Three of Swords Tarot Card
Card Name: Three of Swords, 3 of Blades
Category: Minor Arcana, Suit of Swords
Keywords: Sorrow, Sadness
Active element: Air 💨
The Three of Swords is the most painful card in the entire Tarot deck. She personifies the spiritual heart of man. Sooner or later, even the greatest love will hurt, because it is closely connected with it. Therefore, it is difficult to focus on your own feelings, to always be open. The Arcana shows all the hardest things in this life. But, despite the unsightly reality, the heart continues to love and feel. If you turn the card over, then you can talk about the betrayal of yourself. After all, the worst thing is when a person becomes dead inside. It is at this moment that he is most vulnerable to the vices of the devil.
Symbolism and Key Ideas of the Three of Swords
In the Rider-Waite Tarot system, the Three of Swords card depicts a scarlet heart pierced by blades. In the background, a gray sky and clouds pouring rain. The central place on the Arcana is occupied by the image of love, kindness, morality. The heart is the bulwark of integrity and humanity. Swords act as something negative, evil. The clouds symbolize the forcing of the situation, the absence of bright colors in life. Rain represents tears. Despite the fact that the card does not show blood, the heart itself is still red. The places where swords enter figuratively show pain and suffering.
If in other suits the number three symbolized the positive forces of the Universe, then here the same energies become destructive. The Three of Swords is heartbreak, betrayal and deceit. A striking example of the meaning of the card is the relationship between Romeo and Juliet or Orpheus and Eurydice. All these characters are united by unbearable suffering due to the inability to be with their loved ones. But, on the other hand, it is also a willingness to sacrifice oneself, to endure everything for the sake of a higher idea. The third Arcana of the suit of Daggers shows the symbiosis of love and pain. As much as the feelings that have flared up can inspire, take away to Paradise, so much can they overthrow down into Hell.
Meaning of the Upright Three of Swords Card
- Betrayal from a close and beloved person, friend, family.
- An unexpected blow, a shock, forever lost trust.
- Dangerous current environment, also unfriendly surroundings.
- Living a difficult period of life, depression and melancholy.
In the upright position of the Arcana, the Three of Swords denotes strong disappointment, shock. These feelings are comparable to those that can be experienced when a loved one leaves forever. A sharp pain pierces the heart, and it seems that it will always be like this. There comes a black streak, depression. Joy leaves the house and may never return. The Three of Blades symbolizes the loss of hope and zest for life. The very meaning of life is lost against the background of constant adversity. The belonging of the card to the element of Air indicates a lack of understanding or support from the outside. The people around hurt the querent without even raising an eyebrow. Coolness and detachment, lack of empathy finally achieve faith in people.
As a significator of the situation, the Three of Swords personifies an unfriendly environment. The questioner may be experiencing a severe trauma right now. At the same time, the pain will not always concern personal life. This includes the betrayal of friends, beloved relatives, parents or children. An important detail is that the fortuneteller will take the situation to heart. And this means only one thing – it means that the traitor was truly dear to the querent. The upright position of the card shows the peak of emotions, strong feelings, a recent wound.
Love and Relationships (Upright)
- Cheating in a couple, a third extra, the presence of a mistress, a lover.
- Relationship breakdown, betrayal, painful departure of a partner.
- Unhealed wounds, heartfelt feelings, fear of opening up.
- The opportunity to re-enter into a difficult love affair, abuse.
In the love spread, the Three of Swords denotes betrayal from a partner. This may be treason, an unexpected break in relations. The once close person is ready to exchange the feelings of the querent for something else – money, new sensations. Dealing with a breakup will be very difficult. One of the two will act as a victim of the situation, and the other – an insensitive tyrant. Sometimes there is no break. For example, when treason is hushed up, but the questioner himself somehow knows about it. As a result, the person still suffers a lot. A strong emotional pain runs through the card.
