This 3 card tarot spread is a quick and simple way to get insight into the past, present and future. There are many variations on the 3 card tarot spread, including the past life tarot spread, but this is one of the most common and useful (in my opinion!) spreads. This spread also works great with oracle cards if you prefer using those.
- Energies and events that are in the past yet still effect you
- How your past either holds you back (blocks) or helps you move forward (growth)
- What you need to take from the past and use to your advantage today
- What is going on for you right now
- The energy of the present moment
- Opportunities and challenges that are currently being presented to you
- Outcome of situation
- The direction that things seem to be moving in
- What you are wanting
Look closer at each card and ask yourself what it represents:
Some possibilities are…..
- A person in your life
- A situation
- Your emotions / feelings
- Your thoughts
- You and the way you are approaching things
- A new way of seeing things
- A possible solution
Here is a video demonstration and mini lesson (taught by me!) on how to read tarot cards using the past, present, future 3 card tarot spread:
82 thoughts on “3 Card Tarot Spread ~ Past, Present, Future”
Hello can u possibly clarify if I thought I was right.
I drew for my relationship with my recent ex
5 of pentacles
4 of wands
I’m new to it like yesterday new and the cards are not reader Waite but my four of wands I thought was a eye that’s what I saw when I first looked at it
Hi! I’m new at this. I got myself a deck and I tried following the instructions on past, present future and then there’s a card on advice as the last one according to this thing I read.
So shortly I laid out 3 cards next to each other and the last one a little bit turned away from the others, pointing more to the right.
The first card is the magician. (past)
Second card is queen of swords, reversed. (present)
Third one is ten of swords, reversed. (future)
And the fourth is nine of pentacles, reversed(advice)
Past king of cups
Present queen of cups
Future ace of cups
Past: The World reversed
Present: 2 of swords reversed
Future: The Sun upright
I would like to know the meaning of this combination thanks in advance for any response
9 of pentacles reversed past position
Ace of pentacles upright in present position
4 of wands upright in future position
Message from bottom of deck : 10 of pentacles
I got the king of cups the king of swords and the hermit. For my three card spread and just want to understand what all this means
Past- the lovers reversed
Present- wheel of fortune reversed
Future- the fool
Past 5 cups
Present IV the emperor
Future 10 pentacles
I don’t understand what this means
The 9 of wands past position
The king of pentacles present position
The king of cups future position
Page of cups
6 of pentacles
The High Priestess
The meaning please
Hi! I’m just newly getting into my tarot cards and still have not quite got to understanding my spreads.
Today I pulled
Past: Queen of Wands/Fire
Present: Knight of Cups/Water
Future: 3 of Cups/Water
If you can help me understand this a little more I’d highly appreciate it! 🙂
Past – 9 or wands
Present – 4 of cups reversed
Future- king of swords
Past: the empress
Present: the lovers
Future: ace of swords
Hi my name is Moon Carver and I will try my best to interpret your card. 🙂
Past: The Empress.
The empress card means ” nurturing, beauty, and abundance”. Your past was filled with plenty of love and abundance. Even though if you’re not living in a lavish life, but you are loved, supported, and valued by the people around you. The Empress is reminding you to stay connected to your gratitude and always remain appreciative of the abundance in your life.
Present: The Lovers
The Lovers card means ” love and relationships”. The Lovers is a good card to draw in the present position. Since you are loved and valued by the people around you there is no doubt that you have a strong and healthy relationship with your significant other or maybe with your families or friends. The card also means “choice”. Think about the conflicts within your life and how best to work towards your priorities. For once, consider your emotions on an equal level to your logical thought. If your relationship isn’t going well, don’t give up. Things might be more trivial than they seem, and you shouldn’t over-react to what is simply a minor issue. Have some time alone before confronting your partner, or maybe your friends and families.
Future: Ace of Swords
The Ace of Swords card means “breakthrough, clarity, and truth”. The Ace of Swords in the future position can suggest a strong potential outcome, a life you are happy with if you’re willing to work for it. But don’t rush it just take it slow because it will into your way and you learn something as you go. In love, this card means that Communication with your partner and discussing important issues at the moment can be rewarding for you. You should pay particular attention to facing problems or obstacles in your relationship with clarity and honesty. You may be able to find that confronting these issues can lead to greater harmony and understanding between you two. Though sometimes discussions can become heated, it is more important to speak about them instead of sweeping them under the rug. In the long term, by learning these communication skills your relationship becomes stronger. The Ace of Swords tarot love meaning can also be encouragement for you to cut out toxic people or attitudes in your love life.
