Difficulties You Might Encounter While Reading Past-Present-Future Tarot Spread and How to Overcome Them

Tarot cards have long been used as a method of divination, providing insight into our past, present, and future. One of the most commonly used spreads is the Past-Present-Future spread, which offers a glimpse into the timeline of events in our lives. However, interpreting the cards in this spread can be a challenging task, even for seasoned tarot readers. The symbolism and meanings of each card must be carefully analyzed and combined to create a cohesive narrative that makes sense. In this article, we will explore some of the difficulties that arise when interpreting the Past-Present-Future spread and offer tips on how to overcome them.

Difficulties in Past-Present-Future Spread

Difficulties In Past-Present-Future Spread
When it comes to Tarot readings, the Past-Present-Future spread is one of the most popular layouts used by many readers. This spread offers an in-depth insight into one’s life by revealing the past, current situation, and future possibilities. However, it’s not uncommon for readers to experience certain difficulties while interpreting the cards in this spread. These difficulties can make the reading confusing and overwhelming, leaving the seeker feeling lost and uncertain. In the following sections, we will explore some of the common struggles that readers face and discuss ways to overcome them. So, if you want to improve your skills in interpreting the Past-Present-Future spread, read on or check out our article on different variants of this spread or tips for successful Tarot reading.

1. Difficulty in identifying the Present Card

One of the common difficulties readers often face when interpreting the Past-Present-Future (PPF) Tarot spread is identifying the present card. As the spread suggests, the present card is the central card that connects the past and future, and it plays a crucial role in understanding the querent’s current situation. However, with so many different cards in the Tarot deck, it can be challenging to pinpoint which card represents the present moment.

To overcome this issue, there are a few things you can do. Firstly, it’s essential to have a clear understanding of the question or situation you’re exploring. Clarity in the intent of the spread can help provide context for which card represents the present. Secondly, pay close attention to any intuitive feelings or sensations you experience while shuffling or drawing cards from the deck. These sensations could point to the present card, and trusting your intuition can help you uncover hidden insights.

Another effective way to identify the present card is to analyze the card layout. Look at the position of each card and their relationship to one another. For instance, the card on the left signifies the past, and the card on the right indicates the future. So the middle card naturally represents the present. However, in some cases, the layout might vary slightly, so it’s crucial to analyze the card positions to deduce which one represents the present.

Ultimately, identifying the present card requires a combination of intuition, context, and analysis. By combining these facets, you should be able to get closer to discovering which card signifies the present moment. Remember to take your time, trust your instincts, and remain focused on the question before you.

The Past-Present-Future Tarot Spread is a valuable tool that can offer deep insight into a querent’s life. While it has its challenges, with patience and practice, you can overcome them and experience the incredible benefits of the spread.

2. Multiple interpretations of the Future Card

When it comes to the future card in a past-present-future tarot spread, its meaning can be challenging to interpret. This is because the future is always subjected to change depending on the choices we make in the present. As a result, the future card can have multiple interpretations, making it difficult to pinpoint a specific outcome.

Here are some examples of how the future card can be interpreted:

Interpretation Explanation
Literal interpretation Interpreting the future card as a precise prediction of what will happen in the future.
Probable interpretation Viewing the future card as a forecast of what could happen if the present circumstances continue.
Advice interpretation Interpreting the future card as guidance on what actions to take or avoid to achieve a desirable outcome.
Symbolic interpretation Viewing the future card as a symbolic representation of the energies, influences or themes that will be present in the future.

It can be challenging to determine which interpretation is the most relevant and accurate. However, it’s essential to consider the context of the spread and the specific question asked. For example, if the question is about a potential job opportunity, the future card could represent the outcome of that opportunity. On the other hand, if the question is about personal growth, the future card could represent personal development and spiritual growth.

So, how can you overcome the difficulties in interpreting the future card?

It’s important to remember that the future is not set in stone, and the tarot serves as a guide, not a definitive answer. Here are some tips to help you gain clarity and insight:

– Focus on the present: Instead of fixating on the future, focus on the present moment and the energies and opportunities available to you right now. The choices you make in the present will shape your future.

– Trust your intuition: Pay attention to your inner voice, and let it guide you in understanding the future card’s meaning. Everyone has a unique interpretation and relationship with the tarot.

– Consider the card layout: Look at the cards’ positions in the spread, such as the card’s placement in relation to the past and present cards. The position can provide clues to the interpretation.

