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Purposes of Premade Tarot Spreads

Many beginning Tarot readers use and learn from premade Tarot spreads.


While these can be helpful in some respects, they can also be extremely confusing and self-defeating when misunderstood.


In this article, you will learn how best to use premade Tarot spreads, and when to custom-design a Tarot spread instead.



Purposes of Premade Tarot Spreads


Premade Tarot spreads are intended for only these purposes:

1. Teaching Tarot to new readers

2. Answering common questions

3. Providing a basic framework which can be modified as needed


As an example throughout this article, we will examine one of the most basic and frequently-seen premade Tarot spreads: the "Past-Present-Future" spread, which is included in almost every booklet that accompanies a beginning Tarot deck.


The "Past-Present-Future" spread is a simple, 3-card spread with the following positions:

1st Position: An aspect or quality from the past.

2nd Position: An aspect or quality in the present.

3rd Position: An aspect or quality in the future.



Teaching Tarot to New Readers


The "Past-Present-Future" spread helps to teach a new reader several concepts: first, it shows what Tarot is for; second, it voices some of the questions which Tarot can answer; third, it shows that even a simple spread can have significant depth.


However, there is a big pitfall here.


A new Tarot reader could get the wrong idea by thinking that this premade spread is best in every past, present, future-type reading, when in fact it may be wiser to include these basic card positions into a larger and more detailed spread.



Answering Common Questions


Notice immediately that the premade "Past-Present-Future" spread is intentionally vague and indistinct.


Many basic questions can be made to "fit" this spread, such as: What should I be mindful of so I can improve myself? How will my relationship progress? How will my career develop? How will my life turn out? ...and so on.


While these questions can be answered sufficiently in many cases, sometimes the reader's or client's situation is so complicated, so detailed, so intricate that this simple, premade spread can only give slight clarity.


Imagine this: a Tarot spread is like a window of varying size. When you merely open the window a crack, only a thin ray of light enters. When you open the window completely, light floods the room.


A small spread, such as this premade spread, is a small window and is only suitable for small questions.


More complex questions require bigger spreads with greater detail.



Providing a Basic Framework


A premade spread's greatest benefit is its modularity: its ability to be personalized and incorporated into a custom-designed spread.


Unfortunately, this usage is often ignored by beginning Tarot readers, who assume that a premade spread is a self-contained entity.


Nothing could be further from the truth! A premade spread's positions can be included into a larger reading which can more fully answer a client's questions and bring clarity to a client's specific situation.



When to Use Premade Spreads


Now that we have reviewed the purposes of a premade Tarot spread, we already have a good idea of when to use a premade spread.


But for the purposes of illumination, here are the instances when to use a premade Tarot spread:


1. Are you a beginning Tarot reader?

Use a premade spread to learn how card positions work, how the Tarot can answer questions, and how to read and interpret the cards.


If you already know the card meanings and the basics behind how to perform an accurate Tarot reading, you need no longer use premade spreads necessarily.


2. Are you answering a common question?

Use a premade spread to answer common questions simply and efficiently, whether you are reading for yourself or for a client.


However, ensure that your client will be satisfied with the premade spread offered. If the client's situation is more intricate than the premade spread can handle, design a custom spread.


3. Are you designing a custom spread?

Use a premade spread as a framework or template for ideas and card positions which you can incorporate into a more detailed, custom spread to fully and completely answer your client's questions.