There are an infinite number of three card spreads and it is dead easy to make your own- just name each position something you need to know. If however you are looking for some inspiration, here are my top ten 3 card spreads.
10- The Tree
You can do this one vertically- starting with the Roots, the Trunk, the Branches. The Roots are of course where you are coming from or the root of the problem. The Trunk is the bulk of the situation and the Branches are complications that have or could develop or offshoots of the situation. You can vary this by adding as many branches as you are comfortable reading. Technically if you add more branches it isn’t a 3 card spread anymore but I tend to find that I don’t really need to. The more cards you add to a reading for “clarification” the more confused things tend to get.
I asked my Whimsical deck what do I need to know about my wedding planning?
I got Roots- Ace of Cups; Trunk- Temperance; Branches- Hanged One
So, obviously I’m planning a wedding because of the offer of love we share. Temperance is represented by the nursery rhyme Jack and Jill in this deck, to me that suggests that the bulk of the situation is that we want to do this together, we’ve got to both be happy with the plans. The Hanged One in this deck is represented by the fisherman’s wife. In that story the fisherman’s wife gets her wishes granted but she gets so over the top with her wishes that she ends up losing them all. I think that’s a complication that could come out of this- that we could run away with ourselves and blow our budget or start planning over the top silly stuff only to find we wanted it simple anyway. What’s the message? Keep it simple, make sure we are both on the same page with our ideas and plans and remember we are having a wedding to celebrate our love, not to show off.
9- Sun, Moon, Stars
This is a great little spread for when you just want to know what is actually going on in a situation. The Sun represents what is obvious, the Moon for what is not so obvious and the Stars for what is hidden.
I asked my Froud’s Faeries what do I need to know about my writing?
I got Sun- Sylvanius; Moon- The Topsie Turvets; Stars- The Glanconer
Hmmm. Trickier. What’s obvious is that Sylvanius, who represents masks and truths, tells me that I’m speaking my truth behind the mask of faerygodmother. Which is true. What’s not so obvious is the Topsie Turvets telling me that I need to see things from a different point of view. They are asking me if I have unrealistic expectations of my writing. I also get the feeling that it’s not a bad thing to be one voice among many, so long as I bear in mind that my voice isn’t any more valid then anyone else’s. Lastly, what’s hidden is the Glanconer. Funnily enough, he’s also a messenger of confusion. He’s about the truth behind the glamour. Light bulb moment. It all makes sense now. Truth behind masks, seeing different points of view and banishing glamour. What’s the message? I need to know that writing is communicating and that while it’s fine for me to tell my truth I also need to listen and remember that there is actually some hard work involved with writing.
8- Shadow Self, Higher Self, United Self
This is a good mirror. It’s often all to easy for us to see ourselves as all good or all bad, whereas in reality we are all mixtures of both.
I asked the Rider-Waite what do I need to know about myself at this time?
So if the 2 of swords is at it’s worst what am I ignoring or trying to justify with bad logic? The only thing I can think of at this point is that due to fear of consequences I’m not following my deepest instinct to make a change in my job even though I know the Universe will probably catch me and help me on to where I should be. This idea is backed up by the 5 of Pentacles as my Higher Self- that there is help if I only ask or that the solution is there as soon as I take the first step. I take this as a ‘hang in there’ as well. It is a change I am planning to make as soon as humanly (and financially) possible. All this is confirmed by the 4 of Wands as my United Self- I’m taking the practical time I need to make the change, gathering in my strength and resources. What’s the message? I know that it will soon be time to make a change and that there is no need to be afraid of that change because there will be support as soon as I ask for it. I’m on the right path at the moment by taking the time to gather my resources.
7- Morning, Afternoon, Evening
You can adapt this to suit any time frame. A day, a week, a month or even a year. It’s less about accuracy then it is about flavour. By flavour I just mean the feel. This is the sort of reading that really doesn’t make sense till after the fact.
I asked my beautiful Wisdom of Avalon Oracle cards what do I need to know about the 1st May?
