Three (III) of Swords

Improving Relationships Spread Interpretation

Work can be a stressful place to be when this card appears.  You may dread getting out of the bed each day.   You might feel that you have to watch your back at work as colleagues put you down in order to self-promote.   Great unhappiness in your chosen career  may be indicated. Maybe your heart is no longer in your work and it is time to move on.

How to Read The Celtic Cross Spread

In relation to careerall-out strike may occur if talks fail. Each side digs the Sword into the other where it will hurt the most. No one is happy in this situation. An unhappy working environment can become oppressive. There may be nasty comments from work colleagues and possible bullying going on in the workplace.  Someone may have it in for you in work and is deliberately trying to make your life difficult.  They may argue with you over every issue or pick holes in your work in front of others.

We will all encounter the energies of theThree of Swordsat some stage in our life for we will all experience loss, sadness or disappointment on some level.  How we deal with it will determine whether we grow in spirit and character or whether we let it wither and embitter us.

Each of theThree Swordsrepresents a painful truth or hard lesson that has to be learned and endured.  The longer theSwordsstay embedded in the Heart, the more entrenched they become and the more bitter and hardened it becomes.The Swordsmust be pulled out one after another to allow the blood/emotions flow so that healing can begin.  This may not be an easy thing to do because the very act of pulling thoseSwordsout may involve having to forgive someone, ask for forgiveness of another or even forgive yourself

Maybe you are grieving for a an affair that did not work out. Maybe he or she told you they would leave their partner and it has taken a long time to come to the conclusion that they wont. The disillusionment and waste of time may be overwhelming and a tirade of abusive angry slagging matches may ensue.  The affair may also have been discovered (check forSeven of Swords reversedandThe Tower)  and is now out in the open. You may lose the support of family and friends.  Your lovers spouse may turn up on your doorstep and dramatic emotional scenes are likely to occur.  Dont do anything stupid.

Lesson 7 The Four Fives & Sixes

In thereversed Three of Swords, the heart reverses and theSwordsbegin to fall out allowing much-needed healing to take place.  The potential heartbreak suggested in the upright may not have materialised as a result of taking action.  Through communication and compromise an unhappy situation may have turned around.

The 78 Cards Detailed Study Version(Card Description, Keywords, Upright & Reversed Meanings)

As we know, The Suit of Swordsdeal with communication, so one of the messages in this card  is to talk about your pain or loss and not keep it bottled up inside.  A problem shared is a problem halved.  When we keep things to ourselves our perception becomes very narrow. We can become fixed in our opinion and views.  When communication breaks down, great misunderstandings can occur.  Our mind can create all kinds of nasty scenarios, complete with villains and victims which we instantly believe.  We can waste years nursing our pain and blaming others based on pure speculation or presumption alone.  We may have it all wrong.  Seeking the help of a counsellor or just a good friend can throw light on the dark areas of our mind and soul.  It can help us see things in a different light and the unnecessary damage we are doing to ourselves.The Threeof Swordsadvises you to open up and let it go.

When you get a sense of that, do the same contraction and expansion exercise on all the remaining chakras until you feel control. This will put you in the driving seat as to the level of incoming and outgoing information you are comfortable with in any given situation. When reading, you should aim to open your chakras more than you would on a normal basis as you are dowsing or divining for information. However, it is very important that you contract them back once the reading is over. Before you pull your chakras back into normal operating position, you need to cleanse them of any psychic debris or unwanted energy contamination from a reading. You can cleanse your chakras by visualising white light or the violet flaming pouring down through the chakras. This can again be done by inhaling the light through the chakras and then exhaling the debris for cleansing. When you are finished visualise white light being sucked in through your crown chakra. Inhale it all the way down to the soles of your feet and allow it to pass through the floor beneath you which will help with grounding. Grounding is essential for anyone with brow chakras that tend to fly open at the sight of a tarot card! The more you practice this, the more your energy field will become accustomed to opening and closing as needed. You should cleanse and protect your reading space too. Here are some links to pages on my site with information on psychic protection, cleansing and grounding.