This is my interpretation to your card. I hoped that I helped you to find the meaning of your card. But always remember, this not yet set into stone because the universe is constantly changing so it may or may not be change as we move forward. You are still the one who controls the way of your life this interpretation of your card is merely a guidance for you. May you have a wonderful day. LOVE AND LIGHT!
Past: The Fool
Present: King of Cups
Future: Seven of Swords
Six of swords
Ten of cups
What is the meaning
I did the spread for my self in terms of what I need to now
Past – knights of pentacles
Present – 6 of chalices
Future – the wheel of fortune
Please help me interpret
Do you talk about the best way to shuffle the cards . I found your audio download very good but you don’t mention if the card you pick is upright or reversed . I also can’t find were you mention on the three card past present and future reading what to do if the card is reversed or upright ,in your demonstration all cards were upright but what if one or two of the cards are reversed. I live in Australia .
i’m still new to tarot so i always have to search up the meaning of them and examples! most websites tell u what they mean reversed. after u read thru the meanings and stuff u can kinda just piece it all together and take what resonates. for example if the middle card (present) is reversed (lets say it’s the lovers reversed) it could mean that currently/recently you’ve struggled with communication with those close with u or you could have grown distant from someone. it could also mean that you’re struggling with inner conflict.
Past reversed nine of swords
Present reversed three of cups
Future reversed four of cups.
I’m worried…they are all reversed.
It’s nothing to worry, rather reversed cards are used often to find issues or problems that occurred, in this case, what had happened in the future, present, and past. Such as the nine of swords means you felt actual or maybe imagined pain that occurred in the past if you interpret the lying man crying. Three of cups means your social circle or friendship if upright, reverse means you currently prefer isolation or perhaps in need of time to yourself. This isn’t necessarily an issue, but blatantly ignoring any gatherings or events may cost you a special moment in your social circle, or friendship. (you may interpret it as either a need or warning). For your future, this one is something to look forward to since the up-right meaning is ignorance, reluctance, reversal means your accepting the offers of the universe, or bluntly put, accepting something in the nearby future. It can also mean to open up to new possibilities or even relationships. It could even mean to come into realization.
I’m very new to all of this but I find it all very fascinating… I also have no clue what anything really means when put together, so if anyone could help me interpret my reading that would be great.
Past: Wheel of Fortune
Present: Wheel of Fortune
Please help me to understand this spread I’m going through some very shaky situation n my love life and sometimes I wanna let go and other I want to hold on sometimes I want him to feel the same hurt that he did to me I just need a little clarification
Hi my name is Moon Carver and I will try my best to interpret your card. ?
The Sun card is a positive card it represents “happiness”. You are bringing joy to those around you because you brought happiness with you wherever you went. People were attracted to you because of this and it made you admired and respected by many. Your optimism and joy have brought you to the place you are today, so be sure to keep these qualities with you as you move forward in life! When it comes to love, the meaning of the card is much the same. There is happiness, and fulfillment in this card. Your relationship can be blossoming under this light, bringing the two of you closer together as you enjoy life’s blessings.
Present: Wheel of Fortune
This card represents “change”. Life is full with unexpected changes and in love there is no difference. The Wheel of Fortune tarot love meaning can signal great changes in your relationship and adjustments may have to be made. The commitment you have with your partner may be tested now, and both of you may have to put in some effort or sacrifice in order to remain together. It is important to understand that whether the changes are positive or negative, they are not forever, for the wheel is always turning.
This card represents “honesty and integrity”. Stay balanced and listen to both sides of the story when a major decision comes your way in the near future. Make the effort to really understand the facts and weigh all options carefully. Everything you have been working toward is about to come to head, and if you have been acting in good faith, Justice is going to reward you. When it comes to love Justice is about karma, and if you’ve been putting forth the effort, love and romance will be coming your way. If you’ve been kind, loving and supportive, your relationships will be a mirror of what you’ve been giving to others.
This card is also all about the law of cause and effect, make sure you have been treating your partner fairly. Watch out for resentment and defensiveness, and ensure that conflicts in your relationships are handled with respect and trust in your other half. Compromise and understanding is needed now. Sometimes this card is also about being tactful, and expressing your frustrations in a way that are mindful of your partner’s feelings. As long as issues hare handled with honesty and good faith, your relationship will thrive.