For lonely people, the Three of Swords predicts a new disappointment. The querent has a kind and open heart, and therefore they use it. Trust will not be justified. Potential partners are not ready to reciprocate. Moreover, people of this nature are not able to understand the position of the fortuneteller. They will not feel guilty for what they have done if they somehow hurt their loved one. The 3 of Blades can also indicate the presence of grievances in the past. The querent still has not recovered from parting with his former partner. This can be the cause of loneliness in the present moment.
Career and Finance (Upright)
- Psychologically hard work, exhausting activity.
- Doctors, social workers, educators in orphanages.
- Betrayal for money, worries about finances.
- Inability to cope with the situation, lack of money, poverty.
In terms of work, the Three of Swords shows feelings about their activities. It is difficult for a person to deal with negative emotions. Often, work in the field of constant contact with people takes place on the card. Doctors, judges, the military – they all have to constantly deal with other people’s problems. Perhaps the querent passes negativity through his heart, sympathizes with others. This also includes professions – lifeguard, fireman, policeman. Here, the Arcana characterizes the person himself more, showing him as kind and sensitive.
The meaning of the Three of Swords in the field of finance will be negative. The questioner goes through a difficult time of lack of money. Funds are not enough for the essentials. In terms of material meaning, the card is very similar to the Five of Pentacles. Perhaps the querent takes care of his loved ones, helps a sick person. Indirectly, the Arcana speaks of monetary loss. This may be a financial fraud, a fraud not in favor of the fortuneteller. His trust has been rudely taken advantage of, and now the questioner feels betrayed.
Health and Spirit (Upright)
- A sick heart, problems with blood vessels or blood clots, veins.
- Heart attacks, vegetovascular dystonia, high blood pressure.
- The presence of severe psychological trauma, clouding of the mind.
- Constant tears, hypersensitivity to one’s own and others’ pain.
In terms of health, the Three of Swords has a correspondence with the heart muscle. In the upright position, the card speaks of inflammatory processes, damaged blood clots. The heart can not cope with the load, pressure can jump. Also, the Arcana symbolizes the acute phase of the disease. My chest starts to prick, it looks like my heart is squeezing a steel hoop. Myocardial infarction is on the card. At the same time, the age of the querent is not important – if this Arcana fell out, then there is a certain threat, a danger to health.
The mental state of the Three of Swords is very difficult. The man was severely traumatized. He became a victim of violence – physical or mental. Now, a person can constantly cry in order to survive a difficult stage. With tears comes all the pain, sadness. The upright position of the Three of Air indicates that traumatic events have occurred recently. The querent has not closed – his heart is able to live and feel. Just now, the strongest experiences overshadow everything.
Situations and Questions (Upright)
- Sufism, passing negative energy through your heart.
- Forgiveness of betrayal, remission of sins, innocence.
- Compassion for people, the world, animals and the absence of malice.
- Willingness to believe in the best, despite the trauma of the past.
Spiritually, the Three of Swords symbolizes the heart of Mary Magdalene. The seeker for the first time felt the pain of the world, passed it through himself. This will definitely affect his worldview. The traveler first encounters the true state of things, moves away from past illusions. Next, he will need to "melt" the negative energy. Sufis offer various meditation techniques, when a person symbolically breathes everything bad and dark into his heart. In the chest chakra – Anahata there is a change from minus to plus. And then follows the exhalation of light energy back into the world.
The Three of Swords asks questions: "What hurts me?" and "How to transform suffering into something good?". Christians always mention the salvation of the world. Here, the querent is invited to work in practice with the dark manifestations of the human essence. However, everything bad that was once done by people can be changed. The questioner has trust, honesty and compassion for this. The card symbolizes pain and healing, betrayal and forgiveness. The heart can take everything down and remain as open as before.
Meaning of the Reversed Three of Swords Tarot
- Anger, bitter ego, also forced measures.
- Revenge, the desire to punish the offender in the same way.
