33 Easy Three-Card Spreads for Tarot

In the intricate and enchanting world of Tarot, the power of insight lies in the cards and their arrangement. The three-card spread is one of these arrangements’ most instinctive and straightforward. Despite its simplicity, this spread offers immense depth, clarity, and flexibility, making it a popular choice for both Tarot enthusiasts and professionals.

This article will delve into 33 different three-card tarot spreads, elucidating their unique applications and significance in various contexts of divination and self-reflection. Whether you’re a curious beginner or a seasoned Tarot reader, these spreads will provide a fresh perspective and add a new dimension to your reading experience.

  • Three-card spreads are a versatile tool in tarot reading that can illuminate various aspects of life, including career, finances, creativity, and personal growth. Each position in the spread holds a specific meaning, providing nuanced insights into the querent’s situation.
  • One of the advanced techniques in three-card spread readings involves incorporating reversed cards, which can offer a fresh perspective or highlight internal energies. Combining traditional card meanings with intuitive insights can also deepen the reading and tailor it to the individual’s circumstances.
  • The true power of tarot lies within the reader – their intuition and interpretation bring life to the cards. As practitioners advance in their tarot journey, they can enrich their readings by experimenting with various spreads and learning to interpret the relationships between the cards in a spread.

What is a Three-Card Spread?

A three-card tarot spread is a simple reading where three cards are drawn and arranged in a specific order. Each card indicates an important aspect of the question or situation. The card placement holds significance as they interact to provide a cohesive narrative and answer.

This spread is perfect for beginners as it is easy to use. It requires minimal deck shuffling and interpretation, allowing for a quick and straightforward reading. The three-card tarot spread can offer profound insights and guidance despite its simplicity.

The number three is significant in Tarot readings, representing balance, harmony, and completion. It is considered sacred in many cultures, symbolizing the mind, body, and spirit. The three-card spread taps into this energy, providing a holistic understanding of the situation.

This spread is versatile and can be adapted for different questions, intentions, and situations. It can be used for general readings or specific inquiries. Let’s explore some popular three-card layouts and their unique purposes.

General and Linear 3-Card Spreads

One of the most common ways to use a three-card tarot spread is in a linear or timeline format. This approach is perfect for gaining insight into past, present, and future situations or events. It can also be used to understand a situation’s progression and potential outcomes. Here are variations of this spread:

Past – Present – Future: This traditional version of the three-card spread is used to understand an ongoing progression or predict potential outcomes based on past and present circumstances.

Strengths – Weaknesses – Advice: A spread for personal growth and self-reflection. It highlights your inherent strengths and areas of weakness and provides advice for improvement.

Origin of a Problem – Cause – Solution: This spread is beneficial for problem-solving, helping you to identify the root of an issue, its cause, and potential solutions.

Situation Right Now – Obstacle – Advice on Overcoming: Used for tackling immediate challenges. This spread illuminates the current situation, identifies obstacles, and offers advice on how to overcome them.

Situation – Action – Outcome: A practical spread for decision-making. It provides insight into a situation, suggests actions, and predicts potential outcomes.

general and linear 3-card tarot spreads

Context – Where You Need to Send Your Energy – Outcome: This spread guides you on where to concentrate your efforts. It provides context, focus areas, and anticipated outcomes.

Thoughts – Feelings – Actions: This self-discovery layout is perfect for understanding emotions and actions, helping to align thoughts and feelings with actions.

Three-Card Tarot Spreads for the Future

three card tarot spreads for the future

The Tarot is often used for divination and predicting the future. The following three-card tarot spreads are designed to provide insight into what lies ahead:

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Aspirations – Challenges – Path to Achieve: This 3-card tarot spread is a map for your dreams and ambitions. It outlines your aspirations, identifies potential challenges, and suggests a course of action to achieve your goals.

What You Desire – What Stands in Your Way – Overcoming Obstacles: To grasp your deepest desires better, confront potential roadblocks, and forge a path forward.

Helpful Forces – Hindrances – Unrealized Potential: A tool for personal development, it spotlights those who can assist, uncovers barriers, and reveals untapped capabilities.

