Three of Swords Tarot Card Meaning & Interpretations

Three of Swords Tarot card meaning and interpretation

The 3 of Swords is one of those cards that evokes disappointment in us whenever we see it in a spread. It really doesn't need much explanation as to what it means but it does raise some very deep questions, which are certainly worth exploring for personal development, when this card comes calling.

Our feelings are a tool but they are not who, or what, we are. The next time you feel something strongly, stop and take a moment to quieten your thoughts. Then retrace the origin of those feelings. Where did they come from? What caused them to rise up within you? Was it a new piece of information or was it your mind reliving some past event. Or did you imagine a scenario in the future and react to something that hasn't happened and might never happen? Your emotions are almost entirely created, re-awakened or manifested by your mind and it's thoughts.

This is the core meaning of the 3 of Swords and why this emotional upset card is within the Suit of Swords and not in the Suit of Cups. It's an unusual card in that it strongly links emotions, which are part of the domain of the element of Water and the Suit of Cups, with the domain of the element of Air. In the Rider Waite Smith (RWS) deck this card is depicted as a heart pierced by 3 swords, with a grey cloud pouring rain as the background, in an almost a perfect mixture of Water and Air. The 3 of Swords reminds us of the origin of emotions and in particular the negative ones. If our thoughts control our emotions then we should be able to control our emotions by controlling our thoughts. Easy to say but, as with all spiritual practices, difficult to put into practice. It's not impossible though and this is why this card can become a very useful tool for self development and spiritual growth. In the next card in this Suit, the 4 Of Swords, we can see this in practice. In the RWS deck 3 Swords can be seen on the wall above the resting, recovering and meditating warrior. This is why spiritual practices, and prayer, focus on quietening the mind. A silenced mind allows emotions to become subdued, less acute, giving relief from the relentless pain they inflict upon us.

The 3 of Swords illustration in the Rider Waite Smith deck is unusual because unlike the original images and themes Smith and Waite added to the minor pip cards this card is not their original work but a copy. The oldest known 78 card Tarot deck is the Sola Busca Tarot which features a 3 of Swords depicted as a heart with 3 swords piercing it. It is possible that Smith and Waite did this to acknowledge Tarot's earliest origins and a previous attempt at having a fully illustrated 78 card deck.

The 3 of Swords is a card of unhappiness, sorrow, tears and separation. The element here is Air which relates to challenges, conflicts and the mental aspects of our lives. The storms on the path of life that we have to navigate through. In numerology a number has positive, negative and destructive influences. The suite of Swords tends to focus on the negative and destructive. The negative aspects of the number 3 in numerology are worry, criticism, sadness, pain and disappointment.

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By Arthur Edward Waite (1911)

Three swords piercing a heart; cloud and rain behind. Divinatory Meanings: Removal, absence, delay, division, rupture, dispersion, and all that the design signifies naturally, being too simple and obvious to call for specific enumeration. Reversed: Mental alienation, error, loss, distraction, disorder, confusion.

Related Tarot Cards

Four of Swords Tarot card meaning and interpretation Five of Swords Tarot card meaning and interpretation Queen of Swords Tarot card meaning and interpretation

© Phuture Me Ltd 2019. All rights reserved.

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