The Nine Card Box Spread-Reading 3 rows of 3 Cards 2 ways

This class is the companion class to the basic introduction to Reading Three Card Spreads.

This class is part of the Rock Reading the Tarot Series© of classes and is a ‘Fast and Easy’ level class.

This is a higher level Three Card Tarot Reading skills class class for intermediate and advanced readers and it is focused on reading a three card spread with clarifying cards. This tarot reading lesson will not focus on creating 3 card spreads, that is a subject for another class. Here we will quickly dive right into reading three card spreads as three rows of three cards. These three rows form a box, hence the name The Box Spread.

One of the simplest and most powerful readings that we can do is the three-card reading.  Once we have learned this technique, it can be used to build many different types of spreads which can address different types of issues. 

Generally, if we readers desire more information we use clarifying cards to add details or to expand a reading.  In general, this can be best done with 1-3 additional cards being used to add depth or clarification to messages already perceived.  These types of cards are placed above the foundation card in question.  To find the causes of a situation we might also place 1-3 cards below any card we need to know more about.

(It is important to mention not to confuse this with  the layout for a standard 9 card Gypsy spread which is laid out 1-9 from top left to bottom right in three rows of three cards.  That is an entirely different spread and is read entirely differently.  This 9 Card gypsy spread might be covered in another class.)

For our purposes there are two ways to layout and read this Box Spread:

First Way: We will lay out three cards in a row (each row from right to left), then layout three cards in a row above, then another three cards in a row below. The result is a three groups of three cards.

The first line, the middle one, represents the querent’s question. This line should be read based on any one of the applicable techniques taught in the Reading Three Card Spread – Introduction class.  Then the row above is read as providing details to the cards immediately below.  The bottom cards are read as providing background or history related to the cause of whatever is going on.  The bottom cards only relate to the cards immediately above it.  Each line should be read first as individual cards, then as clusters.  Be sure to look at the entire spread for an overall story, too.

Second Way:  The cards are laid out left to right in three groups of three.  Starting on the left, layout the first line of three cards in a line.  These cards represent the querent.  Skip a space, and on the right lay out three cards. These cards represent the other person/place/job/etc. that the querent is concerned about.  If you feel this second row of cards belongs to the left of the querent, then follow your intuition; it really does not matter which side you use so long as you have the first for the querent and the second for the other.

On the top, bridging the gap between the two sides, place a third line of three cards.  Lay the first over the last card on the left and the third over the first card on the right.  This row represents the ‘relationship’ itself, and reveals the dynamics at work.

In either layout, use the story approach to read each line of three as one picture.  Then look at all three lines to see the bigger picture. It is helpful to notice how each side’s group of cards change as they approach each other from the outside into the center.

TIP: To really please your client (or yourself), lay out an additional three cards for advice.

VIDEO: Telling Time with Tarot Cards using the 4 Aces.
Get the book Telling Time with Tarot Cards: Tarot Timing Techniques by Cathleen Carr
Get the book Freestyle Tarot: Unconventional Interpretations by Cathleen Carr

Reference: The Ancestral Path Tarot, Julie Cuccia -Watts (Card images)


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