The 78 Cards Shortened Version(Keywords, Upright & Reversed Meanings)

Valentines Day Relationship Spread Interpretation

Cups Love and Romance Associations

Career Reading Full Interpretation Analysis

Wands Love and Romance Associations

Pentacles Health Interpretations Ace to Ten

Any tips to deal with these overwhelming feelings?

One question: when you say you visualize violet light is it because it is supposed to flow from the crown chakra?

The Three of Swordscan represent the legal battle in a separation or divorce.  The thirdSwordcan symbolise the Family Courts or Legal System.  The thirdSwordcan also symbolise a custody battle but look for supporting cards such asJustice XIin the Major Arcana and any of thePages.

The torrential rain in the background symbolises the flow of tears we find impossible to stem when our heart is broken.  Rain, however, is a powerful cleanser.  The downpour during a thunderstorm clears the air and washes away all unnecessary debris so that we can breathe once more. The earth looks renewed and refreshed after a thunderstorm.  Tears, like rain have incredible cleansing abilities and can greatly assist in washing away our sorrows.  As the rain bursts forth from the clouds it triggers a huge emotional release.

On the other hand you may be refusing to let the past go and are nursing old wounds.  Thisreversed Three of Swordscan suggest a separated or divorced person who refuses to move on preferring to stay in the past where they keep all the hurt and bitterness fresh. Nasty recriminating remarks that have gone well past their sell-by date continue unabated. Friends and family retreat,  adding to the feelings of isolation and victimisation.The Swordsare deeply embedded now and there is a refusal to move on.

Asthe Suit of  Swordsdeals with communication this card can suggest a vicious argument or conflict between three or more people. It can also suggest a falling out between friends.   Hurtful words from pent-up feelings and anger may leave you regretting what you said or you may be on the receiving end of insults and spitting remarks.  There is bound to be a highly-charged stormy atmosphere and all involved will be tense and easily provoked.

Cleansing, Protection & Grounding Methods

Sample Health Readings Minor Arcana

In relationships, The Three of Swords reversedcan bring reconciliation to a warring couple.  Tired of battle and possibly on the brink of separation, the door to communication finally opens encouraging honesty, compromise and understanding. A rocky marriage or relationship can stabilise as partners learn to communicate their needs, likes and dislikes to each other.

When theThree of Swords reverses, quarrels and disputes between families and friends should begin to settle.  You may have to accept your share of the responsibility and apologise.  The door to communication opens and all involved are prepared to talk instead of shout.  You may learn some hard lessons as a result of all the bitterness and anger.  However, with the reversed, the other extreme can be experienced.  The battle may intensify and there is a worry that things could really get out of hand.  Emotional overload and explosive anger may trigger aggression or violence.  Family feuds may become more intense and prolonged.

Heartbreak, Tears, Deep Sadness, Trauma, Grief Expressed, Emotional Release, Pour Your Heart Out, Time to Talk and Cry, Love Triangle, Deep Issues, Getting to The Heart of The Matter, Communication Breakdown, Gross Misunderstandings, Arguments, Angry Words, Painful Growth, Hard Lessons to Learn, Surgery

Looking For Love Spread Practice Reading

The imagery on this card speaks for itself.Three Swordspierce a dark red heart while rain pours down from a grey stormy sky.  The dark threatening skies symbolise the dreadful stress, pain and conflict this card is known to bring with it.  There is no getting away from it, theThreeof Swordssuggests heartache, loss, hurt feelings, loneliness and despondency.  The pain experienced by thisThreecauses confusion and bewilderment (symbolised by the grey clouds) as it can take people unaware.

