When learning tarot, beginners often think they have to lay out complicated 10-card spreads and know them off by heart. Way too much to assimilate and probably one of the reasons many aspiring readers are put off learning tarot all together. It is much better to begin with simple one and two card tarot spreads. Once you are confident with those, you can move on to the next logical step – 3 card tarot spreads.
The advantage of using three card spreads is that the third card can add an extra dimension to your readings. That third card can be used as clarification, another viewpoint, advice and guidance, the path ahead, and to add depth.
We’ve put together 40 three card spreads for you to choose from. The deck used is the beautiful Russian Tarot of St Petersburg, essentially a Rider-Waite clone, which is brought to life with black backgrounds and jewel-like colors. You can choose to lay the cards out horizontally, vertically or in a triangle.
The most frequently requested readings are those that shine a light onto relationships. These 3 card tarot spreads will work for romantic partnerships, as well as friendships and working relationships.
- Is s/he my soul mate? What do I need to know? Will it last?
- The seeker’s perspective. Partner’s perspective. The relationship itself.
- Obstacles to the relationship. Direction you’re headed. Advice.
- Past influences. Present influences. Our future together.
- What’s working? What isn’t working? Advice.
- What she thinks. What he thinks. Common ground.
- Something you need to know. Why is this happening? Your course of action.
- What you want. What they want. Area of compromise.
- Strengths of the relationship. Difficulties to be overcome. What you should focus on.
- Conflict. Areas of agreement. Resolution.
Most of us are concerned about our finances. Three card readings are perfect for providing a quick reference to a money situation.
- My current financial situation. Areas to restrain spending. Let the money flow this way.
- What am I doing wrong? What am I doing right? What do I need to do next?
- My money perspective. Who can help? What should I focus on?
- My financial challenge. My financial strengths. Where will I find my abundance?
- My point of attraction. How am I sabotaging my abundance? How do I allow money to flow to me?
Job and Career Readings
Use these job-related 3 card spreads to determine if you are headed in the right direction with your career.
- Am I making the most of my job? How can I improve? What should my focus be?
- Opportunities. Distractions. Action.
- Who can help me? Who will hinder me? Future path.
- The positive factors of my job. The negatives. How can I change the negatives to positives?
- Positives about leaving this job. Negatives if I leave. Advice.
- Suggestions for new career. Guidance. Outcome if I change direction now.
- Stay or leave? New opportunity. Outcome.
Making an important decision often throws us for a loop. We can see the pros and cons, but it’s hard to know which way to go. While we would never recommend that you base a life-changing decision on the turn of a card (or three), tarot will give an extra layer to your understanding.
- Pros. Cons. Advice.
- Who can help with this? What are the obstacles? Outcome if I choose…?
- What is hidden from me? How can I use this information? Action I could take?
- I should wait until…? How will I recognize the right time? Who or what will help me?
- My heart tells me? My head tells me? What do I need to know to make this choice?
- Consequences if I choose this? Consequences if I choose that? Alternative perspective.
- What are the benefits of A.? What are the benefits of B.? How can I integrate the two?
A tarot reading can help us examine our spirituality and to understand lessons that we might otherwise miss. Most would prefer a long, in-depth spirituality reading, but a 3-card reading is perfect for perplexing spiritual questions.
- An unconscious belief. How can it help me? How can it harm me?
- I need to understand…? I need to come to terms with…? I need to let go of…?
- My suppressed emotions. My mistaken belief. How to move on?
- What am I holding on to? What should I pay attention to? What should I surrender?
- What life lesson am I learning? How can it help me? What is my next step?
- Influences to assimilate. Influences to ignore. What can I take away from this?
General 3 Card Tarot Spreads
Sometimes we need some guidance even though we haven’t a specific question. These simple 3 card spreads will help you to clarify your next step or highlight the areas of your life you’d like to work on.
- I am happy because…? I am unhappy because…? I need to understand…?
- Where I am right now. Where am I headed? Who or what will help me?
- How I see myself. How do others see me? How do I integrate the two?
- The best things about me. The worst things about me. How can I improve?
- What do I want from life? How can I get it? What actions should I take?
Create a Tarot Spread
Making up your own tarot spreads is easy. All you have to do is focus on the issue and work out what advice you’d like from the cards. It’s always better to ask an open-ended question, such as, ‘what?’ or ‘how?’ than a closed question such as, ‘will I get married?’
You don’t have to restrict yourself to three cards. Do your reading and, if you need further guidance, draw another card or move on to a second three card reading. That’s the beauty of tarot – one card leads to another.
Keeping a Tarot Reading Record
We always encourage you to keep records of your readings. It is surprising, when you look back, how accurate the cards were. You can garner a lot of useful information by keeping track of your spreads, your questions, your situation, how things worked out, what you learned, who helped you, and why you went one way instead of the other. You will see that your past, as documented in your readings, is a blueprint to your future.