3 Simple Tarot Spread Layouts for Beginners

You’ve got your beautiful deck of tarot cards and you’re excited to get started reading the tarot. But it’s daunting, right?

After all, there are literally thousands of tarot spreads, ranging from a simple 3 card spread all the way up to intricate spreads that advanced tarot readers use. And to add to the complexity, the relationship between cards in a spread can get very intricate and even complex, depending on factors such as whether the card is reversed or upright.

So what spread should you, a tarot beginner, use?

The First Tarot Spread You Should Do

When you’re first getting started with the tarot, the most important thing you need to do is familiarize yourself with your cards, starting with the Major Arcana meanings.

The following daily exercise will help you do this:

  • Arrange all the Major Arcana cards in a pile and shuffle them
  • Ask the question “What Do I Need to Know About Today?”
  • Pick one Major Arcana card
  • Look up the meaning here
  • Take some time to reflect upon what the card might mean for you

You’ve just done your first, very simple, tarot spread! Continue to do this every day to familiarize yourself with all of the cards of the Major Arcana improve your intuition.

simple 3 card tarot spread

Simple 3 Card Tarot Spread

A basic three card spread is simple, useful and a great way to get a feel for reading the tarot. Here are the steps to conduct a three card spread:

First, shuffle your cards.

Next, focus on your question. (Remember, the tarot won’t give you a “yes” or “no” answer. Instead, they offer guidance, which is why it’s important to familiarize yourself with the meaning of each card. This is why doing the daily single card spread as outlined above is recommended.)

Pick one of the cards and place it in front of you. This card represents the “present situation” in relation to the question you asked.

Now choose another card and lay it to the left of the first card.

This card represents the past in relation to the question you asked. Keep in mind the past could be the day before or even the night before. It does not necessarily mean “years ago.” This card connects you to the present situation or middle card.

Next, choose your third card and lay it to the right of the middle card. This is the future or outcome related to the question you asked. As with the past, keep in mind that the future can be as close as later that evening, as well. It doesn’t necessarily mean a year from now (although it can mean that.)

Simple 4 Card Cross Tarot Spread

Now we’re going to perform a simple 4 card cross tarot spread.

Start by shuffling your cards.

Now, focus on your question.

Choose four cards and place them face-down on the table in front of you, spread horizontally.

Now, flip the first card (on the left) over.

This card represents the past.

The next card represents the present.

The third card represents the future.

The final card represents the probable outcome of your question, based on your current circumstances. Remember, your future is not set in stone. You have the ability to change your future and create your desired reality.

As you can see, while tarot spreads can get complex, there are many simple tarot spreads for beginners that will allow you to familiarize yourself with the meaning of each tarot card, while improving your intuition and increasing your confidence.

The most important thing to remember while you’re learning how to read the tarot (or mastering any skill) is to practice regularly – the more you work with tarot cards, the more comfortable you will start to feel. Eventually, you’ll be able to start experimenting with more complex spreads.

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Resources related to “Tarot Spread Layouts for Beginners”

3 Easy Tarot Card Spreads for Beginners
About Dawn

I'm a lifelong spiritual seeker who has spent over 25 years studying numerology, spirituality, the Law of Attraction and the secrets of the universe. One of my greatest passions is helping people awaken their spirit, connect to their higher self and learn how to co-create with the universe. I also love spending time in nature, swimming in the ocean, reading and being with my family.

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