Three of Swords Tarot Card Meanings & Combinations
Air, analytical thought and intellect. Suit of challenges.
Keywords and Phrases:
Upsets, upheavals, quarrels, divided opinions, separation through distance.
Three of Swords Tarot Card Meanings
The Three of Swords can indicate upsets and quarrels, as the three swords pierce the heart it can be an expression of painful emotions, the hurting heart. The stormy sky in the background of the image provides an indication of the tension and atmospheric conditions surrounding a challenging situation.
For some readers this is the card that brings separation and splits, although for me, not so much (depending upon context). The Three of Swords is the main card that I find appears for those in distance relationships, or people separated through distance, so it doesn’t necessarily imply an ending but the sense of unhappiness through being apart. Although within context, it isn’t the card we’d wish to find as the outcome in a positional spread but in non-positional spreads, or free flow, I would check the card following to see how matters progress – for endings I prefer the clarity of the Ten of Swords, or the Death card.
The Three of Swords can bring upheavals, crossed swords and sharp words that bring pain, general but troubling disagreements and divided opinions, ranging from family fallouts, to upsets with work colleagues, lovers or friends. Upset with others is always evident in some way but as it is a small numbered card, if it appears in a future position of the reading, we can advise caution to prevent matters escalating into something more serious. The sense of division can be painful but need not be permanent.
If reversed or ill-dignified, can suggest being in denial over differences, a lack of compatibility with someone (or others), disorder. For some, it is seen as a reversal of the upright meaning and brings healing to difficulties.
Similar or supporting cards: Five of Wands (squabbling and differences) Five of Cups (sorrow and tears) Nine of Swords (worry and anxiety)
Opposing or contradictory cards: Temperance (harmony and balance) Three of Cups (celebrating with others) Ten of Cups (happy heart)
Three of Swords Tarot Card Combinations:
In simple lines, check the card before to see where the upset originates from (such as, work, home, love, money, etc) and the card following to see how the situation will progress.
> Five of Cups: fairly traditional for heartbreak and tears
> Ten of Swords: fall out leads to a disappointing ending.
Two of Cups > Three of Swords > Death: the end of the affair; quarrels in a loving relationship that leads to separation with sense of finality (unless immediately followed by Judgement)
> Temperance: solutions to disagreements found through compromise but patience required, may take time.
> The Star > Temperance: healing and renewal (also of relationship, depending upon the root card leading to these two; Three of Swords and Five of Cups may show mending a broken heart).
Two of Wands > Three of Swords: Quarrels and upheavals in a business partnership, an uncomfortable working relationship. Similarly…
Three of Pentacles > Three of Swords: quarrels and upsets at work.
Five of Wands > Ten of Pentacles > Three of Swords: family disputes leading to upheavals and upset.
You'll find more information to help you in Easy Tarot: Learn to Read the Cards Once and For All! book and card set.
Available from bookshops, Llewellyn, Amazon.com, & UK.
Material provided here is in addition and complementary to the kit. Copyrighted material displayed with permission of Llewellyn. Please see my notes regarding combinations and reversals on the main index page.