Cups Health Interpretations Ace to Ten

Anyway, you are completely right, it is brutally honest. And to be honest, I got scared. It was telling me a lot of things that I was not prepared to (consciously) know. And every time I read the cards, it went a bit further into any situation I was asking about. Right now, for example. I have taken up your advice and started a daily simple reading, and they are just downright accurate. And from just a simple two card reading! The other day I was sick and decided to stay home. I drew two cards and got the five of pentacles reversed and the 4 of wands reversed. I found it so descriptive and encouraging. Something like Its good that you are staying home today, you will feel better. You need to stay home. Maybe I was reading too much into it. But well, to be honest I havent tried more complicated spreads, mine are pretty simple.

Swords Love and Romance Associations

Lesson 1- Some Interesting Information

Thank you for your lovely comment and glad you found the interpretation useful.

The Empress Relationships, Love & Sex Interpretations

Yes, the violet flame, or light comes in through the crown chakra and is washed down through the other chakras before flowing out into the ground below. If you cannot visualise, then just think the word violet or white repeatedly in your mind and also think as if you are standing under a waterfall of of this light which not only runs down over your body in a cleansing manner, but also through your body. You are right, not everyone is good at visualisation and it can be quite hard. Some people respond better when using other methods. When you need to learn something or concentrate, which way do you normally approach it? You are picking up on the subtleties of tarot so you are using other senses. Are you feeling the information rather than visualising it?

An unhappy working environment can change for the better due to the departure of a trouble-maker or the arrival of some fresh blood, releasing new energy all round.

Lesson 8 The Four Seven & Eights

Thank for your lovely comments. Yes, I think most people who have spent time with tarot will also tell you they have spent some time away from it too. Usually it is because it can be overwhelming at times, especially when it is being brutally honest. I think many underestimate the effect on our energy bodies when we begin to study tarot. Any study of metaphysics, or indeed holistic therapies open the chakras and increases our psychic awareness whether we are aware of it or not. When we pick up the tarot it is with the intention of accessing hidden or reluctant information from within ourselves or from others who seek a reading from us. By doing so we activate the brow (third eye) chakra and our dowsing skills. Both the brow and dowsing ability may have lain dormant for years or has be under-utilised. In some people the sudden activation can be quite strong while in others it can take a bit more effort and is therefore less obvious. Sudden activation can sometimes lead to feeling fearful of the cards as if they have a strong independent power. The power is generating from you, not the cards. The tarot cards simply act as a trigger or catalyst. It can be crystals that does it for another person, Reiki, rune stones, aromatherapy etc. When the third eye and dowsing skills activate rapidly they can cause a rush of impulses and flashes of insight, images, colour and increase our awareness of energy fields around us.

Wands Book of Love & Sex Card Five

Lesson 2 Essential Information

Health Interpreations of Major Arcana

*When we re-join the Swords on their journey in Card IV we will see how well they are coping with such levels of stress and discover where it will ultimately lead them.

The Knight of Swords Sample Reading V.1&2 Relationships

Lesson 3 The Tools of Tarot

Reading a Tarot Spread Analysis Chart

Improving Relationships Spread Practice Reading

Do you have any idea of why are the cards so compelling? I have been drawn to them since I was very little and I have the overwhelming feeling that they always speak so loudly that is why I ran away from them. Maybe I shouldnt, maybe I should.

Lesson 5 The Four Aces & Twos

Minor Arcana Four Suits Ace to Ten Snapshot Meanings

In a relationship readingThe Three of Swordssuggests heartbreak and conflict. Separation and despair could leave your heart torn apart.  Partners, spouses or lovers part company under a tirade of abuse and hurtful accusations. Angry words and bitterness cause tears and great unhappiness. Years of pent-up grudges, bitterness and resentment spew forth in a tirade of ugly scenes.  Communication may have broken down and dreadful misunderstandings may be at the root of the whole situation.  There is an urgent need to be open with each other and to speak honestly and calmly about the grievances on both sides.  Shouting and roaring will get you nowhere and you are bound to say things you do not mean in the heat of the moment.  It may be hard to take back hurtful words and accusations once they have left their sting behind.  There may however, be a third-party sticking their nose into a relationship by interfering and passing remarks.  This could easily be a friend or family member who is jealous, possessive or just has a bone to pick.

