The Three of Swords

The Three of Swords shows, as with all threes, fertile ground and creativity. This is said to be the case because it combines the Ace and Two that it follows in its suit and the tarot deck itself. The Three of Swords shows three swords piercing a heart on a stormy background. There are revelations and heartbreak shown by this card, which shows that the anxiety and inner turmoil of the Ace and Two of Swords will prove itself warranted. The querent began to feel uneasy, suspected betrayal or an upsetting event had or would occurring, and now will learn what has be done or what will happen. The Three of Swords shows the appearance of a revelation. All threes are representative of wholeness and the holy trinity, which is the complete union of all aspects of God. They show how the worry of the first two cards was justified, so the querent can clearly see where the uneasiness was stemming from or why it was present in the first place. There has been a sort of vindication here for the querent who was considered paranoid or overtly suspicious without reason.

When more than one three appears in the same spread, there is a more well-defined interpretation that can be revealed to the querent. Pairs of threes portray being productive in one’s search for answers and achieving the proper amount of evidence or confirmation of suspicions, and three of these foretells the need to make some decisions before covering more ground towards one’s goals, or in this case, one’s need for information. It seems that there is still more work to be done. Having four threes in a spread shows achievement, or in this case, where one has had a dark secret revealed to them that puts all of the pieces of the puzzle in place. The Three of Swords may imply that the awareness of betrayal, illness, or danger that the querent feared has been revealed when indicated in this context.

The Three of Swords in an Upright Position

The Three of Swords indicates where one has suffered a broken heart or betrayal of some kind. There may be an interloper that has upset the querent’s relationship with another, or there has been something that the querent believed to be his that has been taken by another. This could be a job, artistic opportunity, or personal relationship. Either way, there may be a third person trying to inject themselves into your team or partnership that is completely unwelcome. There will be bad news that upsets the querent and proves their worries and suspicions about someone or something were justified. Those suspicions have now been confirmed and there is a loss in the air. The upright Three of Swords could also mean a separation and arguments.

The meaning of all Minor Arcana cards can be modified by the cards that surround it. Court cards from the Minor Arcana (Pages, Knights, Queens, and Kings) all represent people. They have corresponding physical characteristics as well as their own astrological correspondences. The Three of Swords shows that there is a third element to duo that you;re half of that is being overtaken, stolen, or toyed with. The court cards around this will identify the culprit and also point out those who will be there in the end to support you, and help you to get back to your old self after such a blow. Major Arcana cards in the area will also help to narrow the interpretation. For instance, the Star and the Three of Swords shows someone’s hopes being completely obliterated while the appearance of the Sun heralds healing and brighter days on the horizon: the querent will survive this heartache, and it will pass.

The Three of Swords in a Reversed Position

The reversed position of each card of the Minor Arcana is really as it states: an inversion of the card’s meaning. A reversal of the Three of Swords shows that the querent will be forced to get over their heartache and pretend as if nothing has happened. The friend who has betrayed the querent will still be considered a friend although they have deeply wronged the querent. There is a feeling that the querent will obtain no relief like they would if the card were sitting upright instead. The querent will be forced to keep quiet and adopt a tongue and cheek attitude about the betrayal. They’ve been asked to let bygones be bygones, which they’re not okay with but are forced to do in order to keep the peace or avoid airing their dirty laundry for all to see. There is no healing and the querent will find themselves still enduring pain, doubt, and anxiety.

The reversed Three of Swords shows the swords still plunging into the heart, but the heart is left to bleed out in the upright position, whereas the swords prevent the heart from bleeding. This results in one who is forced to hold their anger and shock inside as opposed to get it out in the open once and for all. The querent may have to work with someone who is having an affair with their romantic partner, or there is some other situation where regular contact with the perpetrator is a necessity. There is really no solution in sight and the querent is forced to eat it while the guilty parties continue to get away with their debauchery. There is a definitive negativity to this card in its reversed position where the upright Three of Swords offered an ending to the worry and angst, and the reversal shows no solace, no peace, and no true resolution. The reversed Three of Swords also shows people causing each other grief in a codependent game of cat and mouse.

Key Terms

  • Hostility
  • Unresolved quarrels
  • Grief
  • Revealed secrets
  • Negative third party
  • Betrayal
  • No solution
  • Break from anxiety
  • Relief
  • Loss
  • Sudden Separation
  • A broken heart
  • Secret enemies
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