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How to Do a 3-Card Email Tarot Reading

When reading Tarot, the layout of the cards is called a spread. In a spread, each position has a pre-determined meaning—either created by you or another. The nature of the pre-determined meaning is important because it modifies the interpretation of the card.

A 3-card layout is a simple spread that can yield a lot of information in the hands of an experienced reader. Some examples of 3-card spreads include:

  1. Past, Present, Future
  2. You, Significant Other, Together (The Relationship)
  3. Mind, Body, Emotions
  4. Pro, Con, Advice
  5. Sun, Moon, Ascendant

For example, here is an actual 3-card reading I’ve recently done for a client (used by permission):

Should I Buy a Bigger Bike?

Context:   I’m 41 yrs old and recently purchased a small Yamaha Zuma scooter.  I’m having a blast but now want to also purchase a larger Honda 1100cc motorcycle that reminds me of one I had in my younger days (I’m calling it my mid-life crisis mobile).  This is something I really enjoyed in the past and would like to start riding again.   I’m concerned primarily with my safety.   I have a 5 yr old son and don’t want to get killed on it.   My wife always stresses about money no matter how much we have, but this is something I can easily afford in addition to saving for college and other stuff.  

Question:  Are there any issues that I need to be aware of before making my decision to purchase a new motorcycle, or will I be happily enjoying my purchase well into my old age?

My reply:

Here’s your 3-card reading about whether or not to buy the bigger bike:

3 card reading snowland smaller

Pros: Knight of Coins – You’re a careful and conscientious driver. You don’t, and won’t, take risks.

Cons: 4 of Coins – This is the “miser” card. We know who this refers to. LOL! Seems like the only drawback is just your wife’s financial protests.

Final Advice: Ace of Cups – In our Snowland Deck, which I used for your reading, this image shows a hand coming out of the sky, offering a huge, delicious milkshake. It’s a card of joy and an emotional upsurge of positive feelings.

I think it’s pretty clear that the cards advise you to “Go for it!”...and enjoy your mid-life crisis mobile.

Here’s another actual client reading (used by permission):

Should I Pursue Personal Training Certification?

my situation is, should i add to my life a personal training certification. (for more credentials)

I already am certified to teach group fitness yoga, pilates boot camp, and a massage therapist and also doing facials.

I am graduating with a degree in health and wellness next week.

somehow i feel i need personal training cert although do not want to be necessarily a personal trainer in a gym environment, hence the hesitation.

Im more a piscean mystic and healer.

so im torn of the pro and con, I'm leaning toward con but theres a reason, however, what is it that im supposed to focus on at this point to further my life that will bring me financial benefits. 

your guidance is treasured!

and thanks again.

(Yes, some client readings come in this jumbled!)

My reply:

Here’s your 3-Card Reading for pursuing personal training certification right now:

3 card reading snowland 2 smaller

Pro: Quester Mental (aka Knight of Swords) – This Knight is often impetuous, wanting to go full speed ahead without much forethought. It’s a card of mental stamina, aiming for a goal, and hitting the mark. You’d have no trouble getting the certification, and you could certainly add it to your aesthetic/healing work. The certification would be swift and easy for you.

Con: Inversion (Hanged Man) – In this position, this card tells me that a major drawback would be lack of integration of what you’ve already learned this year, as well as the spiritual growth that comes from such absorption. Metaphorically, the Knight of Swords “gobbles things up” based on mental machinations, while the Hanged Man absorbs what he’s learned—taking time to digest, see things in a new light, then integrate and “upgrade” his spiritual operating system. If you pursue getting the certification now, you’ll be glossing over the process and lose many of its nourishing benefits that will aid you in the future. Knight of Swords is short term benefits, but the Hanged Man—being a Major Arcana card—signifies long-term benefits directly related to your life purpose.

Final Advice: Director Emoting (aka King of Cups) - As an approach card, this card advises governing your emotions and directing your creative urges in spiritually beneficial ways. Although pursuing certification at this time may have some material benefits, it won’t be adding to your deep identification as a Piscean Mystic/Healer. So, your choices in the near future should reflect the values treasured by the Mystic/Healer archetype (rather than, say, the Entrepreneur, Athlete or Aesthetician). In our Snowland Deck, which I used for your reading, this card is Father Christmas; for your clients, focus on offering services that make them feel blessed, pampered, joyful and excited about their lives—many of the feelings and sentiments we associate with Christmas and the receiving of gifts. 

Deck 1000 Spreads 300You may notice that I color-code either the actual card title, or the text. This is because color is powerful and symbolic and, in larger readings, can show the client (and myself) which elements/suits are most represented in reading. What doesn’t show up in a reading often tells us as much as what does.

And, as you can see from both of these readings, some are quite straightforward: the cards speak clearly (sometimes, in one sentence!)—and, at other times, the same cards, in a different reading/spread, may have a lot more to say. Readings are as varied as the clients who receive them and the readers who perform them.

Personally, I’m not a fan of pre-formed spreads (even popular ones) because I feel they give too much unnecessary information that doesn’t really help or empower a client, so apart from 3-card readings, I usually make up my own spreads based on the client’s issues, questions and needs.

Do you have our Snowland Deck? Find out more at (it comes with a bag and .pdf companion book, too!). Want to book a reading with me (3-card or otherwise)? Visit my readings page on my site at this link.

-- Janet


Lisa Frideborg

Love the idea of colour coding. Great readings, Janet - Thanks for sharing!

Janet Boyer

Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment, Lisa!

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