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Three of Swords Meaning - Tarot Card Meanings

By Tina Gong


Three of Swords Keywords

Upright Keywords Reversed Keywords
heartbreak, separation, sadness, grief, sorrow, upset, loss, trauma, tears healing, forgiveness, recovery, reconciliation, repressing emotions
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Three of Swords Meaning - Original Rider Waite Tarot Depiction

Three of Swords Tarot Card Description

One of the most iconic images in the tarot, the Three of Swords displays a floating heart that is pierced by three swords. Above it, there are heavy clouds. There is also a heavy downpour in the background. The symbolism is pretty opaque, and the emotional effect that it has is immediate. The heart is the seat of warmth, affection and spirit, and the three swords indicate the power to harm, cause pain, and create suffering to what it pierces. This is an image of grief, loss and literally heartbreak. The clouds and rain depict the surrounding grimness of the situation. All these symbols point to the Three of Swords showing a low point in one's life.

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Upright Three of Swords Meaning

The Three of Swords depicts the message of rejection, betrayal, hurt and discouragement. In moments like these, we are well served by the mind. If you can think logically about it and prepare for the experience, the impact of this pain may be minimized.

But remember too, that pain and grief are a normal part of life, because they make us appreciate what joy and happiness we have, as well as teaching us. It is through pain that we learn to be avoid mistakes that could lead us into danger and grief. It is therefore a necessity in the journey of life. The Three of Swords therefore is a depiction of suffering that is meant to make us stronger, more careful and more vigilant.

Sometimes life gives us no choice - we are knocked down. But what determines one's future is the choice of whether to remain down, or rise again.

Sometimes life gives us no choice - we are knocked down. But what determines one's future is the choice of whether to remain knocked down, or rise again. Each little piece of suffering you encounter serves as a stepping stone to find a deeper meaning in this world. This card comes at a time when you need to prepare yourself for this next stage in life. While the grief may be extremely hurtful, it enables you to forget your past and focus on your future knowing that you have control of what actions you take afterwards. Don’t dwell so much on what is troubling you but instead, focus on what is approaching, because you determine your fate. 

Upright Love Meaning Upright Career Meaning Upright Finances Meaning
breakup, argument, conflict, separation, sadness and tears conflicts at work, job loss, hurt feelings at work, feeling hopeless loss of assets, division of assets after break up

Tarot Love Meaning - Upright 3 of Swords

The imagery of this card is plain and simple; heartbreak is to come with the 3 of Swords tarot love meaning. This is likely to be a time in your life of tears, sadness and heartbreak. If you’re in a relationship, this can sometimes point to a breakup, a conflict, or some kind of separation. In the worst case scenario, since this card is a three, it can also point to a third party creating trouble in your relationship. You and your partner may have to face difficult problems in order to remain together. Without clear and respectful discussions and a willingness to work together, the relationship can reach its end. If you’re single, it may be that past grief and suffering is affecting your ability to date. Past wounds have not yet healed, and it’s important to give yourself time before you attempt to find love again.

Career Meaning - Upright 3 of Swords

Work can be a great source of stress, frustration and sadness for you right now. At worst, it can point to a sudden job loss, or collapse of a company. More commonly, it can signal some kind of conflict at work amongst clients and colleagues. If you’re dealing with this, make sure that you have honest and open conversations with your coworkers, while keeping things respectful. There’s likely a lot that you all can learn from one another. If you’re looking for work, or you have just lost your job, the search right now can leave you hopeless. Don’t be disheartened; if you can afford it, take the time now to recover from this period of anguish. It may provide you a more positive mindset for your job search.

Finances Meaning - Upright 3 of Swords

You may be dealing with a material loss right now, or at least something in your financial life causing you a lot of stress. A breakup has both emotional and financial consequences; you may no longer be able to afford your apartment alone, or you may have to split your assets in a divorce. All these things can be overwhelming now. Make sure to be gentle with yourself, but also remember not to avoid taking care of these things. Find support; you can make it through.

Three of Swords Reversal Meaning

The Three of Swords reversed indicates that have faced a recent loss, a break-up or a moment of grief. You may be still recovering from this, and your emotions have not completely calmed, making it difficult to move on. Although you may still be thinking of your past suffering, this card may be a signal that it's time to let go and look forwards towards life ahead of you, because there is much for you to enjoy.

Many don’t see this, and they end up being immersed in their own pain for too long, delaying their own recovery process. Don’t focus too much on what happened, renew your emotions and gather your courage. The reversed Three of Swords card is here to let you know that all difficult moments pass - they are not there to stay, and when we fall, we can also rise again.

Reversed Love Meaning Reversed Career Meaning Reversed Finances Meaning
forgiving one another, moving on after pain, separation putting conflicts behind, developing better processes building savings, finding stability, severe grief about finances

Tarot Love Meaning - Reversed 3 of Swords

With the reversed 3 of Swords tarot love meaning, lovers may find themselves settling their conflicts and forgiving one another. There is a desire here to heal, and move past old wounds, while looking forwards towards the future. For singles, this often means finally getting over past heartbreak, in order to be fully present in your dating life again. However, this card can also sometimes instead suggest the very opposite. Wounds may not be healing, but they may be repressed, so they fester and create resentment. Partners may not be able to forgive one another for past hurts. Sometimes, in these cases, it can be better for both to move on.

Career Meaning - Reversed 3 of Swords

Things at work are starting to become bright again. Stressful conflicts are beginning to resolve, and your outlook and general happiness are improving as well. Your colleagues may have moved on from the conflict, or the person that was causing frustration has left. Everyone at work may instead be focusing on forgiving past mistakes, and working together on the future. Communication has improved, and there may be new processes in place to avoid the mistakes of the past. Sometimes though, this card can also point towards a worsening of circumstances, where instead of putting issues behind them, they can hold grudges and remain negative. Surrounding cards will give more context.

Finances Meaning - Reversed 3 of Swords

If you’ve been suffering from financial setbacks, the reversed 3 of Swords can signal that improvement is coming. You can be rebuilding your savings, or finding yourself in a better, more stable financial position than you were in before. Alternatively, this card can also indicate that the level of emotional grief after a financial loss is getting worse. If you’ve gone through a big loss, you may find it very difficult to adjust your spending habits, or give up your past living standards. Not accepting the truth of your position often makes a tough situation more difficult.

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Three of Swords Tarot Cheat Sheet

Three of Swords Meaning - Tarot Card Meanings Cheat Sheet. Art from Golden Thread Tarot.

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