This is my interpretation to your card. I hoped that I helped you to find the meaning of your card. But always remember, this not yet set into stone because the universe is constantly changing so it may or may not be change as we move forward. You are still the one who controls the way of your life, this interpretation of your card is merely a guidance for you. May you have a wonderful day. LOVE AND LIGHT!
Can you help me interpret my spread? It’s the first one I’ve ever done
Past: The Emperor
Present: The Star
Future: 2 of Pentacles
Present : up right 8 of cups
Past: reversed queen of cups
Future : reverse 10 of cups
Can u tell me what this means pls
I think that it’s saying that there was a bad friend mother-in-law a person in her life and she’s afraid to move on but everything is going to be okay in the future a bad person is going to come back she just needs to keep her eyes open
Past- upside down: The Moon
Present- upside down: The Emperor
Future- upside down: The Star
What does this mean?
Past 9 of cups
Present king of cups
What does this mean together ?
Here are the cards I received in this order:
Past: Three of Wands (Reversed)
Present: Hierophant (Upright)
Future: The Devil (Upright)
I did a 3 card Past Present Future spread for my relationship and got the following:
Past – The World
Present – 3 of Pentacles
Future – Judgement (Reversed)
Any insight would be appreciated x
Not Judgement reveresed sorry, it was Justice Reveresed
I did a love reading for past-present-future. Can someone help me understand what it means?
Past – Seven of swords
Present – High Priestess
Future – Ten of swords
Past- the magician
Present- the fool
Future- ix of pentacles
3 of cups,Queen of wands and 7 of wands
I pulled 3 cards for a 3 card spread and I’m a bit confused can someone help me
5 of Wands
Knight of cups
What do these cards mean
I’m female 41 years old
Ace of Wands reversed
The empress reversed
Page of pentacles reversed
Past – strength
Present – tower
Future – hierophant
kate, i’ve been doing readings for 10 years, this is simple…
the querent was in charge and could have created any result they wanted, but made the wrong choice and is now so unhappy that they are thinking of walking away, what they want is being in charge and real love – and a woman
– you can’t ignore that it’s a Queen and a person vs just the energy of the card.
i do mini readings only – usually for millennials. Court cards require knowing if the querent is male or female – then that makes all the difference in the reading. No?
My reading past future present. Past queen of swords, future five of pentacles, present upside down two of wands. I need help understand my reading plz help
The Magician (reversed)
The Chariot (reversed)
Present-Knight of Cups
Future-Queen of cups
What does this mean
A person just did a past present and future reading for me but I would like a little extra help understanding it if you could help
First she said a card that kept coming up while shuffling was the Ace of cups she felt this significant to tell me
Past card was The Justice card
Present card was 3 Of Cups Future card was Son Of Wands
Any help with a better understanding would be appreciated please and thank you
IV if Wands Past
Ace of Pentacles Present
Knight of Wands Future
What does it mean on my situation right now as far as creativity, work wealth etc
When doing the three card past present and future spread… should I cut the deck into three piles first before revealing each card or rather take three cards straight from the full single deck?
You can do either Emma, it’s totally up to you!
King of cups in past i think its my energy
4 of wands present
2 of cups for future
Little help please
King of Cups in your past I think is a caring person in your past, maybe your father or somebody mature that led you to your present situation (4 of cups) of celebration and being happy and fulfilled. The celebration may also be a factor in your near future of finding/being in a loving and harmonious relationship or partnership. It may be romantic, family or career/business partnership.
I have just given myself my first reading using this spread.. I have come up with my version of events (so to speak) but would love to hear others veiws to see if I’m on the right track ????
The cards I drew were..
1. Past – 10 of swords
2. Present – The Empress reversed
3. Future – The Devil reversed
Also.. I do read reversals just to make life complicated
Past present and future reading
I’m trying to get my tarot skills back
Present-knight Of cups
Future-10 of swords
Can’t get my head round it x
im still learning the meanings to all the cards but did a quick reading ion myself and drew them in this order
past 8 of swords
present the hierophant
future 5 of pentacle
I see this spread as telling a story about feeling mentally stuck, not feeling you can move forward, maybe not feeling you are entitled to express your opinion. There may have been people in your life who gave you this message,, yet you have accepted some of these mental limitations as your own. The hierophant card seems to be saying that you have spiritual protection and guidance, possibly from a male mentor or spirit guide and some traditional spiritual values that are healing and supportive. The five of wands is saying to me that you are moving in the direction of expressing your opinion and not being afraid to go out in the world and fight for what you want.
