Mastering Simple Spreads

Not all readers use tarot spreads, but I have found them effective and even essential for learning how to decipher the different meanings that a card can have. Often when we just lay several cards out, it can trigger our intuition, but it can also jumble the messages that the cards are trying to convey. So, being comfortable using some basic spreads is a great tool to have.

However, more cards aren’t always better. Three-card spreads are a great way for new beginners to learn how to read basic tarot and to read cards with and against each other without being overwhelmed by the larger spreads. And, a reader can get a lot of information from just three (or even one) card. The problem is that many people get stuck reading just a “past – present – future” spread over and over again. However, you can use three cards in literally dozens of ways. More than that, you can use many of these for oracle cards too! Here are twelve ideas for three-card tarot spreads. I hope they will to get you started.

The Spreads

Past – Present – Future


Situation – Action – Outcome


Situation – Obstacles – Advice


Mind – Body – Spirit


Situation – What Not To Do – What To Do


Situation – What To Say “No” To – What To Say “Yes” To


Option A – Option B – Deciding Factor


What I Know – What I Will Find Out Soon – What Is Still Hidden


This Week – Next Week – Two Weeks From Now


Thoughts – Feelings – Actions


Career – Relationships – Health


My Feelings – His/Her Feelings – The Outcome Of Our Relationship*

*Please use any pronouns appropriate.

Still Not What You’re Looking For?

Still needed something else? Many books on the market devote all or part of their content to tarot spreads. Or, you can look around online. Beyond that, many readers make their own bespoke spreads for various situations. The trick when designing a new spread is to have a clear idea of what each place in the spread means. Also, you should make sure the overall spread fits with the question being asked.

If your question can be rephrased to be answered with just a yes or no, you may also want to check out my post about asking yes/no questions with tarot. There are several fun ways to try that will really elevate your reading style.

When using one of these tarot spreads or designing your own, start small but remember the sky is the limit!