Upright: Painful separation, sorrow heartbreak, grief, rejection
Reversed: Releasing pain, optimism, forgiveness

The Three of Swords is a simply illustrated card with a difficult message. A heart, suspended in the air, is pierced by three swords. The heart is symbolic of emotion and beauty, while the piercing swords reflect the ability of logic and power to harm the physical body and the emotions of a person. The sky is heavily clouded and rain pours down violently, representing a grim moment in time.

The Three of Swords represents rejection, sadness, loneliness, heartbreak, betrayal, separation and grief. Such events feel so painful because they are unexpected. However, the Three of Swords often serves as a warning sign to show when one or more of these are possible. By preparing for this difficult event, the emotional blow can be minimised or even prevented entirely.
That said, pain, sorrow and grief are often a necessity in the journey of life. Without pain, there would be no challenge and no lessons learned. Pain can be a great motivator because it encourages you to surmount obstacles and ultimately learn from your mistakes. Each challenge you encounter creates that initial pain, which is inevitably turned into an opportunity to grow stronger and to change the direction of your life as a result of the lessons learned. While the pain may cloud your vision for a certain period, it will eventually allow you to see clearly and to put the past behind you. Though life seems meaningless at the time, recovery can and will occur. It takes faith, self-love, forgiveness and time. Count your blessings.
The Three of Swords therefore serves as a reminder that if you can start to see pain as a learning opportunity, life will suddenly become less painful. You need to really get in touch with pain and sorrow. Challenges remain but once they are no longer perceived as negative or ‘bad’, they lose a lot of their impact. This card is therefore encouraging you that you have the ability to conquer any pain that comes your way. Understand how the pain can help you grow. If someone has betrayed you and you do not think you can ever love again, challenge that belief. Do not be surprised when your heart emerges from darkness, capable of loving even more than before.
Similarly, the Three of Swords speaks of loss and difficulty, of sacrifice and broken relationships. It follows the difficult decision required in the Two of Swords, where you may be avoiding the necessity of making a tough choice. In the Three of Swords, the choice has been made, and you are now experiencing the consequences of your action. Often the choices make involve choosing one good over another, or one evil over another, and thus when you have finally made your decision, you are still left with the pain of losing the option you have not chosen. Often, however, the pain of losing something you once valued (such as a ‘comfortable’ relationship in which you are no longer growing) is necessary in order to prepare you for a more fulfilling experience in the future.
The Three of Swords is also about release. When you have suffered a major setback, or loss, it is a good time to have a good cry, which is all part of the cleansing process. Expressing your sadness and letting it all out will then help you to move on to better times. However, it is also important that you continue to focus on the future path ahead. There can be a risk that you may become overly absorbed in the loss and the surrounding emotions that you lose sight of the need to just let go and move on. The loss becomes your focus rather than the recovery. It is time to accept the loss and then move forward with your life.

In its reversed position, the Three of Swords indicates that you have recently gone through a difficult patch where perhaps a relationship has ended or has experienced challenging times, a loved one has passed, or you felt hurt from a situation that affected you deeply. Thankfully, this time has passed and you are on the path to recovery, realising that with behind every cloud is a silver lining and there are indeed other things in your life which you can feel happy about. You have reached a point where you can accept the pain and hurt and are ready to move on.
On the flipside, the reversed Three of Swords can also suggest that you are finding it very hard to move on from a recent loss or heartbreak. This card suggests that inside you are still suffering emotionally from a previous loss and need to go through an emotional purging process to allow yourself freedom from your past. You are doing your best to leave this behind and make a new life but it is still a long journey ahead. Be careful that you are not getting ‘stuck’ in the moment of grief, and instead you are focused on leaving behind your past and embracing new opportunities. It is always hard to bear the pain of separation or understand why you have been inflicted with such sorrow. Learn to accept your situation so that the healing process will not become blocked. Allow yourself to experience the pain, give yourself the right to grieve and release the heartache. Let it go, and then, once the upset, pain and tears have gone, open the door to new experiences.
If you are experiencing challenges in your relationships, the reversed Three of Swords serves as a reminder to be the peacemaker. Never be afraid to say you are sorry. Always think before you speak so that you will not later regret what you have said.
When you see the reversed Three of Swords, ask yourself, “In what ways am I suffering? What do I most feel sorrowful about? What can I do to release this pain and learn from it?”



