Classic 3 card Tarot

3 card tarot reading
Past. present & future. All will be revealed in this classic tarot spread.

Easy Three card Tarot spreads are often the first spread a budding reader learns, with good reason, they are amazing! They offer clear & simple answers to what can often be complex situations by breaking down the situation in to past, present & future. They allow for more room for involvement between the seeker & the cards as the spread is so accessible compared to the more esoteric, grand spreads. A three card tarot spread can also be used as sort of clarifiers for bigger spreads. 

Three Card Tarot Spread: Past, Present & Future

One of the most common 3 card tarot spread interpretations is the traditional, Past, Present & Future structure. In this spread, you will probably use the tarot cards to reflect on the past, assess the present situation & plan for the future. In combination with the Tarot yes or no spread these simple readings are a very strong basis for the working reader.

Reading the Tarot cards from left to right we need to be aware of any Major Arcana cards that might show up, as these will naturally have an impact on the interpretation. The Majors are the big guns of the Tarot experience. For example, if The Lovers card appears, then the energy of the reading could focus not only on classic matters of the heart but also self love, caring for yourself. My free love Tarot reading focuses on relationships, though loving yourself is as important, if not more so, than seeking validation through the love of someone else. If The Fool card appears in such a short spread, the reading may suggest that a leap of faith is needed, a new start. A short spread such as this can easily give a clear powerful direction if a Major Arcana. such as The Fool lands amongst it’s cards.

This type of reading is perfect for a weekly Tarot spread, the past card could represent the week just gone & the future will point out to the week ahead. Do not try to read too far in the past as you can’t control that, the future is as yet undecided, focus on the present to see how your behaviours can influence your choices. 

Past Card: This Tarot card enables you to look back at your previous week & understand any new lessons you learned, any other complex or strong emotions you may have felt at that time, or something you have worked through. When selecting the present & future cards, must keep in mind this card, as it is a great influence representing the anchors influencing you right now. 

Present Card: Look inwards, assess your emotional & mental wellbeing, how are you feeling right now, in this moment. Of course the present has been formed by choices made under the influence of the past tarot card. For instance if the Seven of Wands card appears in the past position, & the Ten of Swords card in the present position, it can indicate that a period of challenge concludes leaving you feeling battered yet ready to face a new dawn. 

Future Card: The future tarot card suggests what is possible or what you actually require to focus on in the coming future or coming week. The future spread card is always fluid in interpretation, it’s meaning is one of many potential alternative realities, should you follow the energies of the two previous cards in the past & present positions. If we apply the above example of the Seven of Wands & Ten of Swords, the Four of Swords may materialise, indicating that time over the next week should be spent resting & recovering from a period of struggle and learning. 

Now, let’s go through a simple three- card tarot spread, step by step. First shuffle the deck & simply lay out three set of cards, face up.

Step One: Pay attention

Notice what kinds of cards you see, & how these cards make you feel. Are there more than one of a suit or several court cards? Are they all are Major Arcana? Do you get an quick understanding of the story or how your cards flow together?

Step Two: Tell A Story, With A Beginning, Middle, And End

You can interpret the tarot cards in several different ways, but it really helps to think like a storyteller. The simple Past-Present and Future reading is the perfect spread to develop your persona as storyteller.

Step Three: Find The Thread Of The Story That Ties All The Tarot Cards Together

Sometimes the overall meaning is startlingly obvious, & sometimes it requires you to open up your intuition. What actually is the message in the combination of these 3 cards? When you see these three tarot cards together, the thread might actually be an event that happened, a new relationship you have, or a unique emotion that ties everything together. Find what the three tarot cards have as a thread, things in common that reveal the truth of the situation – use your intuition, not just the logic, move away from the soundbites of the little white book, let the cards live inside you.

Step Four: Trust Yourself

Tarot cards are a gateway to the subconscious. You may not understand the exact meaning of the spread initially. Intellectually or logically the space of the reading may challenge your instincts. When this happens place the cards on the back burner of your mind, allow your intuition to play with them, your subconscious to tease out the secrets they contain.

Record your tarot card readings in a tarot journal or simple notebook. When you review them months later, you can probably find the thread that you actually missed earlier, just with a little perspective & hindsight. Just a few readings down the line you will be astonished at how polished as a reader you have become, how the Tarot has been able to reveal the patterns and meanings of the ancient wisdom hidden in its pages.

Final Thoughts

Simply follow these four steps every time you read your three card spread, stay positive, practice makes perfect. Treat practice as play, enjoy the whole process of learning to read your tarot cards with confidence as they weave their magic around you.

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