Spread overview

The 3-card 'Situation, Action, Outcome' spread is a fundamental tool for tarot readers. It provides clear and concise insights into the dynamics of any given scenario. This spread is invaluable for its versatility and direct approach. It breaks down the complex tapestry of circumstance into manageable and actionable parts. By focusing on the present situation, the best course of action, and the potential result, the reader can offer their querent a strategic roadmap to navigate through their circumstances.

Understanding the energies at play with the first card, the 'Situation,' sets the stage for the entire reading. This card is the foundation that informs the advice and prospects the tarot reader will interpret in the subsequent cards. The second card, the 'Action,' serves as a guide for the querent, suggesting the actions or attitudes that are likely to lead to the desired outcome. Being proactive and making informed choices becomes tangible with this part of the spread. As for the 'Outcome,' the third card rounds out the reading with a snapshot of where the current trajectory could lead.

This method is not only excellent for personal reflection but also for clients seeking guidance in scenarios ranging from career and relationships to personal growth and decision-making. The simplicity of this spread does not detract from its depth; rather, it ensures that the reading stays focused on the most relevant aspects of the situation at hand. For a tarot reader, mastering the 'Situation, Action, Outcome' spread is akin to having a trusty compass in the toolkit of divination – it's straightforward, reliable, and illuminating.

Three card "Situation, Action, Outcome" spread

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Two of Swords tarot card


The Hermit tarot card


The World tarot card


Two of Swords tarot card

The Two of Swords indicates a decision or stalemate requiring balance and inner contemplation. A blindfolded figure suggests defense and a refusal to face underlying truths. It encourages calmness, careful consideration, and acknowledging all factors for informed choices.

Card details
The Hermit tarot card

The Hermit symbolizes introspection, contemplation, and seeking inner wisdom, indicating a time to step back from daily life and focus on personal growth and spiritual guidance.

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The World tarot card

The World card signifies accomplishment, completion, and success, representing the end of a cycle and the rewards of one's efforts. It suggests a time of celebration, freedom, and a new beginning as one journey ends and another commences. It is a card of fulfillment and holistic achievement.

Card details

The tarot card meanings provided here offer general insights and may not precisely reflect your personal question. Use this tool as a catalyst for self-discovery, understanding that the interpretation is subjective, and the true value lies in your own reflections.

What questions you can ask?

When approaching the 'Situation, Action, Outcome' tarot spread, consider questions that align with understanding a current situation, determining the best course of action, and anticipating possible results. This spread is designed for direct queries that seek clarity and direction.

- What is currently affecting my situation?

- What steps can I take to improve my circumstances?

- What should I focus on to achieve my desired goal?

- How can I approach my problem to find a solution?

- What is the potential outcome if I follow a particular course of action?

- What are the possible consequences of my current behavior or decision?

What questions better to avoid?

To maintain the integrity of the 'Situation, Action, Outcome' spread, there are certain types of questions that should be avoided. These inquiries tend to either be too vague, too passive, or not aligned with the proactive and decision-oriented nature of this spread.

- Will I win the lottery?

- When will I die?

- Is my fate predetermined?

- Should I rely on fate to make my decision?

- Will things just work out on their own?

- Can I avoid any action and still achieve success?

Spread step by step guide

  1. Prepare your space and deck. Ground yourself, and if desired, cleanse your tarot deck to remove any residual energies.

  2. Shuffle the deck while focusing on the querent's question or situation.

  3. Cut the deck as you feel drawn to, and lay out three cards in a row.

  4. Reveal the first card on the left. This represents the current situation.

  5. Turn over the second card in the center to reveal the action that should be taken.

  6. The third card on the right reveals the potential outcome based on the current trajectory and advised actions.

Card positions in details

The significance of card positions in the 'Situation, Action, Outcome' spread is crucial for a clear and accurate reading.

The 'Situation' card is the lens through which the current moment is viewed. It points to the forces affecting the querent and sets the context for the whole reading. This card often highlights challenges, opportunities, and underlying emotions affecting the querent's life.

The 'Action' card acts as a guide or recommendation. It symbolizes the steps that can be taken or the attitudes that can be adopted to navigate through the situation. This card encourages the querent to be proactive and take control of their destiny.

Finally, the 'Outcome' card provides a glimpse into the future, based on the current circumstances and the actions the querent is advised to take. It represents the potential resolution or culmination of the querent's path. While it's not a definitive prediction, it's an insight into the possible direction events may flow towards.

Sample of reading

A client asked, 'What should I focus on to advance in my career?' After shuffling the deck with their question in mind, I drew the following cards: The Hierophant for the situation, the Eight of Pentacles for the action, and the Ten of Cups for the outcome.

The Hierophant signifies a need for structure, tradition, and formal learning in the current career situation. This suggests that the client may benefit from enhancing their expertise through additional training or mentorship within their field.

The Eight of Pentacles as the action card advises a diligent, detail-oriented approach. It speaks to mastering one's craft and putting in the hard work needed for skill development and meticulous execution of tasks.

Finally, the Ten of Cups in the outcome position bodes well for personal fulfillment and joy from career achievements that align with the client's values. It indicates that by following a structured path and honing their skills, the client could achieve both professional success and personal happiness.

This spread not only provided clarity for the client's career aspirations but also outlined actionable steps they could take to create a rewarding professional life.

Spread tips

  1. Be clear and specific with the question you want to address using this spread.

  2. Remain open-minded and avoid preconceived notions about what the cards will reveal.

  3. Focus on the spread as a guide for action rather than a fixed prediction of the future; empower your querent with choices.

  4. Consider both the individual meanings of the cards and the narrative they create together to get a full picture of the situation at hand.

  5. Encourage the querent to reflect on the 'Action' card's advice and contemplate how they can actively work towards the 'Outcome'.

Common mistakes

  1. Ignoring the context provided by the 'Situation' card when interpreting the 'Action' and 'Outcome' cards.

  2. Being overly deterministic about the 'Outcome' card, rather than recognizing it as one possible future based on current actions.

  3. Focusing solely on the divinatory meanings of the cards without considering the querent's personal circumstances.

  4. Allowing the querent's anxiety or desire for a certain outcome to influence the reading's objectivity.

  5. Failing to provide practical advice derived from the 'Action' card to assist the querent in navigating their situation.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Can the 'Outcome' card predict the future with certainty?

The 'Outcome' card should be viewed as a potential future based on current actions and energy. It isn't fixed and can change with the querent’s choices and actions.

Is the 'Situation, Action, Outcome' spread suitable for yes or no questions?

This spread is better suited to questions that require more depth and insight, beyond a simple yes or no answer.

What if the 'Action' card is a seemingly negative card?

Even cards with challenging connotations can offer valuable insight. They may suggest that the querent needs to overcome obstacles or release limiting patterns.

Do the cards need to be in a particular order for this spread?

Yes, the order is essential. The first card is the current situation, the second is the advised action, and the third is the potential outcome.

How frequently can I use this spread for the same question?

It's best to wait for significant developments in the situation or to approach the question from a different angle before repeating the spread.

Can I use different decks for this spread?

Absolutely. Any tarot deck can be used for the 'Situation, Action, Outcome' spread, as long as you're familiar with reading that deck.

Check other tarot spreads