By following these tips and trusting your intuition, you can overcome the difficulties in interpreting the future card and gain valuable insights into your life’s journey.

If you’re interested in learning more about the past-present-future tarot spread, check out our guide on how to perform a past-present-future tarot spread.

3. Combining the past, present, and future in a narrative

One of the main difficulties in interpreting a Past-Present-Future Tarot Spread is the challenge of combining the cards in a cohesive narrative. It can be overwhelming to try to interpret the past, present, and future all at once, and it can be confusing to see how the cards relate to each other. Here are some tips to help overcome these struggles:

  • Look for common themes: As you analyze each card, look for common themes that run through all three cards. For example, if all three cards have a water element, this could indicate a strong emotional undercurrent to the narrative.
  • Identify cause and effect: Pay attention to how each card may have influenced the one that follows it. Try to identify a cause-and-effect relationship between the cards. For example, if the past card is the Eight of Swords and the present card is the Five of Pentacles, you could interpret this as a situation where the past limitations and fears (Eight of Swords) have led to current financial struggles (Five of Pentacles).
  • Examine the cards as a whole: Don’t get too caught up in the individual meanings of each card. Step back and look at the narrative as a whole. What story do the cards tell when you put them together? This might give you a more holistic understanding of the spread.
  • Consider the flow of time: Keep in mind that this is a Past-Present-Future spread, so there is a natural flow of time to the narrative. Use this to your advantage when interpreting the cards. For example, if the past card is the Three of Swords (heartbreak and pain) and the future card is the Nine of Cups (satisfaction and contentment), you could interpret this as a journey from pain to happiness.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification: If you’re still struggling to combine the past, present, and future cards, don’t be afraid to ask for clarification. Pull additional cards to help shed light on the situation, or consult a Tarot guidebook to get more insight into the cards’ meanings.

Combining the past, present, and future in a narrative can be challenging, but by carefully analyzing each card and looking for common themes and cause-and-effect relationships, you can begin to piece together a cohesive story that offers insight and guidance.

Tips to Overcome the Struggles

As we have seen in the previous section, the Past-Present-Future Tarot Spread can be quite challenging, and it is not uncommon to encounter difficulties while interpreting the cards in this layout. However, with a little bit of practice and the right approach, these struggles can be overcome. In this section, we will explore some useful tips that can help you read the Past-Present-Future Spread more accurately and confidently. By applying these strategies, you can enhance your abilities to comprehend the subtle messages of the Tarot cards and gain greater insight into your life’s journey. Let’s dive in and see how you can improve your Tarot reading skills!

1. Clarify the Intent of the Spread

When faced with difficulties in understanding the Past-Present-Future Tarot spread, the first step towards overcoming them is clarifying the intent of the spread. This means taking a moment to reflect and ask oneself what the purpose of the spread is, and what questions need to be answered. It is important to be specific about the questions and intentions, as this will help set the tone for the rest of the reading.

One way to clarify the intent of the spread is by using a table to organize and articulate the questions that need to be answered. Below is an example of how this could be done:

Position Question to be Answered
Past What past events have led to the current situation?
Present What is the current situation?
Future What is the potential outcome, given the current situation and events that have led up to it?

Once the intent of the spread is clear, it will be easier to focus on the specific cards and their meanings that relate to each position. This will help in making connections and understanding the narrative that emerges from the reading.

It is important to note that the intent of the spread can vary depending on the individual or situation. For example, someone may be seeking guidance on a specific decision, while another may be seeking clarity on a relationship. Clarifying the intent of the spread will ultimately help in tailoring the reading to the specific needs and questions at hand.

2. Look Beyond the Traditional Meanings of Cards

One way to overcome the struggles in a past-present-future spread is to look beyond the traditional meanings of the cards. Often, tarot cards hold multiple meanings, and their interpretation may vary depending on the context and layout of the spread. By exploring these multiple meanings, the reader can gain a deeper understanding of the situation at hand and offer more personalized and nuanced insights to the querent.