I got Morning- Earth Faery; Afternoon- Novice; Evening- King
At first glance I would have to think that means I get to do some gardening in the morning, spend some time with my daughter in the afternoon and have a lovely evening with hubby to be. Which would make it a pretty normal day. I’ll have to get back to you on how the day actually does turn out.
6- Problem, Action, Solution
This one works best the more specific you get. You may have noticed that my questions have been fairly general up to this point, because that’s the sort of wording that works best with those spreads. This however is most useful for the minutiae.
I asked my Fey how can I solve our transport issues?
I got Problem- Emperor; Action- 5 of Pentacles; Solution- Judgement
Well, for the problem we have hubby to be sitting on a stone throne, much like his truck which alas, is also stone at the moment- it isn’t going anywhere. How weird that I have another 5 of Pentacles as a middle card, this time as the action to take. In this card, both figures are inside, cuddling up by a fire. I take that as the only action we can take is to wait for night to end, that is our financial night which thankfully will be coming to an end soon, in the meantime we just have to make do. The solution is Judgement. This Judgement is an artist with her head down, paintbrush still in hand. Is she asleep or just resting? I think it means that we have to get creative with our solution. To think outside the square. What’s the message? That the solution may not be what I think it will be and that we’ll need to hang in there for a little while longer with the transport issues.
5- You, Me, Us
You can use this spread for more than just romantic relationships. By necessity it is a rather general spread but it does give a very good snap shot of the current state of a relationship or interaction.
I asked my Heart of The Faerie Oracle what do I need to know about the interaction between my readers and me?
I got You- the Captive Man; Me- the Magician; Us- the Green Woman
Well, that’s an interesting one. The Captive Man represents false perceptions, enthrallment and release from captivity. My aim when I started this blog was to break some misconceptions about fortune telling and reading in general. That the Captive Man makes an appearance as you, my readers, suggests that my aim is on track. There’s quite a lot of bristling demand and power with this faery and his friends. I think there is a diversity of readers but the one thing you have in common is a desire to learn the truth behind the “glamour” of readers. What makes this rather funny (and as per Fae humour) the card for Me, the Magician is all about faery glamour. I really like her and her message. She makes me think of those stage magicians who show everyone how the trick is done- which is what I want to do. The card for Us is just beautiful. The Green Woman is subtlety, beauty and fruition. She speaks of balance and a gentle flow of energy, creativity and inner strength. I especially like her advice to “be strong in your convictions but gentle in the manner in which you present them.” Works for me. What’s the message? Together I think they speak about our journey to find the truth behind the glamour of fortune telling, but not to break that glamour altogether. It will take time and a natural process for us to get where we are going on this journey and between us we have the power to add a little more magic to the world. All in all, I think I like that.
4- Stop, Wait, Go
The Traffic Light spread is a great go to general spread, especially if you are in the mood to read but don’t have any burning questions.
I asked my Shapeshifter tarot what do I need to know about my life in general?
I got Stop-2 of Air (Wands); Wait- Courage (Strength); Go- Goddess of Earth (Pentacles)
The first card shows us a dragon trying to open a bee hive under a fruiting tree. I think this means I need to stop pushing myself so hard or I’m going to get stung! All things ripen in time. Next I need to wait for the right time to use my courage. This courage is a woman/ mother bear and her child, which is an appropriate analogy- when you raise a child you have to find the right balance between pushing them to grow and learn and protecting them- we have to do that for ourselves as well. Lastly the Go is about networking and using all of my talents. This reading echoes one I did a little earlier. What’s the message? Be patient, good times are coming, use your skills wisely while you wait.
3- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
This is a new one in my repertoire thanks to a lovely site that I highly recommend you check out. She originally had this as a 6 card reading with two cards for each position and further refining, but I think the 3 card version works just fine too. It doesn’t really need a question because it’s pretty specific in and of itself, plus I’ve found it tends to over-ride any question you ask anyway.
