traditions she has grown comfortable with may be in the process of being replaced with new and unfamiliar ideas.
We will decide which interpretation fits best as we interpret the rest of the spread.
In these two cards we have a conflict - the Hierophant is a stuffy, slow to change card and the 8 of wands is a fast moving, high energy card. Carla is in a position where she has to decide which direction to take. This validates and gives some background to her question: should she change careers?

3. What is below - The foundation or basis of the situation - The World

We haven't discussed this card yet, but this is a happy card, a card of release, of unlimited potential. Taken in conjunction with what we have so far, I would say Jane has outgrown her present job and is ready to move on. She is feeling stifled (Hierophant), impatient (8 of Wands) and longs for freedom to express herself and fulfill her potential (The World).

4. What is behind - The past - Queen of Wands

This could be Jane, or it could be someone else. It is a woman who is self confident, energetic, creative and enthusiastic. In the past position this could represent Jane herself and the way she used to feel about her job. It could also be someone who Jane knew and respected at her job who is no longer there. I think it is Jane herself though. It fits with the other cards that way (she was enthusiastic, but no longer feels that way). When in doubt, ask the querent.

5. What is above - your goals - 9 of Cups

This is the "wish" card. It represents satisfaction, and happiness. Again in conjunction with the other cards it shows that Jane wants a feeling of satisfaction from her work. She wants to be doing something she loves, rather than just earning a living. She also wants to be compensated fairly for it.

6. What is before - the future - 4 of Wands

The 4 of wands is inspiration, harmony, freedom and peace. I no longer read reversed cards, but when I did I interpreted them as a subconscious wish, a block or a delay. In this case subconscious wish doesn't seem to apply. The wish is obviously conscious as shown by her goals. I would then interpret this as a block or delay. Something is stopping Jane from reaching her goal. We'll see if the other cards tell us what this could be.

7. You as you see yourself - Queen of Cups

Questioner (Queen Water/Cups) Receptivity: She's open to the flow of new ideas and will winnow them out using her intuition and innate sensitivity. This *might* point to heading into a field where she'll be able to use those traits as well as her compassion. But I think it mainly relates to how she's going to evaluate all the possibilities for change that the other cards highlight.

8. Your environment (home, work family etc.) - 10 of Swords

The Ten of Swords portrays the way that people close to Jane feel about the possible forthcoming situation. They are not happy at all and feel that Jane about to make a grave mistake. They are all very worried for her.

9. Hopes and Fears - 7 of Cups

Hopes/Fears (7 Water/Cups) Projections: I'm not sure whether this is a hope, a fear, or both. But reality may not be as it appears. Anything that looks too good to be true probably is. Conversely, anything that looks awful is a cloud with a silver lining.

10. The outcome - 7 of Pentacles

Finally, The Outcome - The seven of pentacles represents that there may be a small financial reward if the opportunity is seized, however this may well be at the cost of the present stability and happiness which Jane has so far enjoyed.

It could indicate that Jane has decided not to make any decision. She may just content herself with thinking about the change (7 of cups) and may put off or delay making a move right now (7 of pentacles). A change may jeapordize her present stability, but may be more rewarding to her, if not financially, then at least in terms of her happiness.

Undercurrent - Child of Worlds (Page of Pentacles)

This card indicates that underlying these plans is a thought to practicality. Jane is not going to do anything rash. She wants to do work that will satisfy her creativity and be fulfilling, but she is not the type to disrupt everything and everyone in this quest.