Three Card Tarot Spread For Self-Care

Explore these different three card Tarot spreads, all with the aim of aiding you with your own self-care.

Over the years, tarot reading has been turned into a bit of a gimmick and many have forgotten the real benefit of having these tools at our disposal. Even just a simple and easy 3 card tarot spread can be used in a healthy self care routine.

WORDS: Cat Crawford

IMAGES: Jen Theodore 


A 3 card reading is perfect for complete tarot beginners and those not looking to learn how to do full readings, but need a little spiritual support. I often do a 3 card reading on a Sunday as part of a bigger self care routine.

The cards allow me to reflect, assess and plan. Reflecting on the week that has just been, assess where I am in that present moment and plan for what I need to focus on in the week ahead. I find it is a great way to check in with my emotions, process everything that has happened and pick up on any details that I may have missed by not being ‘in the moment’.

There are a few ways you can structure a 3 card tarot reading, so below I’ve pulled together 3 different structures that you can use regularly, to better take care of your mental and emotional wellbeing.

Don’t forget to cleanse your cards before starting. If you don’t know how to cleanse your tarot cards, make sure you check out my blog posts on how to do just that!

Past, Present & Future - Three Card Tarot Spread For Self-Care

The most common 3 card tarot reading is the traditional, Past, Present and Future structure. In this spread, you’ll use the cards to reflect on the past, assess the present and plan for the future.

Read the cards from left to right and be aware of any major arcana cards that might pop up, as these will set the tone for the whole reading. For example, if you get The Lovers card, then the reading will probably centre around your romantic or self love. If The Fool tarot card appears, the reading may suggest that it is time for something new or a new adventure is on the horizon.

If you are doing this reading every week, the Past card will refer to the week just gone and the Future will refer to the week ahead. Don’t try to read too far in the past or see too far into the future, as it starts to become too complex and you won’t get as much benefit from your reading.

  • Past Card – This card helps you to look back at the previous week and understand any lessons you learned, any complex or strong emotions you may have felt or something you’ve worked through. When moving on to the Present and Future cards, always keep in mind this card, as it is a huge influence moving forward.


  • Present Card – This card allows you to look inwards and assess your emotional and mental wellbeing in the present moment. It has probably been effected by the events that are shown in the Past card. For example if you get the Seven of Wands in the Past position, and the Ten of Swords in the Present position, it indicates that you have battled through something in the previous week that is currently causing you burnout and in need of rest.


  • Future Card – The Future card indicates what is possible or what you need to focus on in the coming week. The Future card is never set in stone, it is here to show you how things could turn out if you listen to the warnings and follow the advice of the Past and Present cards. If we use the above example of the Seven of Wands and Ten of Swords, we may get a card such as the Four of Swords, which indicates that we need to spend the next week resting and recovering from this difficult time and assess why this was such a struggle for us.

Past, Present and Future Tarot Reading Spread

Subconscious, Conscious & Higher Consciousness - Three Card Tarot Spread For Self-Care

Three Card Tarot Reading Spread for Mindset

f you’re looking for something that allows you to tap into your spiritual self-care and delve a little deeper inwards, then this structure may be a better option.

The Subconscious, Conscious and Higher Conscious tarot spread allows you to spend time in your own head and really work through your thoughts and how your emotions may be effected by your thinking.

  • Subconscious – The subconscious is the wizard behind the curtain, it controls a lot of how we think, feel and even act. A card in this position is a window into your deepest thoughts and feelings, that you may not have even been aware of. For example, if you received the Three of Swords, you may have a deep need for a companion or someone to confide in. This is very common, especially amongst those that are not comfortable being vulnerable or asking for help when they need it.


  • Conscious – The Conscious card represents the thoughts and feelings you are aware of. These can be recurring thoughts or fears that you’ve been having in the past week that have been holding you back. The conscious thoughts are heavily influenced by the subconscious, so if you look carefully at the Subconscious card, it can help you to better understand why you may be having those thoughts or feelings in the here and now. It is figuring out the connection between this card and the Subconscious card that makes this structure so valuable.


  • Higher Conscious – The Higher Conscious card is what you already know, but a concept you probably haven’t completely grasped or accepted yet. Once you’ve understood the root cause of your current thoughts from looking at the Conscious and Subconscious cards, you can use your findings to better understand the Higher Conscious card. This card is your ‘truth’ and it is often kept from you because of negative or self depreciating thoughts causing a mental block.

Release, Begin and Sustain - Three Card Tarot Spread For Self-Care

Another beneficial way of using a 3 card tarot reading for self care, is by assessing negative behaviours and patterns. This is where the Release, Begin and Sustain structure comes in handy. It helps you identify the things that are not serving you, what is working for you and what you need to leave behind in the past.

  • Release – This card will indicate something you need to leave behind in the week that has gone by. It could be a thought, a feeling, a habit or even a person.


  • Begin – The Begin card tells you of something that you need to start in the week about to begin. This is usually something you’ve already been thinking about or have been too scared to dive into.


  • Sustain – The Sustain card shows you something you are already doing that you need to keep up with. We are always so obsessed with progress and trying something new and exciting, that we often overlook the good habits we already have. This is a good point to reflect on how far you’ve come and the things you’ve done that have really benefited you up to this point. These are the things you need to keep up with moving forward.

Three Card Tarot Spread For Releasing

Using All Three Spreads Together As One - Nine Card Tarot Spread

The Ultimate Self-Care Tarot Spread

If you’re feeling confident, you can combine them all together to create one mega 9 card reading! This can be done weekly to give you a full in-depth review of your weeks, or once a month to do one mega check-in with yourself.

Combining these 3 structures means that you get insight into your thoughts (with the Subconscious, Conscious & Higher Conscious cards), your feelings (with the Past, Present & Future cards) and your actions (with the Release, Begin and Sustain cards).

Combine all of the meanings from all the other positions from those previous spreads. This gives you what I am calling the ‘Ultimate Tarot Spread for Self-Care’. 

This will tell you everything you need to know about how you can take care of yourself in the best possible way right now!

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