meanings of 3 card spread


I recently came accross a reference which said that the cards in the 3 card spread denoted 1) the present situation; 2) what should be done about it; 3) the likely outcome. This confused me because I thought it was 1) past; 2) present; 3) future. What are the opinions of others?


"I would say that three card spreads can be just about anything you can imagine. " -- Diana

Marvelous explanation of the versatility of the three-card spread, now also known as the "Three Grains of Salt Spread."

Or, as MeeWah once said in a light hearted mood, "the breakfast, lunch and dinner spread."



Mary Greer, in her highly esteemed book Tarot for Yourself, has a list of meanings for the 3 card spread, it can be:

Body Mind Spirit
Past Present Future
Subconscience Conscience Superconscience
Child Parent Adult
Maya/Illusion Knowledge Magic
Thesis Antithesis Synthesis
Commencement Opposition Integration
An Idea or plan Criticism of it How to make the most of your limitations

And she says to add your own if you fnd one that works, the beauty of the three card spread it can be anything, without being confusing like the celtic cross


The answers to this question have helped me alot. I did a 3 card spread today for a friend. I had actually done a 7 card spread for him and he came back a few hours later and wanted to know if I could clarify something for him. My first responce to him was that he could find the answers within... He still wanted more. I did the 3 card spread using near past, presant and future. The cards actually fit what he wanted to know... But the near past, presant and future order was way off. It was more like... presant situation, his inner self, possible outcome.

Thanks for helping me to understand this better.