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The Past, Present, and Future
Tarot Reading

       
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The Past, Present, and Future Spread

The Past, Present, and Future
 

This simple 3-card spread is read like a chronological story. The positions are apparent, and there's not much need to give instructions based on the simplicity of this spread. One of the most commonly known spreads, if it didn't already exist in every book and tarot reading website there is, probably everybody that ever used tarot cards would have invented it themselves.



The Past, Present, and Future Reading

The Past

8 of Cups
The Present

6 of Pentagrams
The Future

7 of Swords
   
The Past

8 of Cups

This card shows a guy who stored up a treasure while isolating himself. When he finally completes his collection, he realizes that there is no fulfillment in his reward. Now he has all these cups, but no friends to share them with. He is a hermit on an island, symbolic of a period of loneliness.

It's poetic justice that he has all the treasure he ever dreamed of and that it is still empty. He gets what he deserves. He has burned his bridges and now all the treasure in the world would not mean anything.

His evil ways of hunting treasure on Earth at the expense of people has come full circle. The rewards that he reaps are barren cups of gold, a painful reminder of what he has sacrificed to gain this treasure. His abandonment of the cups is the only ray of light in that now he has at least learned why a rich man can not go to heaven.

Upright keywords: mildness, timidity, honour, modesty, decline, empty victory, hollow pursuits

   
The Present

6 of Pentagrams

Mocking the scales of Justice, a satanic merchant gives money to the bums. He buys their loyalty at bargain basement prices, intending to use them as pawns. They are aware of their lowly role, yet it matters not. They have not got the self-esteem to rise any higher, and they are too cowardly and ignorant to change.

You can never make a small man big, for he will only become an educated arrogant fool. The best thing would be to teach them how to fish, but they are too dumb and lazy to learn. They would rather take the quick and easy method. They don't care that they hold themselves back. They simply have no ambition whatsoever.

Pride may be a sin, but the complete lack of pride may be just as bad. The merchant gives the impression of fairness, but this is just a facade. He is there to take advantage of people in any way he can. We can only imagine what kind of task he needs these 2 to perform. This is the card of money as the root of all evil.

Upright keywords: presents, gifts, gratification, attention, vigilance, the present time, generosity

   
The Future

7 of Swords

A thief looks over his shoulder as he makes away with 5 of 7 swords. Just like the 10 of Wands, their owners were having supper. This heist is not as easy as grabbing 10 wands though. Swords are a lot harder to carry so he can only manage 5 of them. He treads lightly, knowing that anybody in those tents might notice their sword or their friend's walking away.

He is tiptoeing away from the scene of the crime, wishing that he was invisible. In Waite's Book of Black Magic, criminals are encouraged to do heinous spells of unimaginable evil. Waite, the maker of this tarot deck was a sinister occultist who was one of the most notorious proponents of evil that the world has ever known.

Knowing just a little about the twisted mind of Waite, we may assume that the fez-like cap the thief dons is most likely his hat of invisibility. The pathetic spell that the man must perform to even become invisible requires a night in the grave yard, where he must dig up a corpse and steal its hand, which then of course he puts in his pocket for good luck when he does crimes.

Reversed keywords: thief, violation, criminal, get away, burglary, heist, gambling, loss

 
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