The three-card line is probably the most popular layout that’s used when starting out with Lenormand, the Tarot, the Runes, or any other cartomancy-like divination method. There’s something about odd numbers that makes them appealing; it’s said in numerology that it has to do with the balance that the number three brings to the polarizing number two.
With a working knowledge of card meanings and a few combinations, we’ll quickly develop an affinity with the simple three-card line. The main reason is that it’s neither long nor short. A three-card line is awesome because it:
- Can be quickly interpreted
- Has a middle card to focus the line
- Has two card pairs to tell a story
If you’ve gone through the Handbook Of Layouts, you’d know that the principles of a three-card line apply to all odd-numbered lines as well as Tableau-style layouts. So let’s get into three ways you can interpret three-cards, and let me know how else you like to interpret them.
To draw three cards, simply shuffle the deck, fan it out, select three cards, place them like below, then turn them over. Let’s say we get the Rider, Moon, and Child.
1. A SIMPLE ANSWER OR STORY
The cornerstone of interpreting Lenormand’s cards is by combining them in ‘sentences’. By themselves, Lenormand’s cards can offer a comprehensive answer, but in combinations, they tell a story. Three cards have two card pairs that can be stringed into a story.
An odd number of cards has a middle card – or the Moon in our three-card line. It often makes sense to interpret that card as giving the main answer to the query. It also anchors the reading and connects the two card pairs.
I like to take the middle card to offer me the key outcome of the reading as well as the key advice I can take away from it.
In our example, its seems we’re in for something new and exciting. The Rider and Moon indicate an invitation, and the Moon and Child indicate a happy, new phase. All three cards are quite positive, and the Moon in the middle suggests that much good can come out of this new phase and might even encourage us to embrace it.
Of course, there are many other ways to interpret the cards for different contexts (what I call correspondences), but let’s keep it simple for the sake of illustrating the three ways to read three cards.
For any past-present-future line, or PPF for short, an odd-number of cards is necessary. We need three groups of cards to speak for each of the past, present, and future.
In the three-card line, the left card represents the past, the middle card the present, and the right card the future. When read in this way, it’s the future card that represents the outcome of the reading. This illustrates why it’s important to decide beforehand how we’re going to interpret the cards.
A PPF can also be used to highlight what continuing on the present path will lead to – so that we can change it or do something about it. The past card indicates what has led to the present situation, which is represented by the middle card. And the future card on the right shows the outcome if this path continues.
The Rider as the past card can mean we received some news, feedback, or an invitation. The lovely Moon in the present suggests that we accept it, and it might encourage us to if we haven’t taken action yet. And the Child in the future position indicates that something new and positive is ahead for us.
3. YES / NO READING
A card’s effect is its positive, negative, or neutral influence on the query and the reading. A card’s effect comes from its general meaning. A card’s pip is the playing card that’s associated with a Lenormand card and it has yes / no value.
The pips can be a little tricky because the card’s effect and pip don’t always match. So as always, decide beforehand how you’re going to interpret the cards.
Looking at the Rider, Moon, and Child’s effects, we get a clear yes answer. Whether the query was “Do I have good prospects for selling this house?”, “Will I soon hear back?”, or “Will I get the job?”, the cards are positive.
Looking at the card pips the Rider’s pip is 9 of hearts, and the Moon’s is 8 of hearts. Both indicate a yes. The Child’s pip is the jack of spades, which indicates an ‘unlikely’. Yes, it is a little odd that the happy Child’s pip would mean ‘unlikely’, but ignoring this fact, the two ‘yeses’ outnumber the ‘unlikely’, and so the line can be read as offering a positive answer.
I personally don’t like to limit a card’s mean to a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and caution against producing an answer mechanically as it often proves inaccurate. Instead, it’s best to read all aspects of a card so we can answer a query more deeply.
If you love reading Lenormand’s cards as much as I do, check out the Master Guides. It’s the perfect kit to learn and interpret the cards in sentences and in many different layouts, all while developing your own approach and resonance with the cards.