Three swords pierce through a red heart. Grey clouds and dark rain hang in the background.

A miserable and fateful looking card at first glance. Three swords pierce through a heart, crossing on their way. The obvious meaning that jumps from the card is one of doom and gloom, of heartbreak to come and a depressing time ahead for us. We may experience the end of a relationship or suffer a loss of some kind. The loss could be emotional or mental rather than a physical loss.

three-of-swordsThe swords through the heart also suggest an element of betrayal, one that hurts us badly. We may be breaking our promises to somebody or a close one may be about to betray us. Another meaning associated with the swords through the heart is that of grief.


Even though the meaning of the card is often interpreted in the emotional sphere, the suit of swords themselves is indicative of the mental sphere. Therefore, our loss or hurt is caused by a calculated effort, not something that occurs randomly. Somebody will have thought through a betrayal scenario, or someone has been thinking of the outcome of a relationship break-up. The underlying message is that our hurt or loss is not something that occurs by chance or bad luck, but something that occurs as a result of logic and reasoning.


Threes are also the final part of the Trinity. The number three gives meaning to one and two, three gives us a reference point. It gives us three dimensions. It is a reflection of the divine. It is the condensation of the divine on earth and is a new beginning and end in its own right. The Three of Swords suggests that while we may suffer heartbreak or emotional sadness, we should be aware that this could prove to be a period of growth. Our mind offers us the possibility to both learn and move on from our heartbreak and it may be a time to listen to our head rather than be ruled endlessly by our broken heart. We will need to find strength to overcome our loss and that strength will come from the mind.


The three of swords could be as a result of the two of swords where we had a choice that we needed to make but our preference was to avoid or hide away from that choice. In the Three of Swords, we have finally faced up to that choice and seen it through. Even if the outcome is sadness as depicted in the Three of Swords, this is part of the journey that we are on.


swords03Reversed: The Three of Swords Reversed warns us that we are wallowing in our loss. We may be overcome with grief or sadness. Grieving and emotional distress are all a natural part of overcoming a loss and provide a release valve for our emotions. However, we must not allow ourselves to become excessively caught up in sadness or grief, or ignore that life must go on. To do so is an injustice to ourselves and our own journey. The Three of Swords reversed warns us that we may be ignoring that lesson and that we need to look for a way to ”move on”. We may feel it cruel, ignorant or a betrayal of somebody to ”move on” but that is not to say that we forget them or stop loving them. We have to find a way to accept our situation as difficult as it may be and look towards taking just one step forward.


If we have caused heartbreak or sorrow to others, the Three of Swords reminds us of the pain we have caused. There may be within our gift the ability to heal or help those we have hurt and we should not ignore our potential to do so.

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