Three of Swords Revisited
That really makes me look at the 3 of Swords in a different way.
I have trouble with this card and really appreciate your post giving a different way to look at it.
Love your added interpretations for this card.
So I thought I would add a few other thoughts about this oft-maligned card, since it seems that a lot of people could use some new perspectives on it.
To heal a wound or be it?
In the comments section of the prior Three of Swords post, some people used the metaphor of a wound to shed light on the Three of Swords. Similarly, a few months ago I came across the following quote (which is from the July 17 entry in The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo) that I had associated with this card: “Ultimately … we are faced with a never-ending choice: to become the wound or [to] heal.” The message here, which perhaps we can see sometimes in the Three of Swords, is that we cannot avoid or disallow the pain of living, but we shouldn’t let it define us.
I once heard that the Chinese ideogram for the word “busy” is a combination of the ideograms for “heart” and “killing”. This, of course, called to mind the Three of Swords, and inspired me to realize that it can convey a meaning of keeping busy in order to avoid or quell (i.e., kill) your emotions (i.e., heart). For example, the Three of Swords might indicate a workaholic who avoids dealing with an unhappy marriage or home life through keeping busy at work.
A few years ago, while reading The Heart of the Soul: Emotional Awareness by Gary Zukav and Linda Francis, I came across similar thoughts. That book mentioned that indulging in over-intellectualization is another way to avoid feeling our emotions (such as pain and fear) and exploring what those emotions mean. In the case of a workaholic, it is activity that keeps our mind busy and off our feelings. In the case of over-intellectualization, it is a sterilized or clinical view of a concept or situation that allows us to avoid exploring its “feeling” aspects, to keep those aspects at arm’s length. This is not to say that we should approach life emotionally instead. Rather, it suggests that we need to strike a balance — we should be in touch with our emotions, but not enthralled by them.
The Three of Swords is not usually very well-received when it comes up in a reading, so I hope these thoughts about it will expand our set of possible meanings for it and make it a more “well-rounded” card. If you have further insights into this card, I will be happy to hear about them.
 I have subsequently heard that this is not exactly true. But regardless of the true structure of this ideogram, this inspiration brought me to some truths about the Three of Swords.