Here are some tips on how to look beyond the traditional meanings of cards:

Tip Explanation
1. Explore Symbolism: Each card in a tarot deck is rich in symbolism and can hold different meanings based on the imagery. For instance, the Death card is not just a sign of physical death but also represents transformation and rebirth. Exploring the symbolism of the card can help you unearth hidden meanings and offer fresh insights to the querent.
2. Consider the Card’s Position: The position of the card in the spread can greatly impact its meaning. For example, if the future card is placed in a position indicating unexpected change, it might suggest that the change could be negative rather than positive. Paying attention to the card’s location can help you fine-tune your interpretation.
3. Use Your Intuition: Ultimately, intuition is an essential part of tarot reading. You should always trust your gut feeling when interpreting cards. By letting your intuition guide you, you can develop a deeper connection with the cards and gain more insights into the querent’s situation.
4. Find Personal Associations: While traditional meanings are a great place to start, your personal associations with the card can also offer valuable insights. For instance, if you have a strong association between the Sun card and a happy childhood memory, it might suggest a positive outcome in the future regardless of the traditional interpretation.
5. Look at the Whole Spread: Finally, it is essential to remember that each card in the spread is interconnected, and its meaning can be influenced by the surrounding cards. By considering the whole spread, you can develop a cohesive and comprehensive interpretation that incorporates all three aspects of the past-present-future spread.

By using these tips to look beyond the traditional meanings of cards, you can offer more personalized and nuanced insights in your past-present-future spread readings. These insights can help the querent gain a deeper understanding of their situation, identify potential obstacles, and develop a plan of action to achieve their desired outcome.

3. Use your Intuition and Trust Your Gut Feeling

When facing difficulties in a Past-Present-Future Tarot Spread, one of the most useful tools at one’s disposal is intuition. This inner voice can provide insight in addition to the meanings of the cards, and should not be disregarded. Trusting one’s gut feeling can be especially helpful when two or more interpretations of a particular card arise. It is essential to remember that the cards do not have a fixed meaning, and a card that appears to have a negative connotation may have a positive message for the person receiving the reading.

To fully utilize your intuition, take a few deep breaths before shuffling the cards and focus your attention on the question or situation at hand. Some find it helpful to meditate or visualize their desired outcome before drawing the cards. Once you have drawn the cards, let your intuition guide you as you lay them out and interpret their meaning. Avoid analyzing each card’s meaning too deeply and instead focus on what stands out to you the most. It is essential to establish a connection with the cards and listen to your inner voice when interpreting their messages.

Below is an html table summarizing the key points mentioned above regarding the power of intuition and learning to trust your gut feeling when interpreting a Past-Present-Future Tarot Spread:

Steps Explanation
Breathe Take a few deep breaths, visualize your desired outcome, and focus your attention on the situation at hand.
Shuffle and Lay Out Cards Listen to your intuition, shuffle the cards, lay them out, and focus on what stands out to you the most about each card.
Don’t Overanalyze Avoid analyzing each card’s meaning too deeply and instead, focus on your inner voice and the messages the cards are giving you.
Establish a Connection Connect with the cards and listen to your inner voice when interpreting their messages.

Trusting one’s intuition and gut feeling in a Past-Present-Future Tarot Spread can provide valuable insights to help overcome difficulties in the reading. By following the tips mentioned above, it is possible to build a stronger connection with the cards and learn to interpret their messages more effectively.

4. Analyze the Card Layout

When facing difficulties in reading Past-Present-Future Tarot spreads, analyzing the card layout itself can be extremely beneficial. This process involves looking closely at the position of each card and taking note of their relationships to one another. This step can help to bring clarity to the reading and help connect the story of the cards.

Here are some things to consider when analyzing the layout:

  • Position: Take note of the position of each card in the spread. The position of each card can give clues as to its significance and meaning.
  • Direction: Pay attention to the direction in which the cards are facing. Cards that face towards each other can indicate a connection and cards that face away from each other can suggest conflict or distance.
  • Elemental Association: Consider the elemental association of each card. Each Tarot card is associated with one of the four elements (Earth, Air, Fire, Water) which can provide insight into its meaning.
  • Numerology: The numbered cards in the Tarot deck can also offer insight into the reading. Each number has a unique meaning that can help to uncover the message of the cards.
  • Major vs. Minor Arcana: Look at the balance of Major and Minor Arcana cards in the spread. A spread that contains mostly Major Arcana cards can suggest an important turning point in the querent’s life.

Analyzing the card layout is a key step in understanding the message of the Tarot reading. By carefully considering the position, direction, elemental association, numerology, and balance of Major and Minor Arcana cards in the spread, readers can gain insight into the story being told by the cards.

