Three of Swords as Card of the Day
First, here are a few select excerpts from the book that came with the 1995 Thorson’s edition of the deck:
The eye in the center of the heart … suggests an awakening consciousness. … The significance of the number three here is the rediscovery of consciousness on a higher level… Remember that pain has a purpose and opens the way to growth.
This interpretation coincides well with my thoughts that this card is not fundamentally about a “broken heart” which is a common view of it. As I tell students in my Tarot classes, heartbreak is an emotion, and while there may be an element of that in the Three of Swords, this card is in the suit of Swords, which is associated with ideas, thoughts, communication, etc. So an added depth of meaning for this card comes from considering how it relates to understanding or expressing sorrow and learning from it so we can become a better person. Consequently there are aspects here of growth and integration, which are traits associated with the number three.
The AT book also states, “This card … shows that your own thoughts are behind your suffering,” and this was very pertinent for me today since I was feeling down about a few things. This reminder helped a lot since it is something I’ve been working with lately as I’ve been reading The Law of Attraction, by Esther and Jerry Hicks. That book says that our thoughts create our reality, and since they do, when negative thoughts arise, we should shift to positive ones instead. (Yes, that’s a gross simplification, but it’ll do for now.) When I started doing that again, I did feel better.
Thoughts about how we’ve been hurt or wronged or misunderstood (or whatever the unfortunate case may be) can have a tendency to repeat over and over again in our minds, but that does us no good. In fact, it does us harm. It’s important to remember that this can be a great way to view the Three of Swords — as a warning that negative thoughts (symbolized by the down-thrust arrows) can cause us sorrow (the wounded heart in this card) and as advice to avoid that.
Image and text from the Alchemical Tarot are © 2000 by Robert Place and Rosemary Ellen Guiley.