Swords Health Interpretations Ace to Ten

Lesson 9 The Four Nines & Tens

The Collective Unconscious, Archetypes and Symbols

This card can suggest that you are caught up in vicious office politics and pettiness.  Your workplace may be hostile with arguments and conflict among workers causing problems all round.  Try to stay out of it all but be on the look-out for bully type behaviour.  You may need to speak to someone in charge who has the power to restore order.

Hi Nick, In answer to your question about the Three of Swords being associated with a nun, I am not exaclty clear. It is an old association. Many of the traditional associations for certain cards are no longer relevant as they have become obsolete in modern times. There must be a connection with sorrow in here. Perhaps as a bride of Jesus, a nun had to live with the sorrow of never having proper relationship in the physical sense. Or we must also remember that very few nuns signed up to become nuns in the past but were forced in by family. They had to give up their life, their name, their identity and all hope of having a relationship. This must have been a dreadful sorrow to bear. Nuns also renounced all creature comforts and lived frugally. Theirs must not have been a happy lot. I must do some investigation into this. Perhaps other readers may be able to throw some light on this for us.

Looking For Love Spread Interpretation

Wands Encyclopedia of Love Installment II Extract

Wands Book of Love & Sex Five Reversed

Alternatively, an ongoing stressful situation begins to ease as workers drop theirSwordsand weapons and come to the table for talks. There is eventually an understanding that battle is futile and that compromises will have to be made on both sides.

The Three of Swordsis traditionally associated with surgery  or injury due to sharp instruments.  This card also represented a nun.

Thank you for creating this blog, it has helped me when the tarot was a big part of my sanity and now that I am looking into it again, after a year long hiatus. I find it very complete and enjoyable, specially the stories.

And what do you mean by interpreting it in a destructive or constructive manner? I dont think I completely understand that point. I have an example about a recent reading but it is really kind of personal to post it in the eternity of internet. Can I send you an email?

Bealtaine and The Feast of Our Lady

The Fool Relationships, Love & Sex Associations

The Three of Swordsin a career reading can also suggest working in a cardiac unit, grief-counselling, mediation and even acupuncture. With the traditional Nun association, it can also represent entering a religious order.


When theThree of Swordsappears in a reading heartbreak, grief, sadness and pain are suggested.  The pain may be so intense you might feel as though someone has stuck a dagger through your heart.  The suffering represented by this card is not confined to one area of your life so its presence can suggest anything and everything that cuts you to the core.  It could be the loss of a loved one, illness, a separation or divorce, a broken friendship, family disloyalty, betrayal, a job loss, exam failure or even the loss of a legal case.   In order to come out of this a better person it is important not to deny the pain or suffering represented by this card.  Instead, you must live through it, experience the sharpness of it, let it wash over you and be patient with it.  By living through the pain, only then will you know when you are beginning to heal.  Time heals and this time of suffering will surely pass.

Lesson 6 The Four Threes & Fours

As storms are known to clear the air, the clouds no longer dominate the background when this card reverses so hang on in there as you are nearly over the worst of it.  You must be patient with yourself as you still have some way to go but it is a very positive indication that clearer skies are only just beyond the horizon.   It may be hard to see any progress at the moment or you may feel that you do not have the strength to keep going but sometimes the darkest hour is just before dawn.   Your situation is beginning to improve when this card appears reversed.  The pain that has been acute for so long will weaken and the constant flow of tears will soon be a trickle for you have allowed your heart to heal.  You have endured your suffering and now you can begin the process of recovery.

