The Three of Swords follows on from the difficult choice made in the Two of Swords. Now we have to live with the fall-out from that decision. This card is more about thoughts and communication than about emotion. However, as we all know, painful thoughts lead to painful emotions. It is impossible to separate them. Nevertheless, threes signify expansion and, even with the difficulties presented in this card, there are lessons to learn and wisdom to be gained.
Consider the appearance of this card to be a warning of what could happen. This is the stage where you can do something about it by using your logical, sensible mind to deflect the unwanted emotion.
Three swords pierce a red heart. One points directly downward; the other two are crossed. The image is set against a background of gray clouds, sky and rain.
The Three of Swords represents the pain caused by cruel or careless words. It mirrors the pain we cause ourselves with self-judgment and negative thinking. It can also mean that we have somehow got our wires crossed when in communication with others, which leads to misunderstandings and heartache. Whatever happens, avoid thinking of yourself as a victim. Victims have no power – you are not a victim because you do have the power to decide how you think and what your next step will be.
Reversed, this card tells you to let go of past hurts. Hanging onto thoughts that no longer serve you can only do harm. Allow the pain to fall away and the cool rain to wash your heart clean. It may also represent anger; if you have to get angry, then do so, but don’t remain there.
Interpretations in Various Areas of Life
Everyone makes mistakes, and perhaps you just made one. Don’t overthink it. You can learn a lot from this experience as long as you don’t let yourself be overwhelmed by negative thoughts. Simply learn what you need to learn and remember that you are unlikely to make the same mistake ever again. Watch out for miscommunication. Make sure you give and receive instructions clearly. Ask for clarity.
The Three of Swords is a very uneasy card in a reading connected to love. It signifies a potential breakdown of the relationship, loss of trust, or a temporary break-up. Temporary, because these things are often caused by speaking out of turn or misunderstanding what the other partner meant. Small disagreements can lead to big fights, but a willingness to put things right will enable you to clear up all difficulties.
Should the Three of Swords appear with the Lovers, then know that it is but a small disturbance in the ocean of your lifelong love.
This may not be the ideal time to be looking for new love; you are still holding onto the pain caused by a previous break-up, or even some other traumatizing event. Attempting to heal by replacing the pain with another person is not the right thing to do, and it’s not fair to them. Time is the great healer, so allow a few more months to pass before hooking up with a new love.
You’ve lost money, and it hurts. There’s nothing you can do right now except wait. Things will improve; you’ve just got to get through this difficult time. Don’t go after new opportunities; you need to get your thoughts under control first. Sooner or later new ideas will come to you, and you can start again.
A visit to the dentist may be looming in your future. Like the Ace, the Three of Swords can mean minor surgical procedures. Don’t get stressed over the bad news as it can be detrimental to your well-being.
If this card appears in a spiritual reading, it can indicate a loss of faith and trust. You may not be feeling very spiritual at all because of sorrow or grief. This would be confirmed by the appearance of the Ten of Swords or Death. One day, you will feel the need to reconnect with your spiritual side, as it will give you comfort to draw on faith.