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The Three Of Swords Tarot Card Meaning Upright and Reversed

The Three Of Swords Tarot Card Meaning Upright and Reversed

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When we go through the lesson of the Three of Swords Tarot card, we are faced with the intangible aspects of life; the world of ideas and justice…transformed into pain. Whether it is emotional or physical pain, this card acts as a warning of an event that will, perhaps literally, break our heart.

Because it is a card of the suit of swords, it corresponds to the air element. Therefore, it is associated with imagination. It pertains not only what you think about the things that happen around you, but also what you perceive and believe about them. It is everything you choose to ignore, whether consciously or unconsciously, that remains there waiting for you to address it.

However, the apparent meaning of “painful” cards such as these also pose a lesson regardless of perseverance and transformation. Yes, this will be a hard time, but know that after every storm, the horizon is painted with a rainbow. All challenges can be seen as an opportunity for personal growth and development.

The loss of a friendship, discovering a betrayal, getting divorced…all of these are experiences that we would prefer not to have to go through. If we must, however, it is up to each of us to recover. We must once again stand with our heads held high and our hearts open to re-experiencing happiness.

Three Of Swords Tarot Card Keywords:

Upright: Loneliness, deception, sadness, rejection, betrayal, separation, loss, unexpected pain, suffering, emotional pain, loss, anguish, witchcraft, backstabbing, broken heart.

Reversed: Heartache, evasion, emotional healing, grief, difficulty dealing with emotions, bitterness, recovery, emotional paralysis, optimism.

Description of The Three Of Swords Tarot Card:

There is no doubt about it. Just by looking at the representation of the Three of Swords Tarot card, it is crystal clear that we are facing a painful situation. The image of three swords crossing a heart that floats in a gray and rainy sky doesn’t leave much room for imagination. Everything indicates that it will be an emotional time full of difficulties for our querant.

The gray clouds and the rain evoke the blockage of solar energy, emotional collapse, and sadness. The rain is a metaphor of crying, and it reflects the querant’s melancholy, deceptions, sorrows, and grief. Remember, though, rain is indispensable for nature, flora, and fauna. Unlike The Tower Major Arcana, there is no visible thunder destroying everything like in The Tower Major Trump; there is instead a healing rain falling from the sky.

How to interpret the symbolic world of The Three Of Swords Tarot Card:

The emotional pain foretold by the Three of Swords Tarot card can feel as real as three swords crossing your heart. Yet at the same time, as it is associated with the air element, as such, it remains intangible. It is therefore connected with ideas and painful emotions.

A human heart floats in the air, completely exposed without skin or bones to provide protection from the elements. Because of this, the heart is subject to the wrath of the elements: the gale, the rain, the thunder. In some ways, this unprotected heart reflects how we have often opened ourselves to others by confessing our feelings, opening our hearts wide to people who undervalue it.

On the other hand, we should ask ourselves if the querant sitting at our table has allowed certain people to enter their lives without knowing if they are reliable. The Three of Swords Tarot card is, at some level, an allusion to innocence, to the harshness of living in society, to being vulnerable, and to losing everything.

The three swords that are crossing the red heart represent two main concepts: witchcraft and betrayal. Both processes seek to harm a person by using different means. Someone is trying to truncate your projects, sabotage your relationships, and cause you to suffer. Take care to remember that this “someone” is usually very close to the querant. Sometimes, it can even be the querant themselves.

The Three of Swords Lesson: Picking up the pieces

Up to a certain point, the Three of Swords Tarot card represents the connection between emotions and ideas. That which inhabits both our minds and our heart can completely take control of our ability to reason and process feelings. If you think you are a winner and feel optimistic and confident about yourself, you will find solutions to any problem quickly, and you will project that energy wherever you go.

On the other hand, if you feel insecure, unattractive, and pessimistic, you will tend to find imaginary enemies wherever you go. This will create unnecessary tensions in your relationships. Even worse, if you have problems externalizing your emotions, it will all add more unnecessary drama.

As humans, we are a cluster of ideas, emotions, and energies constantly interacting with our environment and other people. We affect and influence those around us in the same way that they can change and influence us. For example, in a scene like the one depicted in this card, we have stumbled upon a painful moment, a surprise that has turned our life upside down and made our fears come true.

Mediations for reflection

Sadness, despair, and disappointment are all valid and necessary emotions that help us handle grief from relationships, projects, or dreams that have come to an end. Connecting with painful emotions is essential for us to heal and learn from our past experiences.