I asked my Animal Dreaming oracle what do I need to reduce, reuse and recycle?
I got Reduce- Mouse (scrutiny); Reuse- Cuscus (calmness); Recycle- Bat (rebirth)
As the mouse is all about the details, I take it that I should reduce my ‘scrutiny’ ie- don’t sweat the small stuff. Which is true. As for the cuscus, he takes things one step at a time, calmly achieving not in a rush of activity but in small measured steps. I should reuse that ability to take things one step at a time, to add a small amount everyday. Lastly the bat. There’s that idea again of change coming. This time as a letting go of all that is old and outdated. Bats symbolically are reborn every night as they come out of the caves that represent Earths womb. Everything old is new again. What’s the message? Somewhere along the line I mixed up taking things one step at a time for nitpicking details. Time to get that back into order. As Elvis would say, a little less conversation, a little more action. Time to polish off some of my old skills.
2- Who, What, When
This one is also adapt as needed. You can either add more cards for things like ‘where’ or ‘how’ or simply replace some of the three above. This one needs as specific a question as you can get.
I asked my Titania’s Fortune Cards what do I need to know about my 50th follower?
I got Who- Woman (gee thanks for narrowing it down!); What- Key; When- Tree
No one ever said that cards didn’t have a sense of humour. Chances are my 50th follower will be female. What she represents is that I will get to 50 followers at some point. But the Tree suggests it won’t be anytime soon, or at least it will take some time to get there.
1- Past, Present, Future
I wouldn’t say that the PPF is my favourite spread but it is hands down the single most useful spread. It is the foundation of pretty much every reading you are ever going to get or do. There is a reason it’s important to look at the past and present. In order to know where you are going you have to know where you have been. It’s also a fantastic way to know if the reader you are paying money to is worth it. If you don’t understand what they are talking about at the past and present stage then chances are your reading is just wrong. You need to be able to say, ‘yep, I know what that’s about’ each and every time they lay out the past and present cards. Sometimes you do have to think outside the square to see it, sometimes it means admitting things to yourself you’d rather not, but the truth is it is of paramount importance that you get it.
Generally speaking, futures don’t just appear out of the blue. They are often the obvious consequences of previous actions or attitudes. Sometimes surprises and the unexpected do happen, but nine times out of ten, you get the future you’ve been making for yourself. This is why the PPF is so important.
I got Past- Ilbe the Retriever; Present- The Piper; Future- Indi
Ilbe is so cute when he looks at you in that forlorn way. He keeps hopes and dreams safe, sometimes so safe that you forget where you put them. He says that this site is the renewal of an old dream- which is true. I’ve wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember, but life has always gotten in the way. The Piper is playing his tune right now. I love how he communicates- while his communication is wordless music, mine is in the lyrics of life. It’s always worried me a bit that when he shows up someone is always hearing me better then I hear myself. But in the spirit of the Piper, I will just let my words flow without over editing myself. Coming up, Indi. Now why would he be here? Is it because I’m not sure what direction I’d like to take the site? Or maybe it’s the commitment side of him coming out. That makes sense to me. I guess what he’s saying is that at some point in the future I’ll need to make a choice and a commitment to that choice. What that will be I’ll have to wait and see, but I suspect it involves how much time, effort and livelihood I put on the site. What’s the message? The site is a two-fold renewal for me in that I had put a lot of my skills and talents as a reader on the backburner while I got on with other things. Also on the back burner was my writing, so Ilbe retrieved both for me. Currently my words and messages as wafting out the in the world softly and gently, reaching those who need to hear it, those who know to listen for it. Soon, I’ll have to make a choice and stick with it. But I’ll stay open minded about what that choice will be and trust that it will be obvious when I see it.
So there you have it. My top ten 3 card spreads and examples of how they work. Hopefully that isn’t over sharing more about me then you probably wanted to know, but I was the only handy subject for readings. Plus it was fun.
So what’s you favourite 3 card spread?