Three Card Story

One of the three essences of a Qoya class we cover in the Qoya Teacher Training is based on the idea that all answers are within. Qoya is like a map, like a labyrinth, into the center of one self to access each individual’s deepest truths. The three card story as a ritual is another way in.

The first time I did a three card story was as a student in the Four Winds Society in a class called Working with the Sacred.  I received training in energy healing and was initiated into the healing traditions of the Q'ero Andean Shamans of the Sacred Mountains of Peru, as well as the Jungle Shamans of the Amazon.  If you're interested in learning more about the Four Winds and Shamanic Healing Traditions, please email me at and I'd love to share with you! Or visit their website  

Ok- let's get started!

  • Step One: Open Sacred Space and pull out your divination decks. I mix up my goddess oracle cards, any of my decks by Doreen Virtue and my new favorite the "Love Your True Colors" Oracle Cards. You can use traditional tarot cards as well.
  • Step Two: Take a couple deep breaths to come more into your instinctual being of letting your body lead you and feeling the card draw you to it. As you pull your three cards, root into your intention that one card is to symbolize the beginning of the story, one for the middle and one for the end. Leave the cards face down and wait to turn the cards over one at a time as you are writing.
  • Step Three: With blank paper and a pen in front of you, write this first sentence down, “Once upon a time, there was a woman who...
  • ”Depending on what is going on in your life, you can insert different phrases to prompt the story. For example: Once upon a time, there was a woman who...

...was beginning to remember

...who knew she was wise

...who knew she was wild

...who knew she was free

...who forgot to dance

...who stopped trusting herself

...who longed for love

...who sat down to pray

You can choose any of the above or allow yourself to be inspired to create an opening sentence that resonates with you.

Once you have pulled the three cards, have your pen and paper and written the first line of the story, turn over the  first card and write the beginning of the story. The first card is for the beginning of the story.  The second card is for the middle of the story.  The third card is for the end of the story. Don't feel overly attached to the words on the card or the picture. There's no way to interpret it incorrectly, it's all about exploring what the card brings up and means to you.  Cards are a powerful way to practice accessing more of your intuition and to get past the literal and rational thoughts to access more of the mythic, archetypical and subconscious.  Once you start writing the beginning of the story based on the first card, imagine not even lifting up your pen from the paper.  This is not a creative writing exercise, it is an invitation for your soul voice to come through- which is strongest when it is unfiltered and unedited.  When the beginning of the story with the first card is complete, flip over the second card and write the middle of your story. Lastly, pull over the third card and write the end of the story.  

  • Step Four: Read the story again our loud, except this time, instead of reading the story in the in 3rd person (i.e. woman/man, she/he), read it in 1st person (i.e. I/me). Feel what comes forward. Again, do not feel stress over any literal analysis of the story. Your intuitive feeling about its meaning will be correct.
  • Step Five: To embody this experience, can you think of a song that feels like the message you received? Experiment with doing the circling exercise to that song once a day for a week to keep expanding your relationship to the insight you received from your three card story.

Here are some examples of 3 Card Stories from people who were inspired to share theirs. Enjoy!


Story  #1






"Once upon a time there was a woman who yearned for love.  She would sit by the fire and feel its warmth, its power to transform.  She likened that flame to love.  And she knew she had to tend this fire within herself not to earn love, for we never need to earn love, but to cultivate it.  To become it.  While the world offered invitations from dancing on the tables in the South of France to the bottom of another champagne glass, love was formed a different way than the distractions of the day.  Love was formed a different way.

Love was revealed to her through the time she spent quiet and alone.  Love was revealed to her when she humbled herself to pray and asked not for a man this tall, with this laugh or that motorcycle, but when she asked for the man who was best for her soul.  The more she called out to the divine, the more she noticed something in her back.  The angel tattoo she marked herself with years ago was spreading into actual angel wings.  On her daily pilgrimage to the sunset, she would still bike and feel the breeze on her face, but she knew one day... one day, she would fly towards the sun. 

In-between all this fire keeping and praying and sunset dancing, something happened.  A man arrived.  He wasn't what she dreamed.  He was better.  She didn't realize it at first, because she had to surrender to what was happening instead of holding on so tight to what she thought would happen, or should happen.  A girlfriend told her about the Tao Te Ching and that it's all about the flow.  So, she decided to stop calling, stop asking for too much advice from astrologers, stop trying to figure out and predict the future and just enjoy the gift of love, right here, right now, in her heart and with him."  


