Tarot Spreads – Three Cards, Three Different Interpretations

Popular culture, as reflected by movies and television, often depict the ever-popular Celtic Cross when showing tarot spreads in action, but in truth the Celtic Cross is just one of several effective tarot card spreads. The Celtic Cross is a fantastic spread for a comprehensive tarot card reading, it gives a glimpse into the current issues surrounding a inquirer, as well as the past events and future influences that can effect an outcome. For someone new to tarot, however, there are easier tarot card spreads to read than the Celtic Cross.

Tarot Spreads for Beginners – The Three-Card Spread

When learning how to read tarot cards, daily practice is necessary. Often-times this daily practice involves simply drawing a card and meditating on its meaning throughout the day. Depending on the time of day when drawing the card it can either be used as a guideline, a regrouping opportunity, or a point of reflection – all are fantastic methods of learning the deeper meaning of each card.

When it comes to learning how the meaning of each card can effect the outcome of your tarot spreads, however, it helps to get more cards into the mix. Hence, the popular three-card spread. Laying down three cards can have several different outcomes, depending on the question being asked, or the method reading the cards. Consider the different meanings which can be derived by applying different approaches to these same three cards.

tarot spreads

Yes/No – Here we see two Queens flanking the 8 of swords. Obviously there’s some delays taking place, a lot of mental interference and trying to find balance between greater spiritual growth and laying in the bed that has been made for oneself. This isn’t a clear “no” answer, nor is it a clear “yes”, instead it means some work has to be done in order to achieve the desired outcome.
If the inquirer is willing to put forth some effort, the answer will be a positive. If they sit still and do nothing, the status quo remains the same and that’s not always a good thing. Other factors can make the yes/no tarot spreads more effective, such as considering reversed cards as plainly negative and Major Arcana cards as clearly positive.

Past, Present, Future – Applying the past/present/future approach to this reading the meaning of the cards change somewhat. Here we have the present situation of mental anguish, indecision, and a whole heap of interference from useless thoughts that makes clear decision making a challenge. In the past decision making was much simpler because choices were made based on spiritual faith, and a reliance upon instinct. A willingness, if you will, to fly in the face of tradition and take the lumps as they come. While in the future position the Queen of Pentacles surveys where she’s been and takes stock of what she’s amassed for herself. The overall message of this three-card spread is “make a decision, move on, and take responsibility for your actions without dwelling on the past. You’ve been through worse, and what doesn’t kill you will only make you stronger.”

Love, Health, Money – Now the real fun begins! Look at how different this reading becomes, and the cards are still the same. In the position of Love we have the Queen of Wands, a beautiful woman of significant transformative and spiritual power, a lively and spunky gal who turns heads wherever she goes. Certainly a boon for anyone looking to go out and catch the eye of a significant other. Shame that Health position indicates our inquirer is riddled with self-doubt, headaches, and various forms of body pains that might keep them from feeling as pretty as the Queen of Wands would like. Consider this a sensation of self-consciousness and butterflies before stepping out to a gala event. Good thing we have the Queen of Pentacles in the Money position, this gal really knows how to count her pennies and turn lemons into lemonade.

Keep Tarot Card Spreads Simple

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to reading a three-card spread, or tarot card spreads in general. Start small, reading just a few cards at a time. Notice how the interpretations and overall messages change as you adapt a more flexible approach to asking questions of your deck. As you become more confident and comfortable reading each individual card, it’s quite possible that your approach to reading tarot spreads will become more free-form and intuitive as your eye is drawn to different symbols and images as you read. In time, you may even grow to invent some tarot spreads of your very own which are remarkably accurate and insightful.