The Three Card Spread

The three-card spread is probably the most popular Tarot spread in use today. We even use it with Oracle and Lenormand cards. This is the one spread I ask all beginners to master before moving on to the more advanced Celtic Cross.  It gives a quick insight into any given situation with amazing accuracy, and it you rush into a Celtic Cross there’s a good chance you’ll hit the wall. 

I liken it to learning a new language because that’s exactly what it is. You are learning to speak Tarot, which is the understanding of card combinations. If you practice well with the three-card spread, this language will become so familiar to you that you’ll be eager to move on. Some students ask me how long to stick at the three-card spreads, but it’s not a progressive step.  We use the three-card spread whether we’re a beginner or experienced Tarot reader.    

So, let’s dive in…

  1. Shuffle the cards with a question in mind
  2. Cut and complete (cut the pack in half with your left hand to create two separate piles and place the bottom pack on top to create one pack) 
  3. Take the top card and place it in position 1
  4. The next card in position 2
  5. The final card is in position 3. 

Always lay the cards from left to right. You can lay them face up or face down, it’s a personal choice. Many readers will put them all face-up immediately and scan whilst laying the cards. I read the cards from a face-down position, turning them one at a time. I don’t know why, it’s just the way I was taught, but there’s no right or wrong way.

Let’s put this straight to work with the two questions and answer examples below. Please note that the first thing to look for is similar cards:

  • 2 or more swords – this is seriously on their mind, so tread carefully with your reply. I have always been amazed at the number of clients who tell me what I said in a reading! I can’t remember a word but they are hanging on to every single one I said. Lots of swords – it’s mental tension, so be kind.
  • 2 or more pentacles, we’re talking money
  • 2 or more cups is an emotional situation
  • 2 or more wands is an activity and is more often than not work-related (it’s where we are most active)
  • Look for any Major Arcana? If so, this person is going through a significant time. We’re talking Major life-changing stuff. (If there are two or more Major Arcana this could be why they are consulting the cards).

Hopefully, that has given you a taster for the three-card spread. If you need extra clarity you can pick another card from the pack. The only way to master this skill is through practice. Have fun and if this is your first time you do need to make sure your pack is well shuffled beforehand to split up the suits. If you don’t know how to shuffle the cards, pop over HERE and have a little read.  

My parting advice for the three-card spread is that the client needs to have a definite question in mind and be prepared to share it with you. It just saves a whole lot of time because you can dive straight in with the answer. If they aren’t prepared to tell you and want to test your abilities then go straight to a Celtic Cross for an overview first, because we are Tarot consultants not mind readers. The Celtic Cross spread is HERE.

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