Three Card Draw with Significator: The Mystery Gift

I did this reading several years ago for a friend who was about to celebrate her 30th birthday. She was never one to enjoy surprises, and for an entire week her boyfriend had been torturing her with hints about a spectacular birthday gift, but he refused to reveal any details.

My friend was ready to lose her mind, so she asked me if there was a special layout she could use to petition the cards for more information about mystery gift. I advised her of a spread she could use if she was sure that she wanted to spoil the surprise. She said she was very sure.

The spread I suggested is a variation of the simple 3-Card Draw with the addition of a significator card. The significator represents the theme of the question, and provides a clear focus for the reading. My friend chose 2 of Clubs to represent the mystery birthday gift from her boyfriend.


The procedure for layout is simple. First a significator card is chosen to represent the theme or subject of the question. The significator is removed from the deck and placed face up on the table. The remaining 51 cards are shuffled while focusing on the question. Next the shuffled cards are fanned out face down on the table, and the querent chooses three cards. Each card is turned up in the order chosen to form a row of three cards below the significator. The three cards are then interpreted together to answer the question or address the specific situation represented by the significator.

The Reading:

Question: What gift did my boyfriend buy me for my birthday?

Significator – 2 of Clubs (gift)


The cards the querent chose to identify her gift were:

4 of Diamonds + 8 of Diamonds + 8 of Hearts


The first thing to note is that all three cards are red, and the final card is a heart. Whatever the gift turns out to be, it’s clear that this is something that the querent will enjoy.

The 4 of Diamonds can represent a fancy box, so my initial thought was be a pretty piece of jewelry. The two red 8′s represent having a good time, and also make me think of music (the 88 keys on a piano). The 4 of Diamonds can also represent a ticket window, or tickets, so the idea of a concert or musical event seemed to make better sense.

The 8 of Diamonds represents the eyes, and can indicate seeing or looking at something, and the 8 of Hearts indicates something they do together as a couple, so my best guess was be that the boyfriend bought her a pair of tickets to a concert or musical show. The 8 of Hearts would indicate that they go together as a couple, and have a wonderful time.


It turned out that the mystery birthday gift was a weekend getaway to Disney World Resort. The weekend included tickets to cirque du soleil ‘La Nouba,’ and two nights in a hotel on the lake. She said they had an amazing time!


How to Interpret the Three Card Draw

The 3 Card Layout:

The 3 Card Layout is the perfect spread to use for daily guidance, or to answer a question quickly.   This layout provides a good amount of information regarding a specific question, topic or situation.  I like to use the 3 Card Layout at the end of a longer reading to address any questions the querent may still have, or to provide more information on a topic the querent wants to know more about.

For this layout I choose 3 cards at random and lay them out in the order in which I chose them.


The cards are then read from left to right like reading a sentence on a page: 

  • The first card can be read as “the premise” of the situation, or it may
    indicate the past influences on the matter.

  • The second card represents the actual question, problem or situation, and
    often reflects the current influences on the matter.

  • The third card indicates the outcome or result, and has the strongest
    effect on the final interpretation of the layout.

The interpretation of each card in the layout is influenced and modified by the card falling on top of it to the right.  The final card bears the most influence, and if a “good” card falls last, it can nullify the negative effects of any “bad” cards falling under it.  If the issue at hand is a specific question, the final card will provide the answer.

The action in the layout also moves from left to right:

  • The first card indicates what action the seeker takes.

  • The second card indicates what action the seeker shares.

  • The third card indicates what action the seeker receives.

For yes/no questions, 2 red cards indicate a “yes,” and two black cards indicate a “no.”

Sample 3-Card Layout:

Here is an example of an actual 3-Card Layout I did this morning, May 16, 2007.  I asked the cards a specific question about a female friend from college that I have not heard from in a couple of years.  My question was: “Will this friend contact me?”  Here are the  playing cards I pulled:


  • 4 of Clubs
  • 3 of Clubs
  • Queen of Diamonds

I was surprise at first by the Queen of Diamonds because I wouldn’t have immediately associated my friend with this particular card.  I did expect a queen to show up, but I guess I thought she would be more in line with my friend’s physical coloring.  But then I realized that the Queen of Diamonds is the best card to represent her energy and intelligence.

The 4 of Clubs can indicate a form of electronic communication such as a telephone call or an email.  So I can see right away that the cards are on track with answering my question.  Because the 4 of Clubs falls first, in the spot that would indicate me taking action, it looks like I’m going to be the one to initiate the contact and reconnect with my friend.

The 3 of Clubs indicates good luck and success, so if I make the effort to track her down, I should not have a problem finding her.  All Clubs indicate activity, thinking and talking, so it may be that I can reach my friend through other mutual acquaintances.  Also in the number 2 spot of “shared action,”  the 3 of Clubs would indicate that she’s been thinking about contacting me a well.

The Queen of Diamonds represents my friend, and as the final card also represents the outcome, result or answer to my question.  The red suits of the playing cards are usually considered positive, so the basic answer to my question is “yes.”  My friend will contact me, but only after I make an effort to reach her first.

Now I understand why the cards chose to represent my friend as the Queen of Diamonds as opposed to the expected Queen of Spades based on her dark hair and eyes.  If the Queen of Spades had fallen last, it would have indicated a definite “no” to my answer.  And this layout would have indicated that although I would probably have been successful in reaching her, she would not have responded to my contact.