5. Take a Step Back and Look at the Big Picture

When doing a Past-Present-Future tarot reading, it’s easy to get lost in the details of each individual card and forget to consider the overall theme of the spread. This is where it’s important to take a step back and look at the big picture. Here are some tips on how to do that:

  1. Identify the overarching themes: Instead of focusing on the individual cards, try to identify the common themes or motifs that run through them. For example, if you drew the Ten of Swords for the past, the Five of Cups for the present, and the Tower for the future, you might identify the overarching theme as “upheaval and loss.”
  2. Consider the position of the cards: Remember that each card in the spread represents a different point in time – past, present, or future. When looking at the big picture, think about how the position of each card contributes to the overall story. For example, if the past card is a Major Arcana card and the future card is a Minor Arcana card, it might suggest that the events of the past have a more profound impact on the overall outcome than the events of the future.
  3. Look for patterns and connections: Notice any patterns or connections between the cards. Are there any repeated suits, numbers, or images? Do any of the cards echo or mirror each other visually? These connections can help to reinforce the overarching theme of the spread and provide insights into how the past, present, and future are related.
  4. Consider your own intuition: Finally, don’t be afraid to trust your own intuition when looking at the big picture. Remember that the cards are simply tools for unlocking your own intuition and inner wisdom. If a particular interpretation or insight resonates strongly with you, it may be worth exploring further.

By taking a step back and looking at the big picture, you can gain a deeper understanding of the overarching themes and meanings of the Past-Present-Future tarot spread. Remember to consider the position of the cards, look for patterns and connections, and trust your own intuition. This will help you to overcome the difficulties and unlock the full potential of the spread.


After you have practiced and mastered the readings of Tarot cards, you may find that the past-present-future spread can be difficult to interpret accurately. With many possible interpretations and ways of combining the three cards, it can be challenging to arrive at a cohesive narrative that makes sense. However, with patience and a willingness to explore deeper layers of meaning, you can overcome these difficulties and gain insight into your life.

Remember to clarify the intent of the spread and focus on the core question or issue at hand. This will provide a framework for your interpretation and help you stay on track. Look beyond traditional meanings and trust your intuition – sometimes the cards may have a personal meaning that only you can understand. Analyze the card layout and the way the cards interact, but also step back and look at the big picture to gain a wider perspective.

The beauty of Tarot is that it can offer guidance and advice for all aspects of life, and the past-present-future spread is no exception. With these tips and a willingness to explore the cards on a deeper level, you can unlock the wisdom and insights that Tarot has to offer. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced reader, the past-present-future spread can provide valuable insights and guidance for navigating life’s challenges. Keep an open mind, allow creativity to guide you, and have fun exploring the mysteries of Tarot.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why do people turn to Tarot card reading?

People turn to Tarot card reading to gain insight into their personal lives, to find solutions to their problems, and to gain a sense of direction or purpose.

2. Is it necessary to have prior knowledge of Tarot to read a Past-Present-Future spread?

No, it is not necessary to have prior knowledge of Tarot to read a Past-Present-Future spread, but a basic understanding of the meanings of the cards is helpful.

3. Can the Past-Present-Future spread help me make life-changing decisions?

Yes, the Past-Present-Future spread can provide insights into your past, present, and future, allowing you to make informed decisions about your life.

4. Is there a correct way to shuffle the Tarot cards?

There is no one correct way to shuffle Tarot cards. Many people prefer to shuffle the cards multiple times while focusing on their question or intention.

5. Can Tarot card reading predict the future with complete accuracy?

No, Tarot card reading cannot predict the future with complete accuracy as the future is constantly changing based on our actions and decisions.

6. Can I ask any type of question during a Tarot card reading?

Yes, you can ask any type of question during a Tarot card reading, but it is important to approach the reading with an open mind and a willingness to receive guidance.

7. Can the outcome of a Past-Present-Future spread change?

Yes, the outcome of a Past-Present-Future spread can change based on your actions and decisions in the present and future.

8. Can I read my own Past-Present-Future spread or do I need a Tarot card reader?

You can read your own Past-Present-Future spread, but it can be helpful to have a professional Tarot card reader interpret the cards for you.

9. Can the same Tarot card have different meanings for different people?

Yes, the same Tarot card can have different meanings for different people based on their experiences, beliefs, and intuition.

10. Is Tarot card reading related to any religion or spiritual practice?

Tarot card reading is not related to any specific religion or spiritual practice, but it can be used as a tool for self-reflection and personal growth.


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