Three of Swords: Grief and Loss

While today’s card, just like today’s weather, initially felt bleak, I was surprised to find that it’s actually an optimistic card. It’s a reminder that pain is inevitable and a part of human life, but there is a time limit on it. It is even necessary, as you can’t appreciate the highs without the lows.

The lesson is so relevant to where we are in the pandemic — we have arrived at a new year with not much change. In fact, things have gotten slightly worse though the light at the end of the tunnel (the vaccine) is in sight. There’s a long way to go but I’ll hang on to the hope of that eventual high when we get to hug our loved ones again. And, I hope I never forget this period of grief where we learnt, grew and were grateful for the graces we didn’t see before.

Three of Swords from the Rider-Waite Tarot Deck

What you see: Three swords pierce a red heart that appears to be suspended in the air amidst stormy clouds.

What it means: The heart represents human warmth, affection and spirit, and the sword symbolizes the power to cause pain by words, actions or intents. The storm clouds signify suffering, but just as storm clouds pass so will the pain.

The story: The Three of Swords represents grief, loss and heartbreak; it is a low point in someone’s life.

Reversed meaning: Reversed, the card represents pain caused by yourself through self-harm or negative self-talk.

Reflection: This is the least subtle card in the deck so far. It shows a classic image that anyone would be familiar with — a pierced heart. The takeaway for me however, is the storm clouds representing how sudden pain can come but just as suddenly go away. Things will eventually get better.

My research sources:
A Complete Guide to the Tarot, Eden Gray, 1970
Tarot Card Meanings, Biddy Tarot
Card Meanings, Labyrinthos
Root Lock Radio: A Tarot Podcast

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Tarot Stories

A Canadian marketing strategist learning storytelling through the Tarot, and maybe finding the meaning of life along the way.