Please settle a debate my friends are currently having..
What tarot card represents “gambling” ?..
not after a reading about me gambling.. I’m after your technical knowledge..
Which tarot card best indicates ‘Gambling/lottery” type of thing?…
Your expert opinion will weigh very heavily within our group discussion..
My mind jumps to the Wheel of Fortune. That’s my best answer. What cards did you guys come up with?
yes Wheel of fortune is included..
WF_?_? => luck..
for 3-card layout… it’s the other 2 cards I’m after..
Hi I got my cards out for the first time in years and did a 3 card spread for myself.
Past- 5of pentacle
Present- 5of cups
Future- 5of wands
I’ve been discussing it with my work colleague who is also relearning tarot, and the three 5 cards have got us stumped, because that can’t just be a coincidence surely!
Help would be much appreciated!
Mine did the same thing but I had cups in all the of mine. I would surely think it means something
I’m looking for a spread that I can use for guidance on specific topics. I’m not quite ready for the Celtic cross. Would this spread be a good option for a specific question?
I hear you – the Celtic Cross is probably my least favorite spread for a specific question.
I would use this past/present/future spread, but modify it a bit, depending on your question.
I like to substitute “what I need to let go of” for the “past” card, and “action I need to take” in the “future” position.
Thanks for the tips! Your insights are always appreciated.
Thank yall for asking and answering the questions. I am feeling drawn to do readings and I am greenish. These informative threads are so helpful.
Hi, I just wanted to ask, is there a right kind of deck I should look out for? I got mine at a store called half priced books and my boyfriend said that I got the kind you “play” tarot with. Like a card game. I have looked it up and there is a card game but i am not sure if i can use this deck or if i should just go to an actual store and get them. Please help me! Im so confused right now. The deck says it was illustrated like a Marseilles Tarot Deck. Hope that last bit helped in telling me what kind of deck i have.
Don’t worry, you didn’t get the wrong kind of deck. You probably have a pip deck – which is a Tarot deck whose minor arcana cards are not fully illustrated, meaning the minors look similar to a playing card deck. These kind of decks are much harder to learn on than a Rider-Waite style deck, which is a fully illustrated deck (there are scenes on all the cards). If you are serious about learning Tarot i would get the Rider Waite Deck. Keep the deck you’ve got though, it’s not bad it’s just harder to learn with.
Hope that helps!
So glad I found this information! I just learning the art of Tarot cards and now know how to read them this way.
I recently found your site and am enjoying it. I have a generic question and one that’s probably been asked a million times. I’ve been dabbling in Tarot off and on for years and have, for the last month or so, been getting serious about it. I have used the Connolly Deck for all of this time and recently bought the Ryder-Waite deck that I’m only beginning to look at. However, the cards in the readings and interpretations that you’ve done on video for demo’s using the R-W deck are vastly different than my deck. How do I integrate the two without having to start all over? I’m also using a book called “Choice Centered Tarot” and I think that the way they describe the implication of the number on the cards may have something to do with why the decks may seem so different. Help?
hello, i am a beginner in reading cards would u say that to begin learning that i dont look at the meaning or interpretations of the cards that someone else wrote and that i should use the “insight” that i get from the cards. basically i am asking should i use my own understanding of a card or should i use one from another reader.
Rebecca, I think it’s best to use your own understanding first. Hearing other’s ideas about cards can be helpful, but it shouldn’t supercede your own ideas!
Good luck 🙂
Hi, I was just wondering if there was an app or a program that helps interpret a card spread. I’m just starting out with tarot and getting used to the cards for a few months now but I’m still a bit fuzzy. I did a 3 card spread today for myself and for some reason the cards I got kinda scared or worried me and I don’t know why. I got these in that order..
Knight of Swords Knight of Wands Ace of Swords
I’ve looked up the generic meanings, but just something about having 2 knights and 2 swords in a 3 card spread worries me. Any insight would be appreciated.
I’m not aware of any apps but I’m not the person to ask – I’m not very techy. Have you googled it?