Current Situation – Future Goal – Steps to Get There: In a forward-looking context, it delves into your aspirations, evaluates your current status, and charts the route to attain your objectives.

Three Card Spread Tarot – Understanding the Past

These 3-card spreads can offer a deeper understanding of your history to help you better comprehend yourself and our journey:

Things You Can’t Change – Things You Can’t Influence – Unknown Things: This layout is useful for clarifying things from the past that are out of your control, things that you can influence, and unknown factors to consider.

Learnings From the Past – Impact on Present – Lessons for the Future: While helping to identify lessons learned from past experiences, it also shows how they have impacted your present situation and what lessons you need to carry forward into the future.

three card tarot spreads to understand the past

Love and Relationship 3-Card Spreads

3-card tarot spreads for love

Love is a fundamental aspect of our lives. Understanding the dynamics and potential outcomes is crucial, whether in a relationship or seeking one.

An easy three-card tarot reading can be powerful for gaining a foundational understanding of your love life and assisting you in making informed decisions. Here are some connection-oriented spreads:

What You Want – What They Want – Where the Relationship is Heading: It helps you grasp your desires and intentions and those of your partner. It also offers guidance on the future of your connection.

What Unites You – What Divides You – What to Focus On: This is for couples experiencing challenges or seeking to improve their connection. It identifies what brings you together, creates division, and offers guidance on what to focus on for a stronger relationship.

You – Your Partner – The Relationship Itself: These cards represent yourself, your partner, and your relationship dynamics. It identifies areas of strength and weakness, guiding a healthier relationship.

Layouts for Decision-Making 

Decision-making can be challenging, and sometimes a fresh perspective is needed. These spreads offer guidance and understanding of different options and potential outcomes:

Option 1 – Option 2 – What You Need to Know: This layout compares two options while gathering information on what you need to consider in making your decision.

The Solution – An Alternative Solution – How to Choose: If you’re stuck between two potential solutions, this 3-card tarot spread can help you weigh the pros and cons of each while offering advice on how to decide ultimately.

Idea – Process – Aspiration: If you have a new idea or project in mind, it can help guide you through turning it into reality while highlighting potential challenges or obstacles.

Opportunities – Challenges – Outcome: This spread helps you to understand the potential opportunities and challenges that may arise in a given situation and potential outcomes based on your current circumstances. Use it to make informed decisions for your future.

three-card tarot spreads for decision making

Spreads for Self-Discovery, Balance, and Inner Guidance

three-card tarot spreads for self discovery, balance and inner guidance

The Tarot is also powerful for self-discovery and gaining inner guidance. The spreads in this section can help you tap into your intuition, gain clarity, and find balance in your life:

What You Need to Let Go – What You Need to Embrace – How to Find Balance: This layout focuses on finding balance in your life by identifying what you need to let go of and what you need to embrace. The final card offers guidance on how to find a balance between these two energies.

Your Mind – Your Body – Your Spirit: These three tarot cards are perfect for learning more about each aspect of yourself: your conscious mind, your physical body, and your spiritual state. It can help you identify areas needing more attention or where imbalances exist.

Your Potential – Your Current Path – What the Universe Wants You to Be: This spread can guide aligning your path with your potential and what the universe wants you to become. It can also help you identify any doubts or fears that may be holding you back from reaching your full potential.

Stop – Start- Continue: This layout can help you identify patterns or habits hindering your progress and what you need to change. It offers guidance on what actions to stop, start, or continue to move forward.

Your Calling – Doubts – Actions: Specifically designed for individuals searching for their life’s purpose or calling, it can help you uncover doubts or fears that may be preventing you from following your true path and offers guidance on the actions you can take to move toward your calling.

Career and Money

Passion – Skills – Career Possibility: This spread showcases the intersection of your passion, skills, and potential professional paths.

The first card represents your deepest passions, the second reflects your skills and talents, and the third reveals the possible career where these two intersect.

Obstacle – Your Current Position – Opportunity: Use this layout to understand the challenges in your career, your current standing, and the potential opportunities that lie ahead.