Story #2









“Once upon a time there was a woman whose community needed her. They needed her spicy, untamed, dragon-breath, crone-faced, baby-faced, drum beating, unicorn-rearing wildness.  It took a lot for her to deliver, but she knew she could.  She knew she must. So with her scarlet skirt and her hair on fire; red rims around her eyes to match the red rim of her mouth to match the red rounds of her nipples, she emerged. She seduced with her sparkle and entranced with her gaze. Her fragrance hypnotized the entire land, turning kings into dogs.  A spell had been cast, a wickedly lovely obsession with her red, red, red, red everything. She pressed her heart forward and looked up to the sky, turning everything red into a soft, warm, white.  The dogs became agile, keen cats; the dust that had settled for so long became a shower of the exact nutrient the community had been calling for; and bright light shone from above, brightening, warming and electrifying everything in its path.”


Story #3

"Once upon a time there was a queen who forgot to dance. The times were dark in those days. War and famine occupied the thoughts of the people. Wonder and stories of great heroes and heroines abounded, including stories with magical beasts, golden weapons and fierce heroism. After all, what is there to do in the dark, but tell the fables of greater times, and the great ones who lived in them.

The depths of grace had left the land, and were only found in the oceans. There, a peaceful race of beautiful, sensual mer-people frolicked and played, and sang the siren song of Joy... distantly heard by the people on shore, and no longer heard by their queen. She spent her days occupied by the troubles of her land and had no time and no thought for dancing.

Then one day, the Gods of the Sea struck the earth. Their aim was balance, but their pathway was destruction.. further destruction that the people on land could not stand. There was weeping and terror as the fires rained down from the sky... And the land people were driven to the sea and into the salty waves, meeting for the first time their cousins the mer-people. On that fateful day in the midst of the sky going black and sparkling within the reign of fire, the queen and her people found solace in the tears and depths of the great water, never knowing that the sea gods had brought this to them to call forth the greatness that the land people worshipped in their own stories ... From the people themselves. And the queen saw this, knew its rightness, and danced once more under a dark and bright sky.

- the end and beginning -"


Story #4


Once upon there was a woman who forgot to trust herself and she knew as she went to the ocean that something was amiss. She asked the Great Mother Ocean, "Oh, Great Ocean! Please send me a sign that I might remember how to trust myself again." She waited and when she opened her eyes she spotted 3 dolphins. They played in the surf and she could hear their call, "Play!" They cried, "Play like us! Swim in to the turbulent surf and you will find your way into the waves. You will remember how to trust as soon as you surrender to the wave that is upon you. Only then can you fly in sacred self trust, like Butterfly again." 

The woman was pondering this message when behind her she felt a tap at her shoulder. An elegant older woman smiled as she turned. "Hello," she said. "Hello," said Nu Kua, "I have heard your prayer. I am here to give you this gift. She handed her a small porcelain treasure box ornately decorated with coy fish. "Place all of your worries, doubts and fears into this box. Then, bury it deep in the sand. Know that once you release this box, order and clarity will come back to you once again." With that, she turned and disappeared into the clouds. A rainbow left in her path, leading to the sky.

Just then, the rainbow broke and a lightning bolt struck the sand not far from the woman. She was frightened and in that moment she opened her treasure box and remembered to put to put her fear of being struck into the box. As she closed the box, the sky opened, and Father Sky appeared. "Well done," he encouraged, "You have trusted your instincts and listened to the wisdom of Order. The great Eagle spirit will now fly always at your side. Look to the moon and always thank the wise sage woman Nu Kua. Remember, your eyes are open now. Trust whatever instincts you have that feel good. That feel true. You can never forget and you will heal yourself and all those around you." And he vanished. Just then, the sun shone through and an eagle flew above the woman, with a call that sounded like a child's laugh. The woman smiled and thanked her guides. She was grinning all the way home.


Story #5

Once upon a time, there was a woman who knew she was wise. She walked with the animal spirits all her days. From the moment she was born she was cuddled and nestled into the powerful matrix of divine relationship with all beasts. She longed to speak with her animal companions, to learn their sacred wisdom and to share her own. She knew she had a gift. The gift of being able to translate the untranslatable. She could sing the song of the hummingbird to bring abundance and she could dance the dance of wild horse for peace. She could roar like fierce and tender bear to uphold her birthright as a guide.

After some time she became a bit overwhelmed. She not only spoke with, consoled and consulted the animal spirits for guidance but now she had animals and humans alike, all coming at her at the same time. Because her heart was big and generous, she wanted to give her whole self to each being but she quickly realized this wouldn't do. She was feeling drained, like she was running on fumes, and just plain tired. 

Just then, a dove flew to her hand, in it's beak a golden message. As she reached out for the message , the dove transformed into the beautiful angel Isabella. She said, "It is time for a new venture. You've done all you must do with the animals. Now it is time to consult the angels. I am here to tell you that if you do, great and happy outcomes follow." This thrilled the woman, for she knew it was time ti uncover wisdom from other realms. She promised Isabella that she would turn her energies to the angels, light masters and celestial bodies so that she could better help the people, animals and all beings. This pleased the angel and she morphed into the magnificent dove, flying to the heavens, cooing and cooing. 


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