Do you know how to differentiate when you are upset and when you are sad?

How do you cope with your emotions?

Have you looked for new tools and strategies to communicate your emotions effectively?

Connecting with pain helps us generate empathy. On the other hand, the Three of Swords Tarot card indicates that once we have managed to heal our wounds, it is necessary to regain energy. It is essential to get out of the depression, get back on our feet and start walking towards happiness. Remember, there’s always the risk of becoming too comfortable with misery.

The upright position of the Three Of Swords Tarot card:

Upright (3) Three of Swords Tarot Card Meaning – Minor Arcana
Upright (3) Three of Swords Tarot Card

If we are doing a Tarot reading and we find the Three of Swords Tarot card upright, an unexpected event is about to come to light and will significantly affect the querant’s emotions. There will be an error, a discovery, a truth, or a medical diagnosis that will change their situation dramatically.

This card tells us that a painful, surprising, and temporary situation is looming. Conflicts, betrayals, revelations, tears, and emotional suffering may be looming in the future. It may feel almost as if someone is stabbing you directly in the heart, breaking it into a million pieces. You will be able to pick them all up, however.

The appearance of this card upright works as a warning. You may be able to change your fate by keeping an eye on what is happening around you, but it is also possible that you may not. In either case, this warning can help us to keep an eye on what is happening so that you do not get caught off guard or it can help us be prepared to digest the bad news more easily.

Alternatively, it can indicate that the querant could be holding on to a heartache or a resentment that has not allowed them to move on to another relationship. Another possible meaning is that if you continue on your current course, you could be the architect of your own demise. Evaluate your behavior and actions to see if perhaps you are digging your own grave.

The meaning of the upright Three of Swords Tarot card when it comes to:


If the Three of Swords Tarot card appears in a reading about love, the result is very disappointing. This card can augur anything from love triangles to infidelities. In the case of singles, it is better not to commit or take things seriously for the next few weeks.


Maintaining a positive outlook on your recovery will help you improve your health. If you feel sorry for yourself, sadness and anguish will serve to your symptoms worse. When this card appears, it can be indicative of an underlying cardiac or circulatory problem.


Expect setbacks and cancellation of projects that will hinder your work progress. Traps, deceptions, gossip, and betrayals may abound in the office. Be wary of your co-workers, as they could be trying to replace you. The office may be laden with excessive competitiveness, which is conducive to a bad work environment.


This card shows monetary losses, bad investments, business betrayals, bad advice, and fragmented assets. It is better to take a break and reconsider your savings and investments scheme.

The meaning of the reversed position of The Three of Swords Tarot Card:

Reversed (3) Three of Swords Tarot Card Meaning – Minor Arcana
Reversed (3) Three of Swords Tarot Card

In the case of the Three of Swords reversed, the message does not change as dramatically as it does other cards. Instead, it mitigates its influence. It indicates that the pain of betrayal that is coming is predictable or expected. Common readings of this are that a very ill family member will die, a collapsing marriage will come to an end, or a suspicion of infidelity will be confirmed.

When this card is reversed, gravity works in our favor and the swords fall off to the ground. The rain stops. The darkness that hung over our hearts dissipates, and we can refocus on healing our past wounds. The time to forgive and move on has arrived. You have gained maturity, and you have grown and strengthened spiritually.

The meaning of the Inverted Three of Arcane Swords when it comes to:


After experiencing hard moments, both of you have taken a more mature attitude toward the feelings and needs of the other. You have the ability to forgive those who have hurt you, and more importantly, you have the ability to forgive yourself. Renewal and new beginnings are on the horizon.


You may be experiencing inconsolable sadness, anxiety, lack of energy, or sleepiness, which are all symptoms of depression. It is essential we tend to psychological symptoms with the same urgency with which we treat “physical” symptoms. Visiting the psychiatrist or psychologist will help you understand the process you are going through.


Your professional ego has been struck lately, but you have re-entered the arena for the promotion or project that you have been seeking. Have confidence in yourself and your talent! The recognition of others is important, but you should never doubt yourself.


Although you have gone through a great deal of economic distress recently, you can finally take a break and start to recover from it. Be careful with unnecessary expenses.

The Three of Swords Tarot Card Meaning Infographic - Minor Arcana

Rider-Waite images used with permission of U.S. Games Systems, Inc., Stamford, CT c. 1971 by U.S. Games Systems.