The “Obstacle” card unveils the problems you’re facing, the “Your Position” card represents your existing situation, and the “Opportunity” card shows the potential prospects or direction you might consider.

Issue – Action to Take – Assistance: Designed to guide you through difficult career decisions, this spread identifies the problem, proposes action steps, and suggests where or how you can find assistance.

The “Problem” card outlines the primary issue, the “Action Steps” card suggests the necessary actions and the “Assistance” card points to the help available to you.

career and money 3-card tarot spreads

Spendings – Savings – Things to Focus on: This spread unravels your financial habits and priorities, helping you strike a balance. The “Spending” card represents where your money currently goes, the “Saving” card signifies where you could potentially save, and the “Focus” card highlights areas that require your attention to improve your financial health.

Chance – Disadvantage – Advantages: This layout offers a holistic view of any career or financial opportunity. The “Opportunity” card reveals potential prospects, the “Downside” card exposes potential risks or drawbacks, and the “Benefits” card demonstrates the possible rewards or positive outcomes.

Creativity and Workflow Spreads

three card tarot spreads for creativity

Source of Inspiration – How to Channel It – Potential Outcome: These three cards aid in understanding the origin of your creative inspirations, how to channel them effectively, and the potential outcomes of harnessing them.

What’s Blocking Creativity – Habit to Release – Habit to Cultivate: Use this layout to identify what’s stifling your creativity, the habits you need to let go of, and the ones you should foster to enhance your creative workflow.

Ambition – Community – Opportunity: This spread helps you explore the relationship between your ambitions, community influence, and potential opportunities.

It assists in aligning your personal goals with community aspirations and identifying opportunities that arise from this intersection.

Advanced Techniques in a Three-Card Tarot Reading

As you delve deeper into Tarot reading, you can employ advanced techniques to enhance your three-card tarot readings. One technique involves incorporating reversed tarot cards, which offer an alternative perspective or reveal internal energies. For instance, when the ‘Strength’ card is reversed, it may indicate inner conflicts rather than external challenges.

Combine conventional card interpretations with your intuitive understanding to enrich your tarot practice. While each card has a traditional meaning, your intuitive perceptions offer a personalized interpretation. For instance, the ‘Death’ card can represent letting go of old habits or beliefs.

You can also check out advanced spreads like the celtic cross when you feel like alternating your practice.

Keep in mind that Tarot is adaptable and adjusts to each individual. Trust your intuition as you embark on this transformative journey of self-discovery and personal growth.

Related: Different Tarot Spreads


In conclusion, tarot is much more than a mystical method of divination. It’s an instrument for introspection, self-discovery, and personal growth. Whether you’re seeking guidance in your career, exploring your creativity, or looking to understand your life’s path, tarot offers a diverse array of spreads that can provide insights tailored to your unique journey.

Also read: Five-Card Tarot Spreads: A Gateway to Deeper Understanding

Remember that the power of tarot lies not just in the cards but within you – it’s your intuition and interpretation that bring the cards to life. No matter where you are in your tarot journey, remember to embrace the mystery, trust your intuition, and enjoy the journey of self-discovery.

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Christina Johnson

About the Author

My name is Christina, and I am the founder of centerspirited. Being a physiotherapist for several years I have found that many people, including myself, don’t achieve well-being only from a physical point of view. I’ve always viewed a person’s body, soul, and emotions as a whole construct of beauty. Always being a yoga enthusiast, I finally became an instructor myself. On a secret mission to capture spirituality in all of her beautiful shapes, I found myself being guided on a way through ayurvedic nutrition and lifestyle. Through this platform, I will hopefully be able to help other beautiful souls out there find their inner peace and bond with their spiritual selves.

Tarot Card Reading & Your Destiny
Your destiny is shaped by your choices, and tarot can help you make the right ones. Get your hands on our eBook!
Free Download: Tarot Card Reading & Your Destiny
Your destiny is shaped by your choices, and tarot can help you make the right ones. Get your hands on our eBook!