3x3 -> 9 spread. Anyone use this or have any ideas?


I recently started using a simple card spread of 3 cards in three rows on top of each other. It's nice and tidy to me for some reason but I haven't really decided what each of the positions mean except the center card, row 2 card 2, is likely the "heart of the Matter".

Here's a sample:

:TQP :T10S :T3S

I guess I will leave out the question I was asking at the time. :)

Anybody use a spread like this or have any ideas/advice on what each position should mean?


Good spread (did I say that?)

Top row is past, center is current, bottom future.

left row read downward is environmental influences (non-emotional).

Center is Life's path (read downward)

Right hand downward is affairs of the heart.

Good old standard spread - excellent for general readings.


I use a 9-card spread for myself, although it's thematically simpler than yours, Umbrae...


Top row is what to do from an intellectual and practical perspective, middle is emotional, and bottom is guttural or instinctive. Each row has sort of a "do/don't do this, and/or/not this, to reach this favorable outcome to the issue." I realize that the top row is taking on two elements/realms (air and earth) whereas the other two rows cover one each, and this is top-heavy. But a) 9 is my number, b) the spread seems to work really well, and c) I overintellectualize so much that if I isolated intellect more in the spread, it would go against my biggest long-term project, which is battling anxiety, my greatest obstacle -- I have, like, a diagnosis and everything, y'know? ;)



This is the spread I use the most:


top row - past
second row - present
bottom row - future

It works wonderfully for me.


Well, past-present-future seemed to be natural for this layout in almost any direction. I had some inkling of that when I was working with it. I also like that corner to corner is another three part sequence. No matter which direction you chose you have a three part "meaning". Thanks, it's got me thinking...


in a 9 card spread, pay particular attention to the lower two (center and right hand cards)...they represent 'what should be' on the doorstep of the future.


I also prefer a left to right sequence for past present future, the Celtic Cross bothers me that way also, the left most card I always want to see as the Past. :)

Great ideas for horizontal rows:

(Umbrae) Environment, Life's Path, Affairs of the Heart, going bottom to top.

(Diana) Invisible, Obstacle-Synthesis-Advice, Visible, going bottom to top.

I'll certainly keep using the layout, however it turns out. :)


An Alchemy viewpoint.

The nine card reading can be found in some alchemy work
The top line is the passage of the soul past being the left card now being the center and future being the right card
The second line is the emotion
The third the physical
From my understanding of the works the aim was to bring a harmony as all three levels become balanced.
It was used as a problem solving reading to find the root of a problem.
An example being the problem maybe lack of money.
but looking for answers on a psychical may not be relevant if the problem of the lack of money is caused by feeling spiritually lost so needing to fill that void by spending on *stuff* or courses. It maybe that the problem is on the emotional in that overspending is occurring to make you feel better emotionally. A problem maybe appearing on the emotional but could be stemming from something happening on the physical i.e. ill health. This reading according to the alchemy work I have read was to find the cause of a problem and dealing with it on that level rather than dealing with where the problem was manifesting. It deals with the whole of who we are rather than just one level where a problem may occur.



Thanks for the new viewpoint on this. I've been away from the forum for quite some time and had forgotten about this post and this spread. If you have any book references that discuss Alchemical origins of this I'd appreciate seeing them.

I can see the value of "balancing" using this spread, especially if you look at it as past *influences* and future *possibilities*.


I've always thought of a 9-card "magic square" layout as a pared-down version of the Romany Spread (which uses 21 cards in 7 columns). So the rows can represent past/present/future, as in the Romany, and you can take your pick out of these seven categories for what the three columns might signify:

1. The Self
2. Personal Environment
3. Hopes & Dreams
4. Known Factors
5. Your Hidden Destiny
6. Short Term Future
7. Long Term Future

Which you choose will depend on the nature of the Question you're asking.

You could also throw out positional meanings altogether and read "Gypsy Style" using Elemental dignities or other methods to determine the relative strength of each of the cards.

The idea of the central card having most importance - the "heart of the matter", "the situation Now" etc. - is also very useful.

As with everything in Tarot, it is all completely flexible. There are no rules :)