- Unfavorable external circumstances, the presence of danger.
- A long-standing resentment that influenced the formation of character.
If you turn the card over, the image of the clouds will move down, and the tip of the swords will move up. The clouds seem to absorb the rain back. And the symbol of the heart becomes the image of a peak – the tip of a spear. In the opposite form, the Three of Swords denotes anger, bitterness. The former victim is now turning into a tyrant herself. This metamorphosis is similar to the movement along the Karpman triangle – the rescuer-the persecutor-the victim. The situation according to this position of the Arcana forces you to close your eyes to your own feelings. The querent can trace in himself aggression, anger at the world. At the same time, such emotions always have a logical justification.
The reversed Three of Swords symbolizes the instinct of self-preservation. This is a situation where every man is for himself. Most likely, the behavior is forced. A person is not left a chance to be merciful and kind. In the reversed position, the Three of Swords speaks of revenge, selflessness. The boiling point has long been reached, and now the querent no longer feels anything. This is an affect, actions dictated by an unconditional reaction to a stimulus. However, sometimes the Arcana in the opposite form can indicate that the questioner himself acted unethically. In some cases, this is an indication of betrayal in the distant past.
Love and Relationships (Reversed)
- Anger at yourself and a loved one, unwillingness to let him go.
- Unforgiveness, hidden resentment, latent aggression and hatred.
- An attempt to recoup on another person, to avenge the past.
- Loss of faith in love, sincere relationships and trust in a couple.
The reversed Three of Swords Tarot gives an even more negative meaning to the love spread. If the partner has changed, then the querent will certainly answer him the same. There is no place for sincere forgiveness, acceptance of the situation. The person is embittered, but does not want to let go of his passion. Love turns into addiction. It is more like a disease than a relationship between two lovers. Long-standing grievances, quarrels and omissions were not lived to the end. All negativity accumulates inside the couple and one day it will come out.
For singles, the Three of the suit of Swords in the opposite meaning predicts the continuation of the current situation. All human behavior suggests that he is not ready to let someone into his heart. His soul is still suffering from past wounds. Perhaps the questioner subconsciously seeks to sting, humiliate the dignity of a potential partner. This defensive reaction of the psyche is an attempt to reduce the intensity of one’s own pain. In such a state, a fortuneteller can only find a victim on whom it is easy to recoup for previous humiliations. But this dangerous game has nothing to do with true love.
Career and Finance (Reversed)
- Lack of empathy, lack of involvement in the affairs of colleagues, clients.
- Unethical qualities of employees and poorly done work.
- Envy of someone else’s success, glory; arrogance, self-assertion.
- Dishonest ways to get rich, harm for the sake of money.
In the context of work, the Three of Swords reversed shows all the same professions as in the upright position. But now the querent is losing empathy for his clients, his colleagues. He becomes embittered. Someone else’s pain is so commonplace that now the questioner can even begin to make fun of those who suffer. Such a doctor leaves ugly scars after the operation, and such a volunteer hates those who need help. Work becomes just a way to earn money, without a spiritual background.
It is impossible to speak directly about finances for the reversed Three of Swords. The position of the card only shows the relationship of the querent to what is happening. The questioner always does not have enough money, he can envy and wish evil to those who, in his opinion, are more successful in life. Someone else’s success becomes a measure of their own level. A person turns into a greedy miser, who is always short of everything. Money becomes a way to solve internal problems. Often, according to the position of the Arcana, there are complexes that are trying to work out with the presence of a large amount of finance.
Health and Spirit (Reversed)
- Chronic problems with the heart, weakness of this organ, pain.
- Coronary artery bypass surgery, installation of artificial valves.
- Decreased sensitivity, humiliation of the weak for the sake of their ego.
- Self-affirmation at the expense of others, blind hatred or anger.
