Three of Swords

Upright/Well Dignified: This is never a good card to pull in a reading, as there is no two ways about it: the three of swords is about pain. It’s occult title being Lord of Sorrow, it doesn’t bother to beat about the bush about it’s meaning. The three of Swords is one of those cards that can bring to mind your worst heartaches and in extreme cases, it can hint at suicide attempts that have been made previously. Disharmony has been a major contributing factor and the emotional effect has been in many cases, agonising. If there are Cups cards surrounding it, then the effects can be lessened, especially with the nine or ten of Cups.

The emotionality of the three of Swords lie in the details. This card, shown in the Rider Waite deck as being a heart with three swords in it, has extremely strong imagery, but within this is the understanding that the problem is not the swords, but the heart. The heart, while pierced, doesn’t bleed. This tells me that the heart isn’t trying to move blood at all. The heart is frozen and won’t move until the swords are removed. To continue pumping would ensure that the swords make further cuts, so in order for the heartaches to cease, there needs to be a removal of the blades.

In this card, the blades are painful thoughts or memories that are impeding the heart from going where it needs to go. The heart wants what it wants, so it needs to not be held in place by thoughts that not only trap it where it is, but inflict all kinds of unnecessary pain as well.

There is also the possibility of news that will be painful enough to cut you to the core. This news could be of a family death, information concerning a betrayal or a disastrous situation coming to pass. Here, it is important to remember that all these things will pass and you can heal from whatever you experience here.

Reversed/Ill dignified: When the three of Swords is reversed, it might be a sign that whoever this card is pulled for may very well be getting in their own way, or worse, trying to be a martyr for an undeserving cause. This card can be a strong sign that this person may be punishing themselves, whether they consciously realise that they’re doing it or not.

Alternatively, this card reversed can also be a sign of healing, within certain parameters. When reversed, it could very well be a reversal of negative thoughts that have been impeding you. A change in perspective can be extremely useful in removing some old thought patterns that are unnecessary, or even harmful. This reversal hints at the fact that the situation is safe to let yourself heal, so it’s time to do just that.

Beware though, once the swords are removed from the heart, there is often a feeling of emptiness and sometimes you almost find yourself missing the pain. Don’t fall into the trap of recreating situations in order to catch glimpses of something that is gone forever.

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