We must remember that we are dealing with theSwords Suitin this instance, so with thisThree of Swordsthere is a good chance that these tears may not be travelling alone.  They will more than likely be accompanied by angry words and vicious arguments. If conflict and stress have been building then thisThreewill indicate that the situation has become a pressure pot of pent-up emotions and anger.  The numberThreebrings growth and development so if a row is brewing, then it is likely to blow.

If you have been drawn to the cards since childhood, then it is likely the images triggered the response in you and have ever since. All you need to do is pick up the cards and whoop, everything opens wide and you get an onslaught. This can be wonderful when we are trying to get to the bottom of an issue and when clarity is hoped for. Most readers actively want the cards to speak loudly to them and work towards that end. You may find their directness a little scary but if it is the truth they are offering you then you should not be concerned. That is unless you are opting for a negative association all the time. Are you interpreting their messages in a constructive or destructive manner?

The Horse Shoe Spread Interpretation

Sample Reading Free Association

Thanks a lot for the super quick response! And to be honest, I only said the truth. I havent read all your blog because it is HUGE. I know you have invested a lot of work and love in it, and it is one of the reasons why I love it. You know, I started looking for the meanings of the cards individually and after a few cards, found myself coming directly to your site and no other. And I am positive I am not the only one, I really dont know why it is not the first option in google search.

The surgery needed in the upright may not be necessary, an alternative treatment may be found or spontaneous healing naturally occurs.

The Three of Swordsin a relationship reading can sometimes suggest an affair or love triangle but one must look to surrounding cards for supporting evidence.The Three of Cups reversed,the Seven of Swords,The Moon, Lovers Reversed or Reversed Court Cardsmay hint at such a situation but tread carefully.

Also, I dont know how to visualize, it is very hard for me. Is it like imagining that your arm is moving while it is not? Or saying things without emiting any sound? how can I visualize things?

Lesson 11 Step-by-Step Guide to doing a Tarot Reading

Major Arcana Numerical Order

The stressful situation of theTwohas developed and now there is no getting away from pain and suffering.  Hiding behind a blindfold, refusing to take sides or make a decision is no longer effective in shielding you from an unpleasant situation.Three Swordshave been plunged deep into the heart and to where it hurts the most.  The intensity of the heartache can literally feel as if someone has just plunged a dagger through your heart.

The Archetypal Empress Relationships, Love & Sex PDF

The flip side to this card is instead of allowing healing to take place one suppresses their pain and grief. Although you are engulfed with hurt, grief and sadness you may find it impossible to cry.  The sadness and despair are internalised where they lie dormant inside, festering and deepening over time.  These suppressions need energy to survive and they take this energy from the energy we have to live. This can result in depression, physical illness or even a breakdown. The pain eats us up inside as we deny our sorrow and can easily be projected onto others as we blame them for everything bad in our life. Counselling or therapy may be needed in order to open and release suppressed feelings and emotions.

Lesson 10 Pulling It All Together

Psychic Protection & Chakra Cleansing

Archetypal Empress In Love Short Version

Release is key withThe Three of Swords. A great sorrow, usually rooted in the past, is often indicated with this card.  Painful memories can be heavily repressed.The Three of Swordshighlights the need to let go of old pains and hurts as they are bound to be affecting the present.   It is a time to talk about them.  Let all the associated sorrow flow through the tears that you have been holding onto for such a long time.  It is important to experience the pain and grief of your loss or sadness. Express it, not repress it.  You must open up and let it out before it poisons you from within.  Allow yourself to forgive and be forgiven.  Whatever is the nature of your pain, understanding and acceptance will come in time.  It isThe Swords Suitwho live by the saying What does not break me will strengthen me for they have much experience of it.  Patience is required of you now.

When thisThree reverses, great loneliness can be evident and one can feel cut off from normal life. Mental confusion, and in extreme cases, mental disorders may be suggested.  You may feel blighted with one trauma after another in your life.  You may believe that someone has it in for you or that you have been cursed.

