Howdy Jim, welcome to Aeclectic Tarot!
I also use the 3-card spread, one of the things I like about it is it's flexability. As already mentioned, the Past-Present-Future is fairly common;
1 = past
2 = present
3 = future
This is the way I do it anyway... I also use a variation as a "daily" reading;
1 = beginning
2 = peak or main theme
3 = ending
However... I find that for general readings, I prefer to expand the 3-card PPF to a 5-card;
1 = past (couple of months)
2 = more recent past (few weeks)
3 = present
4 = near future (few weeks)
5 = future (couple of months)
I generally find that this gives me good insight to an issue or question over a period of a few months. Then if I need to delve further, I can simply add cards to make it a 7-card or 9-card spread, though I haven't tried more than 9-cards, I suppose it would be possible.
I still use the Celtic Cross, but have modified it to suit my needs. There is a thread on this at; http://www.tarotforum.net/showthread...&threadid=9708
. This thread shows several excellent variations of this venerable, old spread. Also, if you haven't already discovered it, you might want to browse the Tarot Spreads Forum
, you will find many discussions on various Tarot spreads which you might find useful.