That is not a bad card combo at all, so don’t be worried.
If you want me to do an interpretation for you, please order one here: https://daily-tarot-girl.com/work-with-me/tarot-interpretations/
Otherwise, I suggest you check out these articles which may help you with your interpretation: https://daily-tarot-girl.com/learn-tarot/court-cards-learn-them-once-and-for-all/ and https://daily-tarot-girl.com/2013/05/04/when-your-tarot-reading-makes-no-fking-sense/
Hello there, I had a quick question regarding reversed cards. Do you recognize it in a three card spread? All of mine were upside down and when I looked almost my whole deck is upside down. Should I set them all right side up like they were when I first got the deck? I Am a beginner, any tips will be greatly appreciated!
I don’t read reversed cards, so I just make sure I keep them upright. If your a beginner I definitely wouldn’t recommend reading reversals – it just complicates things. But if you would like to learn a little about reversals, here’s an article I wrote: https://daily-tarot-girl.com/2013/06/29/how-to-read-tarot-cards-reversed/
The reversed and upright cards have different meanings, which are mostly opposite of one another. But, as a tarot reader, it is your choice whether you want to consider the reversed cards… from my 6 years of professional tarot reading, I always have considered the upright card meanings.
Further, since you mentioned that the whole deck was upside down … there is no harm in making them upright and considering the upright meanings as your readings.
Another solution for you will be to draw the cards again … by keeping the cards upright and then in case the reversed cards come out .. consider the reversed meaning
Hope this helped
A while ago my mother bought a mind body and soul kit for herself in upgrading she has passed the set onto me. I would like to learn to read the cards properly to understand what they potentionally mean in using your step guide I have landed with a few really strange cards and numbers I am uncertain what they mean do you have anything on these that I may read up on to understand?
I am unfamiliar with the mind body soul kit – are they Tarot cards? or Oracle cards? Do they come with a guidebook or anything?
Hi, I am watching your past, present, future reading demo. You didn’t mention if you would use this spread using ALL the cards, or just the minor arcana, etc.
I am a beginner and so far have just been using the major arcana and doing a cross spread.
What do you recommend as far as using spreads that only use certain cards in the deck vs. using spreads that use ALL cards in the deck.
Thanks for your time!
When I do a reading, I always use all the cards in the deck.
However, when I was learning, I did readings with the Majors only, or the Court Cards only, in order to get comfortable reading those cards. So it is really up to you how you want to do a reading.
I prefer using all the cards for a reading, but for learning purposes, its helpful to read with certain cards.
Hope that helps 🙂
I would like to know Yes/No spread.
Please can you guide me in detail.
My reading/conversation with my Deck – Past, Present, Future:
*Deck (PAST): Ace of Wands – “BOOM went the dynamite! You made some bold moves/changes in finally deciding to write your life story the way YOU WANT.”
Me: Yah! No more comments from the peanut gallery! 😛
It felt sooo good to finally stand up for myself & let go of my fears. I finally had the courage to say, “P*** off – you do You, and Imma do ME” 🙂
*Deck (PRESENT): Ace of Pentacles – “GET IT GIRL!!! It’s all gravy, baby!”
Me: Is this what people mean when they say “make it rain”? (dollar bills hahahaha) I’m guessing 2 Aces in a reading is friggin’ awesome?! It feels pretty awesome… 🙂
*Deck (FUTURE): 7 of Pentacles – “Stop and smell the roses, cause the roses are a bloomin’ ALL AROUND YOU….. It’s ALL good :-)”
Me: Lucky number 7! First thing to pop in my head! Weeeee! I wanna do a cartwheel!!! 🙂
🙂 Roses for everyone!!! 🙂
I would like to learn a simple 3 or 5 card Yes/No Spread
I use this spread for yes/no. It is a five card spread, and it works very well for me. Lay the card out like this:
1 4 2
Card 1 and 2 represent the heart of the matter. Card nr. 3 is the past, Card 4 is how things are now and it will give the yes/no answer together with card no.5 wich is the future. I hope you understand my explanations,as English is not my everyday language.
The layout came out all wrong. 🙂 Card 3,4 and 5 are laying in a straight line under each other. Card nr 1 is placed to the left of card 4 and card 2 to the right. 🙂
Thank you for sharing this spread, Mariann. I just tried it and it worked beautifully!