(The above image is a copy of The Three of Swords card in a standard Rider-Waite Tarot deck. The 3 symbols pointed out above are explained below.)
While the Two of Swords illustrated what swords can do for you, the Three of Swords illustrates what swords can do against you. By their very nature, swords can hurt us and cause trauma. The Three of Swords suggests working through that trauma in order to come out stronger.
For more information about The Three of Swords card, check out A. E. Waite’s description here.
Point 1 – HEART
Like the Eight of Wands, the Three of Swords is one of those rare cards that doesn’t depict a human figure in it. Instead, we get a close up view of the most important part inside a human, the heart. The heart is the center of our emotions. Without it, there is no Tarot. Its gigantic size in the card illustrates the power and authority of the organ. Its depiction also indicates the necessary combination of emotional strength and intellectual strength.
Point 2 – SWORDS
The three swords depicted in the card, pierce the heart without making it bleed. This can be interpreted in a few ways. Positively, it could be interpreted as the union between the intellect and emotions, as described above. Negatively, it could be interpreted as the pain one feels when others use their intellect against us. In this interpretation, there is however hope in that the heart remains intact even after being stabbed. Whatever pain we may feel, it cannot break us.
Point 3 – RAIN
Behind the stabbed heart, there are storm clouds and streaks of rain. The melancholy atmosphere reflects the pain of a heart stabbed. Some scholars have also noted that the streaks of rain appear similar to streaks of a mirror, make the card a reflection of ourselves.
An Upright Three of Swords indicates that you have experienced a deep hurt recently. Someone or something has pierced your heart and you are grieving. In times like these it is important to express your emotions and to let it out. The pain you are feeling is valid and real. Despite this, have confidence that it will pass and that you will become stronger afterwards.
A Reverse Three of Swords suggests that you are the one stabbing your own heart. Perhaps you are plagued with a hypercritical nature and self-worth issues. While self-criticism can be valuable in become conscious of your surroundings, too much of it can lead to alienation and arrested development. A Reverse Three of Swords encourages you to take care of yourself. Spend some time every day to recite affirmation. In order to love other people, you must first love yourself.
For more Tarot Card Meanings, check out our blog here.
About the author: John Taylor is a content writer and freelancer through the company Upwork.com. You may view his freelancing profile here. He has a B. A. in English, with a specialty in technical writing, from Texas A&M University and a M. A. in English from the University of Glasgow. You may view his previous articles about Tarot here and his LinkedIn profile here.