Three of Swords Tarot Card Key Meanings:
Heartbreak, betrayal, loneliness, removal, absence, division, depression, separation, sadness, heartache, unhappiness, upheaval, grief, sorrow, upset, disorder, confusion, alienation, loss, distraction, ill-health, conflict, disillusion, trauma, serious misunderstandings, tears

General meaning and interpretation
In a general context, the Three of Swords represents unhappiness, heartache, sorrow and sadness. It is a Minor Arcana card of grief, loss, depression and tears and when it appears in your Tarot reading it generally indicates a period of difficulty or hardship, usually on an emotional level. Distraction, conflict, disillusion and serious misunderstanding are all represented by this card so whatever situation it signifies will bring with it confusion, upset and upheaval. The Three of Swords also indicates depression, trauma, disorders, loneliness, absence and betrayal. You have suffered or will suffer a loss or betrayal of some kind when this card appears and not one that can easily be brushed over. You will be feeling this loss on a deep emotional level and you must give yourself time to process what has happened. Though it does represent hardship, this card is not all bad. The most difficult situations in our lives often teach us more about who we are and what we are capable of than the good times. Give yourself space and time to heal and learn all you can from the experience. If you need support, don’t be afraid to reach out to the people that love you.

In a health Tarot reading, the Three of Swords is not a great omen as it can indicate ill-health, surgery and disorders. Your health or the health of someone you care about may not be as great as you would hope and you will be experiencing a level of sadness or disillusionment with regards to this. It can also be an indication of cardiac issues. However, this card can also be associated with anxiety, depression and trauma so it may be an indication that any physical health issues may be manifesting as a result of deeper emotional or mental health issues. Whatever the case, taking care of your mental and emotional health at this time will be extremely important to your recovery, so be kind to yourself and try to keep a positive outlook

Love & Relationships
In a love Tarot reading, if you are in a relationship, the Three of Swords is not a great omen as it represents tears, heartache, heartbreak, sorrow and conflict. This does not have to mean the end of your relationship but it does strongly indicate that there are some difficult issues that need to be addressed in order for the relationship to survive. You need to sit down with your partner and have an open and honest discussion about how you feel and respectfully listen to each other. Descending into arguments, nasty comments or recriminations will only cause the situation to worsen. You may have become unhappy or disillusioned with the relationship or there may simply be a lack of communication between you and your partner leading to serious misunderstandings between the two of you and a sense of alienation or loneliness in the relationship. The Three of Swords can indicate a breakup, divorce or separation and the legal matters associated with such events. The three swords of this Minor Arcana card can also indicate the involvement of a third party. This may mean interference from a third party trying to stir trouble. In some cases, it can represent cheating or infidelity as it is a card of upheaval and betrayal. If you are single, the Three of Swords can indicate loneliness or alienation. You may be still feeling the loss of your previous relationship and struggling to come to terms with your grief. You will need to deal with your grief in order to move on. It can also indicate being the person with whom someone cheats on their partner. Ask yourself would someone who really loves and values you put you in this position?

Money & Career
In a career Tarot spread, the Three of Swords represents stress, disillusionment or losses so it is not a great omen. This Minor Arcana card can signify the grief and loss experienced due to the sudden loss of a job or redundancy. It can also represent becoming disillusioned with your career or prospects. It may also indicate breakdowns of communication, arguments or strike action at work as it is a card of division and conflict. Whatever the case, it is generally an indication that your career is causing a lot of grief in your life at the moment. If you are experiencing conflicts in the workplace try to have a respectful, open and honest conversation with the parties concerned to resolve it. Listen to their concerns as well as voicing your own. If you have suffered a job loss, try to make the most of the free time you have by doing the things you normally wouldn’t have time for. It is important to stay positive and realise that career is just one aspect of your life, don’t let any issues in that area overshadow the other areas of your life. In a financial context, the Three of Swords is not a great omen as it can indicate a loss and upheaval. You may have suffered a financial loss, or an emotional loss which has financial consequences such for example a divorce or separation. Things may not have worked out the way you hoped but now is not the time to stick you head in the sand. You need to come up with a step by step plan for managing your finances. Take it one task at a time and you will come through this.