This card is also depicted in other versions of theRider-Waite-Smithwith grey clouds building on a black sky. At the very bottom of the card the first signs of dawn appear on the horizon suggesting that although everything seems dark and depressing at the moment, light will come back into your life once again

The Knight of Wands Relationship Reading Practice

To be honest (and this embarrasses me a bit) I had not taken grounding techniques or the chakras very seriously, it was for me a bit like buying into the juju and I resisted it, the same way I resisted the cards and the images. Thanks for the links, they are very informative.

Wands Health Interpretations Ace to Ten

In a career spreadThe Three of Swordsindicates unhappiness in the workplace or the shock of losing a job. Strikes and protests may have brought everything to a stop. There is bound to be a lack of communication between opposing parties which will lead to strife and recriminations.

Heartbreak, Tears, Deep Sadness, Trauma, Grief Expressed, Emotional Release, Pour Your Heart Out, Time to Talk and Cry, Love Triangle, Deep Issues, Getting to The Heart of The Matter, Communication Breakdown, Gross Misunderstandings, Arguments, Angry Words, Painful Growth, Hard Lessons to Learn, Surgery

The Threesgenerally indicate growth but theSwordsapproach this in the most difficult manner suggesting that there is no gain without pain. Often after we have healed we find ourselves stronger and wiser.  We can thus experience a growth in our personality and character even if we have gone about it the hard way.

Major Arcana Abbreviated Meanings

Practice Health Readings Minor Arcana

Sample Tarot Readers Code of Ethics

The Horse Shoe Spread Practice Reading

Upright and Reversed Fives Training Exercise

Upright and Reversed Fives Training Exercise

Pentacles Love and Romance Associations

If you are experiencing overwhelming feelings when you work with tarot, it is probably an indication that you are too open, as in your chakras are flying wide open. This will exhaust and wear you down. It will be the reason you put the cards aside. I am not sure if you practice any form of psychic or energy protection before and after reading. If you dont then it might be a good idea to start there. You need your chakras open during a reading to channel information, but no so open as to overwhelm you. Practice chakra exercises that teach you to expand and contract your chakras and energy fields.

The Three of Swordscan suggest that malicious rumours or gossip is spreading about you and you may be surprised to find out where it is coming from.  Look for thereversed Three of Cupsas those who are meant to be your friends could be happily sticking daggers in your back.The Three of Swordsasks you to speak up and get to the heart of the matter for all may not be what it seems or what you think.  Act now before you say something you might regret and before the situation gets any worse.  If friends are involved then you are bound to be feeling very shocked and betrayed.

The High Priestess Relationships, Love & Sex Associations

Can you elaborate on why/ how this card represents a nun?

Re the manner in which you are reading constructive v destructive I ask this because over the years I have taught tarot, it is quite common in the earl

The Magician -Relationship, Love & Sex Associations

Thank you for this. Very helpful in my reading

The Celtic Cross Spread Sample Career Reading

Healing, Sharing Your Problems/Repressing Your Problems, Suppressing Painful Memories, Loneliness, Mental Confusion, Violence, Aggression, Bullying, Refusing to Let Go, The Worst is Nearly Over, Storm is Passing, Compromise, Reconciliation, Surgery Avoided

An easy method is to stand in a relaxed state of even breathing. Visualise your root chakra and inhale deeply. As you inhale visualise your root chakra contracting as if controlled by a muscle. On the exhale, do the reverse by expanding the chakra. Repeat this several times until you get a strong sense of contraction and expansion. When you feel comfortable with it, set the intention that you are going to expand your root chakra and then contract it to just the right balance, not too open and definitely not too closed down, so that you are in control of your energy field.

Unexpressed grief from the past may be causing problems for you in your relationship.  This may result in you bringing unresolved issues and negativity from a previous relationship into your current one.  If you have been badly hurt in the past this reversed card could suggest that you are avoiding relationships for fear of drawing further pain and disappointment to yourself. You must understand that not every relationship will dissolve into pain and hurt.  You must learn to trust again and speak about your concerns.

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