For new tarot readers, getting into spreads beyond a single card can be a little intimidating.

Mostly, it’s less about the actual reading of the cards, and more about the new factors that are introduced when multiple cards come into play. What does the order of the cards mean, and how does that affect your interpretation? The good news is that it’s all really up to you—and that’s also the bad news if you don’t know where to start.

Lucky for you, we have some great ideas. Here are some of our favorite simple three-card tarot spreads to try out. Simply cleanse your deck, keep your intention in mind while shuffling for each new card, and allow the tarot to guide you to higher happiness.

Past, Present and Future

A quick read of the past, present and future is one of the most popular three-card tarot spreads, and for good reason. It can give you a succinct, yet top-level, view of your life. As you shuffle for each card, visualize your situation. The first card you draw represents the past, bringing light to your past experiences, and how they continue to influence your life. Have your efforts been paying off, or are there areas that could use more attention? The second card will reflect on your current situation, and where your focuses should rest right now, while the last card can give you guidance about what might come next, and tell you where to invest yourself to get where you want to go. Just remember that the future is about probabilities and possibilities, rather than being set in stone, so you may have to put in some effort to make your truth come to light.

Shutterstock: Odessa,Ukraine-February 13,2021: tarot three cards set of Rider Waite esoteric deck on white background

(via Shutterstock)


Appraising Relationships

Trying to figure out exactly how you relate to someone in your life, or how two people you know are relating to each other at the moment? Tarot can be used to examine that bond (or lack of one). Focus on your subjects as you shuffle the deck. Draw one card for the first person, and the second card for the next. These cards will reveal the natures of the people involved. Perhaps you’ve been a bit overbearing, or uncommunicative, without realizing it. Maybe you’ve been misinterpreting the other person’s actions unjustly. The cards may lead you to the truth. Lastly, the third card will reveal something innate about the nature of your relationship. Perhaps it just needs a little bit of work to get it in to the healthy, loving place you want it to be.



When you’re struggling with conflict or feeling unsure about yourself, you may want to consult a simple guidance spread about what you want to do next. The first card can symbolize your objective, and will give you insight into how you feel about that objective, and what it actually means to you. Is that really what you want, or what is right for you? The next card represents the things that might get in your way. You may learn about what your obstacles are, as well as where they come from. The third card is all about how you’ll make that goal a reality. It’s the last advice card that’s most important, but the others will give you a sense of what you’re dealing with—and whether it’s worth putting your energies there in the first place.

Shutterstock: 3 Tarot cards spread lying on a black table with magic items. Toned to cold colors in shadows.

(via Shutterstock)


The Root of a Problem

Sometimes, dealing with an issue is less about needing general advice, and more about requiring a full understanding of the problem and getting down to its solution. Let the first card represent the nature of the issue you’re dealing with, and how it’s affecting you. The second card will then help you locate the cause of the problem. Finally, the third card will represent a potential solution. Together, knowing the root and how to solve it will help you work through pretty much anything.


Weighing Options

Having a hard time picking between two equally appealing (or challenging) options in your life? A three-card tarot spread can help lead you to the best choice. As you shuffle your deck, think of the two options in front of you. Pull three cards, with the first representing option one, the second representing option two and the third card acting as a card of guidance. Each card will give you a peek into what may come as a result of the choices you can make, while the final card can help you lean in either direction.


Beneficial Actions

Sometimes, a tarot reading is less about finding out about a specific set of circumstances than it is about getting some direction in life in general. This is a nice spread for those times. Have the first card represent something that you should stop doing, to put the unneeded parts of the past behind you. Though the cards won’t tell you directly what this is, your intuition will guide you to the answer. The second card can represent something you should start doing in your life to get it on the ideal path. Finally, the third card will reveal something you should continue doing. All of these are in service of taking actions that will better your life.


Understanding the Self

If you’re looking for a deeper analysis of your inner self, look no further than the tarot. One of our favorite three-card spreads investigates the mind, body and spirit. Pay attention to what the first card says regarding your emotions, your sense of logical thinking and your ability to dream up new ideas. The second card will give an overview of the state of your body, whether that’s in regards to your health, your vitality or just its physical space. Most importantly, the spirit card will guide you to understand your intuition, your connectedness with the world and whether your instincts are steering you in the right direction.

Shutterstock: Bangkok, Thailand on 21 July 2019 - Closeup to a tarot card of heart stabbed by three swords, blur focus of gypsy woman

(via Shutterstock)


Make Up Your Own!

The tarot can be used to divine any type of question you can come up with yourself, so get creative! Look at the situations that come up in your life again and again and see if you can make a simple three-card spread that allows you to assess the situation and ponder over its elements in order to get to satisfying solutions. You might even want to mix and match elements from the spreads above to find what you need. Get reading!


Want to learn more? Click HERE for inspired questions to ask your tarot deck when you’re just starting out.