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How to Read a 3 Card Tarot Spread

Weaving cards together to tell a story can be difficult when you’re just starting out and learning to read tarot cards. Thankfully, the three-card spread is an easy and simple way that you can read several cards at once to act as a mirror for you or others.

Learning the story that ties the three cards together is simple and can easily be practiced until you become a master of the craft. We’re going to show you how you can read a 3-card spread in this article.

A Breakdown of the 3-Card Tarot Spread

The three-card tarot spread is one that is used by both professionals and beginners alike. While the Celtic Cross spread, which involves 10 cards, might look much more appealing and ‘real’, the humble three-card spread can provide you with all of the information you need to navigate any problem you might be having.

As you already know, tarot cards are meant to act as a mirror rather than a definitive answer, and you are meant to find your own meaning within the cards. You can interpret the three cards you draw any way that you’d like to relate them to your life and what you are currently going through.

Vintage hand drawn mystic tarot cards

How to Read a 3 Card Tarot Spread

So you are ready to get started? Without further ado, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of the three-card spread. Here are the steps you need to follow when doing a read with a three-card tarot spread.

Step 1: Pay Attention

As with any tarot reading, your first step is to shuffle your deck and draw your cards — three cards, in this case. Notice the types of cards you lay out and how they make you feel. Are all of the cards from the Major Arcana? Is there more than one card from the same suit, or are there multiple court cards?

Are you getting an instant understanding of the story and how the cards flow together?

Step 2: Weave a Story from Start to Finish

Since you have drawn three cards, the story that they are telling you has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Like we mentioned earlier, you can interpret them in many ways, but thinking like a storyteller will often yield the best results.

3 card tarot spread

When that happened, the result was this, and now I have to do this thing. The simple Past, Present, and Future reading — where the Past is represented by the first card, the Present by the second, and the Future by the third — is a great example of this, and it works well in any situation.

Strength tarot card on fortune teller wooden table background.

Now, you are going to want to find the thread in this story that connects all of the cards. This can sometimes be quite obvious, but other times, it’s going to come from a more intuitive feeling. When you study the cards together, the thread might be one of your relationships, an event that occurred in your life, or a prominent emotion that ties the story together.

Try to determine what each of the cards has in common, and be sure to use your intuition. Tarot will never be fruitful if you are just relying on your logical brain.

Step 4: Trust Yourself

Tarot is meant to serve as a window into your subconscious. Even though you don’t understand the whole story or the reading from a logical or intellectual perspective, if it ‘feels’ right, you should trust yourself enough to know that you have read the cards right.

You might just need more perspective and time to see how the story is going to unfold in your real life. Recording your tarot readings in a notebook or journal can be very useful, and when you review them later down the line, you will often be able to find the connection that you missed before, now that you have a better perspective and the luxury of hindsight.

The Tarot - Card of The Sun, Moon and Star.

Interpreting the Tarot Cards

Every tarot card in the deck holds multiple meanings, and it’s up to you to determine those meanings for yourself. The Death card from the Major Arcana suit doesn’t imply that you are going to die, but rather that there has been a big change in your life that requires sacrifice, or that this change is soon coming.

Likewise, drawing The Fool doesn’t mean that you’re an idiot, but rather that you are on a journey to discovering more about yourself, your inner subconscious, and the world around you. Of course, if you want to interpret the cards literally, you are completely free to do that.

The great thing about tarot is that it is supposed to help us learn more about ourselves and that it gives us the freedom to impose our own meaning on the cards and draw our own conclusions from them. It’s a tool that can help you gain perspective on your life.

The Benefits to Reading Your Tarot Cards

There are quite a few benefits to doing your own tarot readings and searching for meaning within the cards. Let’s take a look at some of them.

Fortune teller reading a future by tarot cards in the light of candle

Getting a Clear Perspective

It’s very unlikely that you’ll ever encounter a person in your life who has it all figured out. If someone tells you something positive, the chances are that you’re going to work hard toward achieving that. Likewise, if they tell you something negative, you’ll be prepared for that. Tarot gives you this kind of perspective in life and helps you develop a better understanding of your life.

Aids in Focusing on Improvement

There are some personality traits that keep us away from reaching our full potential, despite all of our achievements. Tarot card reading can help you identify the areas in your life that you might need to improve, and it can be very encouraging for you to work on those areas to be the best version of yourself.

Final Thoughts

And there you have it – the easy steps needed to read a three-card tarot spread to properly understand what is being communicated.

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