3-Card Tarot Spreads

by - April 09, 2013

So, you want to do a short tarot reading, but need some ideas as to where to start.  You've come to the right place!

3-Card Readings--long list!

You can do 1-2-3 in these readings or 1-3-2 (the order in which you lay the cards down, and the order in which you read them).  Anything that feels right IS right with the tarot.  Remember that, and don't let anyone ever tell you "You're doing this wrong".  There is no wrong in tarot reading.

* male --- female --- neutral
* mother --- father --- child
* thoughts --- words --- actions
* thoughts --- emotions --- desires
* what you want to do --- what you need to do --- what you can do in reality
* inspired by the image of a tree: bottom --- stem --- crown
* light (what's obvious) --- shadow (what's hidden) --- gray (what's real)
* inside --- outside --- advice
* outside --- doorstep --- inside
* inner self --- outer self --- advice
* strengths --- weaknesses --- advice
* blessings of the Gods --- blessings of the ancestors --- blessings of the elements
* what's moving --- what's standing still --- advice
* the key --- the door - the hand moving the key to the door
* you --- question --- answer
* surface --- below surface --- DNA
* conscious --- subconscious --- deeper than subconscious (the core)
* worm (what you offer to the Universe right now) --- fish (what you may catch) --- meal (what you could make out of it)
* idea --- challenge --- advantage
* challenge --- opportunity --- action
* something well-established --- a new breeze coming in --- how the new breeze improves and lightens the well-established thing
* what I feel --- what I think --- what I'm missing
* what you give --- what you receive --- your thanks
* what you wish for --- what you get ---- what surprises you
* nature of the issue --- cause --- solution
* hope --- inspiration --- guidance
* personal (self) --- interpersonal (relationships) -- transpersonal (humanity or morality)
* emotional --- social --- spiritual
* the power to will --- the power to think --- the power to act
* yesterday --- today --- tomorrow
* the face you show --- the face you keep hidden --- your true self

3 Card Relationship Spreads By James Ricklef

To get clarification
1. Insights about your perspective of this relationship
2. What you should know about the relationship
problem itself
3. What you need to understand about your partner’s

To find resolution
1. Insights about your needs in the relationship
2. A way to resolve the problem that addresses both of
your needs
3. What you should understand about your partner’s
needs in the relationship

1. What strengths can help you?
2. What weaknesses do you need to overcome?
3. Who or what can help you?

General Relationship Spreads
1. What you should be thankful for in this relationship
2. What you should apologize for
3. What you should forgive (either yourself or your partner)

1. The foundation of your relationship
2. The challenges or problems of it
3. What you need to know or do about those problems

1. The current state of your relationship
2. A recommended action to improve the situation
3. A likely outcome of that action

1. What are the strengths of this relationship?
2. What problems in this relationship do you need to be aware of?
3. What can you do to improve this relationship? OR:
How can the strengths of this relationship be used to overcome its problems?

1. The blessings you bring into your relationship
2. The blessings that your significant other brings into it
3. Blessings that the Universe is bringing to you both

1. What is the importance of Love in my life?
2. How can I become better at manifesting Love in my life?
3. What is the biggest obstacle to my experience of Love?

Inspired by a "Teeter Totter" spread used by TheGuidingHermit and a section in Nicholas Lore's book "The Pathfinder" I thought this would be a useful "living fully in the present moment", illuminating 3-card spread:


1 The Physical Universe
The physical environment around you. You become nothing more than a clockwork of gears turning predictably and automatically if you constantly live in the physical universe.

2 The Realm of Possibility and Invention
The dreams, ideas, and goals in your head. You will become a dreamer who does not get much accomplished if you're constantly in the realm of possibility and invention.

3 How to Dance on the Edge of the Sword
The balance point, the Middle Path. Living in BOTH realms at once allows you to dream AND accomplish those dreams, allowing you to live fully and with purpose.

Three Caskets Spread
(From Shakespeare Oracle: Let the Bard Predict Your Future)
1. Gold: What you desire
2. Silver: What you deserve
3. Lead: What you get

Deck of Shadows: "Desire - Defy - Escape" Spread
1) Desire: What you want
2) Defy: What you are fighting against
3) Escape: What you will leave behind

Eowyn's Stroke Of Good Luck Spread
1. Which is going to be your next stroke of luck?
2. How will it happen?

Glass Owl's 2 Card Advice Spread
1. This is what I should take a bit more seriously (embrace)
2. This is what I should take less seriously (let go of)

Rhiannon's Gopher Spread
1. Who have I been?
2. Who am I?
3. Who am I becoming?

Fishing Spread
1. What I offer the universe right now (worm)
2. What I may catch (fish)
3. What I can make with it (meal)

PPF (Past/Present/Future)
Question/Querent/Probable Solution
Last Week/This Week/Next Week
Last Month/This Month/Next Month
Querent/Partner/Outcome (For Love readings)
Inner Self/Outer Self/Advice

Where I am/Where I need to be/How do I get there
The issue/What is holding me back/What takes me forward

Red Light/Green Light/Yellow Light Spread
Red Light - Don't do this
Green Light - Go ahead and do this
Yellow Light - Caution/be careful/be aware of this

CPU - Client thoughts on the issue
Monitor - How the client views the issue
Keyboard - What the client can "input" so the issue will work in their favor

Sun - What you see clearly
Moon - What you're having a hard time seeing.
Stars - What you wish will happen.

I - How the client feels about a person or relationship
Love - What the client loves most about the person or relationship
You - How the client's partner feel about the client or their relationship with them

Maiden - Where or in what the client or their issue is just starting to develop
Mother - What is in "full bloom" or has a very robust energy.
Crone - What is coming to pass or lessening in energy

Gas/Liquid/Solid (Checking the status of what you're trying to manifest)
Gas - What's still in the form of pure energy or thought in your life/What's "hanging out" in the ethers.
Liquid - What's starting to flow and slowly come into your life.
Solid - What's completely manifested and visible to you.

Child - Where in the client's life they're like a child.
Parent - Where in the client's life they're like a parent.
Adult - Where in the client's life they're like an adult.

Sun/Moon/Rising (ascendant)
Sun - Your individuality
Moon - Your inner self
Rising - You outer personality


or could be laid out as


1. Present: Here I am
Current state or situation.
Could represent something underneath the surface.
2. Past: This is where I was
Aspect of the past that is influencing what is happening now. May represent a stumbling block or something that needs to be addressed because it is stopping you from moving forward
3. Future: Where I am heading
A glimpse into what is to come, based on the current conditions.
1)The issue
2)What is holding me back?
3)What takes me forward?

In regards to the Issue
1-What have I released?
2-What do I still cling to?
3-What will help or aid me in releasing the rest?

Boyfriend spread
What he likes
What he doesn't like
Where he sees the relationship going
They always want future readings so I came up with this
Near future
Hidden influence
Likely outcome

                             Past Influences
Spiritual Forces***********Influence of Others

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