Heart-break, Pain, and Rejuvenation, what the Three of Swords means in your suit

How to determine how this card applies to your life.

Three of Swords tarot card with yellow background.

Image courtesy of Darcy Wuerdeman.

The Three of the Swords tarot card is a minor arcana card that represents pain, heartbreak, and sorrow. The symbolic representation of the three swords piercing the heart displays the sharp blades of an unexpected turn of events that can throw you directly into depression. It represents the breaking up of a significant relationship with deep meaning within your life. Whether that relationship was a romantic one or a platonic one, the end of a cherished bond between two individuals can be a tragic event for every person, whether it was decided between the two of you that the relationship just isn't reciprocal as it once was, or it was a gradual distancing between two people that were once very close. Regardless, this pain is going to have deep significance and linger upon each person's mind within the relationship. 

In this article, we’re going to do a deep dive into the three of swords and discuss:

  • The upright and reversed meanings of the card
  • The advice and significance the Three of Swords supplies
  • What the card says about your health and financial situations

Ever heard the phrase "the truth hurts"? This expression is exemplified perfectly on this card. Whether hearing that your significant partner was disloyal or your best friend has been talking distastefully behind your back, The Three of Swords shows us that sometimes the truth is something that can hurt us deep down. Alternatively the truth will set you free. Of course, hearing these words is going to hurt for a little while, but the truth will always set the soul free. So give yourself time to heal from this wound and know that the individual you are close with is not contorting your perception of reality anymore. 

The Three Swords also show that we must let go of what hurts us deeply. A toxic relationship between people is not suitable for either participant. Although ripping the bandaid off may sting at first, healing will begin after the initial pain is over. After all, time heals all wounds, so have patience and be thankful that the tormenting relationship (Platonic or romantic) you have been subjecting yourself to is over. And if it was meant to be, it would be--this world has a way of bringing people back together who are supposed to be together. 

The Three of Swords also reminds us of our strength and resilience pushing through whatever suffering we have to endure. Life truly is suffering and the fact that we are able to push through the tragedy that we call life, then we grow not only as people but also spiritually. 

Person holding LED light in the shape of a heart. 
Heartbreak is something that we all experience just be patient, time heals all wounds.

Upright meaning: 

Upright the three of swords shows us that the wound of a broken relationship has just opened. That it is now a time for mending, healing and self care. Now is a good time to delve into your spiritual/religious nature and seek the answers you desire. Remember that it is always okay to feel upset but keep doing the things that you love. Our inclination to reject productivity is more harmful than good. Keep trudging through the storm because brighter days are ahead. 

Reversed meaning:

The storms of the heart ache have now cleared. The sadness, depression, and anxiety of losing that significant individual in your life have all but gone. Now it is a time of redemption, to regain that charismatic voice that bellows within the confines of your soul. Seek deeper relationships with new individuals and try to strike up conversation with the next polite person you see. 

Stressed man sitting on a bench.
Letting go of people can be really hard, but sometimes necessary when they are tearing us down.

The advice from the Three of Swords:

The Three of Swords gives us a warning about the individuals we surround ourselves with, to communicate with our closest friends, relatives or significant other. We need to be open and honest with our communication, address any issues within our relationships, or (if it comes down to it) separate ourselves from that person. It also advises us to be more independent and rely on ourselves much more. We are more powerful than we give ourselves credit sometimes and if something seems off with one of your favorite people, just talk about it. 

Psychological Significance:

When we put ourselves into relationships, we expect them to be reciprocal and subject ourselves to complete vulnerability. It’s a risk and reward scenario. The risk is that we could possibly get hurt by the other individual, they break our trust or even try to manipulate the reality around us. But the reward is something amazing. Having another individual in your life to share your compassions with, to talk for hours on end about any topic you guys see fit or even just a movie night. This is where the Three of Swords come in, it reminds us how vulnerable we are in relationships and how heartbreak or even friendship heartbreak is a part of our lives. The the Suit of Swords especially pertains to the hardships of life and suffering has to come with the splendor of existence. 

It can also be extremely difficult to bounce back from a terrible friendship or intimate relationship. To trust someone after betrayal takes a ton of courage and vulnerability. Especially with how ego-centric the human being really is, it takes a lot of time and energy to re-commit to relationships. So let the Three of Swords be a reminder to take time if you are struggling with interpersonal relationships, remember that it is healthy to be vulnerable to other people and accept that suffering truly is one of the things that makes life beautiful. 

Upright Finance:

The upright three of swords can represent a constant slug fest towards your financial situation. Again, the sword suits have to do primarily with struggle but because of the minor arcana of the card it is not the worst hand to be dealt. Maybe you have just been let go from a job where you thought you were one of your boss’s close associates. The three of swords represents betrayal and that could be an exact scenario that one might have gone through. Remember that setbacks turn into bounce backs and that it's okay to fail sometimes. Try not to manifest this situation into malice and hatred, it will only take you closer to hell. 

Upright Health:

Your physical state may be affected at this course of time. An unexpected downturn in your overall health may be affecting you greatly, whether than be your mental or your bodily health. It is time to take some needed rest to hopefully get back to where you were before, and because this is the three of swords it may have just come straight out of the blue. Try not to curse the universe for sending you down a darker path, but the powers beyond our understanding send the toughest battles to fight for its strongest warriors and after you make it out of this tough situation, you’ll find peace in knowing that you have made it through. But be patient, after all it is a virtue. 

Reversed Finance:

Better days are ahead my friend because although you may have just experienced being let go from your job, a sharp turn in your investments, or have had to fork out a lot of money for a sudden emergency, the clouds are starting to clear. The main theme of the three of swords is betrayal and recovery. Betrayal being the upright position and reversed being your recovery. You can expect a turn around either with your career, the amount of money you have, or your investments. THIS IS NOT FINANCIAL ADVICE BECAUSE TAROT CARDS ARE SUBJECTIVE. But keep working hard at whatever you are working on and it will turn out for the better soon!

Reversed Health:

Hopefully you have been taking care of your mental and physical wellbeing, because whatever has been breaking down your immune system or sanity is sure to pass. This may also apply for other individuals within your life that have been suffering from any ailments. Keep taking yourself the way that you have been and keep faith in the fact that things will get better soon one way or another. Our reality always has a tendency to balance itself out in one way shape or form, yin and yang. Keep trudging forth, hold your head high and things will be much better soon.

Four of swords tarot card with blood dripping from blades. 
The blades of reality cut deep especially in times of vulnerability. Image courtesy of Modern Eden.

The Bottom Line for the Three of Swords:

Suffering is a constant through any individual's existence but it's all a matter of how you handle the cards that you have been dealt. Heartbreak is something that has been affecting all people since the first upright men were walking the earth, but it is just a matter of how you handle the pain and stress. There is a plan for everything that comes into your life, make sure you don’t lose your mind while grieving. 

Christian Mitchell

Christian Mitchell is a Biology major at Slippery Rock University. He has strong aspirations for writing and is seeking to become a freelancer.
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