In the context of health, the reversed Three of Swords indicates the presence of foreign objects in the body. It could be artificial valves in the heart. In the worst case, the position of the card shows the needle in the organ left after the operation. The heart muscle fails, the pain becomes periodic. It is difficult for a person to do ordinary actions, help from the outside is needed. Often these are elderly people who need constant care. There is a huge risk of a recurrence of a heart attack. The querent should be careful.
The mental state of the Three of Swords reversed is read as unfavorable. The questioner did not fully live through the trauma and this left its mark. The person becomes nervous, arrogant. He gets used to suppressing others, bullying and asserting himself at the expense of the weak. The very manifestation of tears and gentleness is an unacceptable luxury. From now on, the former victim is trying to get used to the role of a tyrant. Person doesn’t want to work with the pain, try to get rid of it. On the contrary, psychotrauma provides a resource for constant anger and aggression.
Situations and Questions (Reversed)
- Hanging in the stage of Nigredo, the appearance of hatred for people.
- Self-destruction through negative emotions, thoughts.
- Denial of the very idea of love, adherence to the theory of power.
- An attempt to close, not to let others in, to move away.
In the context of spirituality, the Three of Swords reversed shows making a mistake. The traveler plunged into the depths of the unconscious, discovered hypersensitivity in himself. But the first encounter with real undisguised pain frightened the seeker. This kind of negativity is hard to bear. The way out is to pass suffering through the heart. However, following the protective mechanism of the psyche, the questioner closed. He became cold and unfeeling again. But now even more anger has been added to what is happening.
The Three of Swords in the opposite way asks questions: “What grief have I faced?” and “How not to give up?”. The ability to work with negative energies is akin to holiness. According to legend, Jesus Christ, Mohammed, Buddha could heal only by their presence. This same position of the card speaks of harm in word, deed, thoughts. Hatred of others is dictated by aggression towards oneself, in the first place. Energy moves in two directions, and therefore it is important to return to the spiritual search.
Three of Swords: Combination with other Tarot Cards
Advice and Warning of the Three of Swords Card
The Three of Swords that has fallen out in a straight position advises to truly live the pain. You need to face the truth and accept an unpleasant situation. The betrayal happened, a loved one has already shown his true insides. The querent can only observe himself, track his own feelings. Also, the Three of Swords card warns of the danger of denying emotions. Holding back tears will lead to uncontrolled aggression. This hatred will be directed at the querent himself. Suppressed negativity is fraught with the appearance of serious illnesses, mental disorders. No need to "keep a face" and try to look at ease.
When the Three of Swords is turned upside down, the advice changes. Now the pain should be reflected. If a person has been betrayed, then the enemy must be put in his place. The culprit must feel responsible for everything done by his hands. Here, the querent will feel like an executioner, executing criminals. In the context of the warning, the Three of Swords in the opposite sense, on the contrary, speaks of the danger of giving back. One has to go through a difficult period of one’s life. The nobility of the querent will help not to stoop to the level of a traitor. All attempts to punish will only bring more suffering to the questioner himself.
Three of Swords: Daily Card Meaning
If the card lay upright, then the Three of Swords shows a very difficult day. Today, the querent will learn about something bad. This event will bring with it an ocean of tears. Grief will be hard to bear alone. Perhaps negative situations will haunt you from all sides. These days will confirm the saying that trouble does not come alone. The questioner can find out about the betrayal of a spouse, the betrayal of a business partner. Such news will unsettle, paralyze for a while. The trust and devotion of the querent will only bring suffering. Today, a person will regret the time spent on unworthy people.
The reversed Three of Swords speaks of X-day. Today, the questioner can get even with enemies. The chosen method may not involve physical violence. Most likely, the querent will give preference to psychological tricks. Girls can get in shape, become more attractive. Then they will surely, as if by chance, pass by their former partner. If communication starts in the future, then the girl will take revenge on the man at the most unexpected moment. The position of the card speaks of ruthlessness, the desire to teach someone a lesson. Such an opportunity will present itself today.