In a spiritual context, the Three of Swords indicates that you are in need of healing. Recent events or losses have left you feeling bereft and sorrowful. You may feel there is little consolation to be had at this time. However, it is often out our greatest sorrows that give us the biggest opportunities to grow, learn and evolve as spiritual beings. Reach out to people you trust for support at this time and allow yourself the time you need to grieve the loss you have experienced. Be open to the messages your spirit guides are sending you, they are there to guide you through this storm.
Reversed Meaning Guide
Three of Swords Reversed Tarot Card Key Meanings:
Releasing pain, overcoming depression, optimism, forgiveness, overcoming grief/ sorrow/ sadness, recovering from heartbreak, reconciliation, compromise, sharing problems, getting over the worst, repressing emotions, inability to let go of pain, suppressing memories, refusing to let go of emotions

General meaning and interpretation
In a general context, the Three of Swords reversed represents overcoming unhappiness, heartache, sorrow and sadness. When reversed, it is a Minor Arcana card of optimism, overcoming grief or depression and releasing pain. When it appears in your Tarot reading it generally indicates that you are recovering from your heartbreak and getting over the worst part of a bad situation or event. You may be reaching out to friends and sharing your problems or reconciling with someone whom you were hurt by in the past. You may have reached a compromise or be at a point where you are able to forgive and let go of past trauma. Alternatively, the Three of Swords reversed has a flip side. It can be an indication that you are repressing your grief, sorrow or traumatic memories. That you are refusing to let go of negative emotions and are holding onto your pain. Look to support cards to confirm this.

In a health Tarot reading, the Three of Swords reversed can signify a return to health after a period of ill-health, surgery or disorders. You should be feeling much more optimistic about your chances of recovering or healing. Alternatively, this card in reverse may be telling you that anxiety levels are playing a major part in any health problems you are experiencing. Do not allow your fear to overwhelm you, seek professional help if you need to.

Love & Relationships
In a love Tarot reading, if you are in a relationship, the Three of Swords reversed can indicate that you are moving into a period of reconciliation or forgiveness in the relationship. You are ready to let go of the pain or heartache your relationship caused you in the past and to forgive and move forward. The lines of communication are once again open and your relationship has a good chance of progressing as you release the pain you have been carrying. It can also in some cases indicate reconciliation after a breakup. Alternatively, the Three of Swords reversed can indicate that you are holding onto grief, sorrow or pain unwilling to let them go. Your partner may have betrayed or hurt you in the past and you are continuing to focus on this and feel unable to forgive them. If that is the case, you need to ask yourself if there is any point in continuing the relationship. Your relationship will not be able to grow while you are holding onto past indiscretions. This doesn’t mean you pretend that it never happened but you can’t keep using it as an emotional stick to beat your partner with, even if they did cause pain and sorrow in your life. You need to figure out if you can draw a line under the past and move forward together. If you can’t it may be time to let them go so you can both move on to a something healthier. If you are single, the Three of Swords reversed can indicate healing from a breakup, separation or divorce. It can also be an indicate that you are coming out of a period of feeling lonely and isolated and are feeling much more optimistic about your future relationship prospects. Alternatively, the Three of Swords reversed can indicate an extreme level of holding onto sorrow after a bitter breakup, divorce or loss of a loved one. There is no doubt that what you have been through has devastated you. At the same time, holding onto the pain is not going to make you feel better. You may need to consider seeking help from a healer or professional counsellor to help you start the healing process.

Money & Career
In a career Tarot spread, the Three of Swords reversed can represent a stressful work or career situation starting to resolve itself and optimism coming in. You may be feeling much more upbeat and your work environment may be much more positive and happy. Perhaps the person who was causing the stress has left the company. Communication has improved and there is an atmosphere of reconciliation, compromise and forgiveness. Alternatively, this Minor Arcana card in reverse can signify an already difficult work situation getting worse. Lots of previous upheaval and the bad feeling that has caused is made worse by people being unwilling to let go of negativity or choosing to hold grudges rather than draw a line under things and move forward in a productive way. In a financial context, the Three of Swords reversed can indicate that you are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel after a period of financial difficulty. You may be coming to a compromise with lenders to pay back a debt or they may agree some level of debt forgiveness. You may be reaching out for support or help with your financial problems and you should be feeling much more positive when it appears in your Tarot spread. Alternatively, this card can indicate a severe level of wallowing in a financial loss. You may have lost a job you loved or lost your home or financial status due to the recession. This card suggests that you are still holding onto the memories of what once was, unwilling to accept where you are today. You need to accept your situation and begin to take real steps to improve it, rather than wallowing in self-pity.

In a spiritual context, the Three of Swords reversed can indicate a time of forgiveness and healing after a loss or heartbreak. Recent events or losses left you feeling bereft and sorrowful but you have come through that and are finally healing the pain. Alternatively, it can indicate that you are holding on to your sorrow, unwilling or unable to let go of the grief you feel. When we are consumed by grief and pain we often close ourselves off to the messages our spirit guides are sending us. Try meditation or Reiki to help heal the sorrow and allow the guidance your spirit guides are sending you to enter your heart.