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Everyday Tarot Deck
Upright: Heartbreak, emotional pain, sorrow, grief, hurt.
Reversed: Negative self-talk, releasing pain, optimism, forgiveness.
The Three of Swords shows a heart, pierced by three swords, with rain clouds in the background. The swords piercing the heart represent pain inflicted by words, actions and intent on the emotional and physical self. The dark clouds in the background mirror this pain, but also offer hope in that, just as the rain clouds will eventually disappear, so too will the pain and hurt you are experiencing.
NOTE: The Tarot card meaning description is based on the Rider Waite cards.
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Everyday Tarot Deck
When the Three of Swords appears in a Tarot reading, it is sign that you are feeling deeply hurt and disappointed. Your heart has been pierced with these three swords, through others’ hurtful words, actions and intention, and they have inflicted intense emotions of pain, sadness, grief, and heartbreak. These events feel even more painful because they are often unexpected and come out of the blue.
The Three of Swords is also about an emotional release. When you have suffered a major setback or loss, it is a good time to have a good cry, which is all part of the cleansing process. Expressing your sadness and letting it all out will then help you to move on to better times. Allow yourself the opportunity to truly feel and experience these emotions, no matter how painful – cry, shout, or scream at the top of your lungs. Do whatever it takes to be ‘in the moment’ of what you are truly feeling as this will help the emotions flow easily and effortlessly through you.
However, it is also important that you continue to focus on the future path ahead. There can be a risk that you may become overly absorbed in the loss and the surrounding emotions that you lose sight of the need to just let go and move on. The loss becomes your focus rather than the recovery. It is time to accept the loss and move forward with your life.
The Three of Swords comes as a reminder that pain, sorrow and grief are a necessary part of life. Without pain, you would never experience the challenges you need to grow and develop as a person. Every challenge you encounter creates some level of pain, which inevitably turns into an opportunity to grow stronger, learn from your mistakes, and ultimately change the direction of your life for the best. While the pain may cloud your vision for a certain period, it will eventually allow you to see clearly and to put the past behind you. If you can start to see pain as a learning opportunity, life will suddenly become less painful. You have the ability to conquer any pain that comes your way – all it takes is faith, self-love, forgiveness and time.
The good news is that this painful situation will pass. While the Three of Swords brings hurt and sadness, it is only temporary. Recovery from this difficult time can and will occur. The clouds will clear and soon you will have a better perspective on what you can learn from the situation.
The Three of Swords often appears when you are taking others’ words to heart. You may be more prone to internet trolls, workplace bullies or spiteful strangers. Or it may be closer to home, with those you love saying hurtful words to you. You are highly sensitive to what others say to you or about you, but remember that these are just words. You do not have to accept them as truth – they are simply another person’s opinion or projection of their own inner fears and anxieties. Shift the energy by looking at these people with a kind and compassionate heart – what struggles are they going through that they feel they need to project their insecurities on you? Be mindful, too, why it is that you are getting triggered by their words. Is there a deeper truth in what they are saying, that you might not be willing to see just yet? Use the pain and hurt to expand your perspective and see the bigger picture of what is truly happening here.
The Three of Swords reversed encourages you to pay attention to your inner thoughts and self-talk. Your words have power, especially the words you repeat to yourself day after day. You may be prone to self-criticism, limiting beliefs and negative self-talk. You may identify with an ‘inner mean girl’ (or boy) who is constantly telling you how you’re not good enough. When you hear these negative thoughts come up, ask yourself whether you would ever utter these words to a friend or loved one, and if the answer is a “Hell No!”, then ask yourself why are you speaking these words to yourself? Look at how you can shift your thoughts and self-talk towards the positive, so that you are reinforcing your confidence and self-belief that you have what it takes to be the person you deserve to be.
You may also be extra sensitive to others' words and need to develop a thick skin. Let go of the hurt that these words are causing you—it is only holding you back. And look at what has triggered your feelings and work on those core issues. For example, if you are upset by a friend’s accusation that you are selfish, look within yourself to see where you may be acting selfishly and if this is no longer serving you, then let it go.
The Three of Swords reversed can indicate that you have recently gone through a difficult patch where perhaps a relationship has ended or has experienced challenging times, a loved one has passed or you felt hurt from a situation that affected you deeply. Thankfully, the reversal of this card suggests that this time has passed, and you are on the path to recovery, realising that with every cloud is a silver lining and there are indeed other things in your life which you can feel happy about. You have reached a point where you can accept the pain and hurt and are ready to move on.
On the flipside, the reversed Three of Swords can also suggest that you are finding it very hard to move on from a recent loss or heartbreak. This card suggests that inside you are still suffering emotionally from a previous loss and need to go through an emotional purging process to allow yourself freedom from your past. You are doing your best to leave this behind and make a new life, but it is still a long journey ahead. Be careful that you are not getting stuck in the moment of grief, and instead you are focused on leaving behind your past and embracing new opportunities. It is always hard to bear the pain of separation or understand why you have been inflicted with such sorrow. Learn to accept your situation so that the healing process will not become blocked. Allow yourself to experience the pain, give yourself the right to grieve and release the heartache. Let it go, and then, once the upset, pain and tears have gone, open the door to new experiences. When you see the reversed Three of Swords, ask yourself, “In what ways am I suffering? What do I most feel sorrowful about? What can I do to release this pain and learn from it?”
If you are experiencing challenges in your relationships, the reversed Three of Swords serves as a reminder to be the peacemaker. Never be afraid to say you are sorry. Always think before you speak so that you will not later regret what you have said.