Tarot Card meaning for the Three of Swords

In the Three of Swords, we see a heart pierced with three Swords. At first sight you may associate this card with heartbreak, however there are alternate meanings. For example, getting to the heart of a matter, or cutting through an emotional problem (which in turn can be very liberating). Think about what these Swords could represent individually.

The Three of Swords as a day card

Today we might get an opportunity to get to the heart of the matter. What are the three main things that touch and affect your heart? Are these things positive or negative? Traditionally this card is associated with some form of heartbreak however don’t limit yourself to this explanation only. For example, if we use this card to get three things ‘off our chest’, so to speak, the card can have a very positive impact.

Negative or Reversed meaning for this card

Being in a situation where there is likely some heartache. Why is this the case? Do you want to stay here for a while and experience the emotions or could you do something to take your mind of things?

How this card could present itself in real life

The Three of Swords is a hard one in regards to a real life example. I think most working women can relate to a feeling that we would like to be with our child (sword 1), we would like to be more at home (sword 2), but we also enjoy our work and really don’t want to give that up (sword 3). This card is about accepting that things cannot be perfect and there are rarely big decisions without some pain or regrets about missed opportunities elsewhere.

How the card is represented in other tarot decks

The Osho Zen deck shows being separated from the emotions, not allowing ourselves to truly feel them. The Celtic Dragon Tarot shows us the tension that is present with the number three as it is a somewhat unbalanced number. The Crowley deck shows us the pressure and negativity that does live in this card. It could damage the beautiful flower in the middle which could represent something important in your life. So they are different dimensions within this card, but all the decks do work with a similar theme.

Note: Especially with the Air element in the Tarot which is represented as a Sword card in the Rider Waite deck, there is a lot of ‘argument’ and there are several different ideas about weather Swords should represent Air and what else could be used. This leads us into a fairly advanced Tarot conversation - at this stage remember that Swords in the Rider Waite deck does not necessarily mean swords in another deck. Tarot creators could have changed Swords with Wands or replaced Swords with rainbows or crystals to name a few. This is not wrong or right it is another way of thinking about the different elements used in the Minor Arcana of the Tarot cards.

If you have multiple decks, it might be interesting to have a look at how the Swords are represented.

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