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In professional tarot reading, I like to use larger tarot spreads in order to get a more complete picture. But I also like to use small tarot spreads, too. A small spread can be only one, two or three cards.

There are a few reasons smalls spreads are helpful. First, if you are a new reader, small spreads will give you practice, and opportunity to learn the cards in action, without overwhelming you. Second, if you have only a short time in which to perform a divination, a small spread can give you the information you need quickly. Third, you can use a small spread, or many small spreads, as part of a longer comprehensive reading.

Here are some ideas for working with small spreads. These might be especially helpful to new readers, or readers interested in developing some helpful new techniques.

Interpreting Cards in Small Spreads

If you are a new reader, or a looking to get a new perspective on card reading, ask yourself these questions about each card you interpret.

  • How does the card make me feel?

  • What do I see in the image?

  • What do I know about the card?

  • What are the traditional interpretations (check books, class materials, Google)?

One-Card Readings

While a single-card pull can’t always give all the information you might want, pulling a single card in answer to a question can be a great way to check in with the Universe. Single card readings can also lead to dialogues with the cards which can provide a great deal of information.

For one-card readings, ask a specific question that is open-ended.

“What do I need to know about my job?”

“How should I prepare for my trip?”

“How can I best support my friend?”

When Interpreting Spreads of more than one care, you have the opportunity to see how the cards combine and influence each other, Consider:

What do the cards have in common, and what does that tell you?

How do the cards contrast, and what does that tell you?

Two-Card Spreads

Here are some two-card spreads to try.

  • Help and Hinder: How would a particular situation or solution help me, and how would it hinder me?

  • Either/Or: What do I need to know about my options?

  • Partnership (Why are we in each other’s lives?)

Three-Card Spreads

Here are some three-card spreads to try.

  • Past/Present/Future

  • Morning/Afternoon/Evening

  • Body/Mind/Spirit

  • Relationship

When performing small spreads, be specific about your questions.

 A simple Past/Present/Future reading will make more sense if you give it specific questions, such as:

  • What has been my spiritual purpose in the past, in the present, and what will it be in the future?
  • What lessons did I learn in the past, what lessons am I learning now, and what will I learn in the future?
  • What was my greatest asset in the past, what is it now, and what will it be in the future?
  • What was my biggest challenge in the past, what is it now, and what will it be in the future?

The Body/Mind/Spirit Reading works better like this:

  • What must I do to better support my body, mind and spirit?
  • What are my biggest concerns regarding my body, mind and spirit?
  • What is the greatest strength of my body, mind and spirit?

Daily practice with small spreads will give your tarot skills a lot of versatility and flexibility. Adding small spreads to your reading style will allow you the opportunity to produce a great deal of helpful information each time you consult the cards.