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Bohemian Gothic - Three of Swords

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Bohemian Gothic - Three of Swords


This was one of the cards that caught my eye immediately!

The first thing I noticed was the sidewalk/road leading off the the back of the card, the hazy moonlight filtering through the trees.

Then her face, she looks somewhat passive, but knowing at the same time.

This perfectly matches how I feel and initially cope with sudden blows that are heartbreaking in my life. The sidewalk, immediate future, is shrouded by the filtered moonlight and takes a turn ahead. You cannot see anything, nor would you want to because of the odd situation in the foreground. Almost brooding over what has occurred.

Has the left dove killed the other dove? because of his red breast? Or his he mourning his friend?

Now, on the pillar behind the lady, in the flower and leaves circle, is that a heart? That perhaps has a sword and an arrow, or just two swords through it?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JennyFunk
This was one of the cards that caught my eye immediately!
It does, doesn't it? Thanks for pointing out the illuminated path in the background. The thing I think we all notice right away is the curious expression on the young woman's face. It's more arresting, more central to the card than even the murdered dove. Her posture is sympathetic, as if saying to the living dove "How terrible"--clearly playing at innocence--but her eyes are gazing sidewise out at us. I'm reminded of the Empress card where we, the viewer, are part of the card. That look we're being given is one that suggests either that *she* is behind the Dove's death and fears we might say something--or *we're* behind it.

Who killed the bird? There is no doubt in my mind that the young woman knows who did it. Does she fear we'll tell, or should we fear that she'll tell?

Which, once again, leads me to rhapsodize over this deck! 3/Swords is all about hurtful truths, shared secrets and betrayals. The usual image, a heart pierced with swords is so powerful, and yet it never gets across anything so visceral as this. The image here is so sweet on the surface--the simple, summer frock of the young woman, the white doves, the flowering garden--yet all this sweet, pretty imagery frames a bloody murder. And there is that look which is anything but innocent.

We know that look. It's that look we've either given or been given when we were in on a secret that was being kept from someone else. We've all been there. And so we're pulled into this card. We don't get to remain outside of it as observers. Like it or not, we're in on the truth, and in on the conspiracy to keep it hidden from others.

And that's not all! Being gothic horror, the card carries this guilty-secret feeling to it's most sinister level: the doves (I assume they're turtle doves, symbols of love) clearly put their innocent trust and faith and themselves into someone's hands; that trust and innocence was been betrayed. Murdered. And even if we're only keeping the truth a secret, that makes us complicit. The path beyond lets us know that such betrayals, including a cowardly refusal to tell the truth and face the consequences, puts us on certain paths to inevitable futures.

I am in awe of this card.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thirteen
That look we're being given is one that suggests either that *she* is behind the Dove's death and fears we might say something--or *we're* behind it. Who killed the bird? There is no doubt in my mind that the young woman knows who did it. Does she fear we'll tell, or should we fear that she'll tell?
It may not fit with the traditional meaning of the 3 of swords, but to me the woman doesn't look that innocent. She has a bit of that theatrical 'Me? Oh, I have absolutely no idea how the bird got killed' look, like a cat caught beside a broken bowl with milk spilt all over the floor.
My favourite card of this deck, so I couldn't help joining in.
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When I first saw the 3 of Swords my first reaction was that the woman in the card was saying, "Dear me, look what I've done" in a sly, knowing way. Then it lead me to think about sorrow, what it is and how we participate in and perceive sorrow. Somehow, she is responsible for the one dove killing the other, I think that is a stream of blood running down the wall from the fallen dove.
The road and the light down the road shows hope, if only she would look! But she doesn't, she turns away from the light and she is looking off to the left, in the dark.
The single arrow in the heart shows how WE are responsible for our own sorrow. Did we create it? What do we choose to believe is the truth of our sorrow? Sorrow is an unmet expectation. In this case it hints at elements of being self destructive and how that leads to sorrow. Also sorrow is the result of 2 or more people interacting. Can a single person experience sorrow without it being the result of an interaction with another person?
It is a very visceral card, but then I think all of them are!
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[I think the doves are actually carved stone ornaments that were on the tombstone of someone's departed spouse, but let's go with the notion that they're real.]

I get the unpleasant impression that the girl has been acting out her pride-suppressed/displaced feelings by using the doves as stand-ins. I assume that she's been jilted or otherwise dumped in favour of another girl, and she has killed the female dove (the less brightly marked) so that the male bird can feel the pain of loss on her ex-admirer's behalf. She can also admit to herself, when she looks at the dead dove, that she feels similarly slain. She can honestly shed tears over the dead dove which the healthier part of her was perhaps genuinely fond of, venting her grief, openly, without anyone thinking it's her wounded ego that's shedding tears after being jilted. Sick, yes. Imaginable, yes.
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She has this look like "It wasn't me, I have no idea how it happened" and you know darned well she did. I feel like she has been hurt and is taking that hurt out out on other people and creatures. This card is creepy. Forget the werewolves and vampires, this woman is a monster. I feel like she might put aresenic in your tea.
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The key to this card is in the roses to the left. If you sit them right next to the roses on the Empress card you get an exact match with the roses and even the carpet. Clearly these are linked. Its like another room in the Empress palace. The cards are designed to sit next to each other.

Death is part of the role of the Empress. Mother nature gives birth and she destroys. Hence death looking in the mirror. They would be friends.

Its interesting that on the card, the womans lips are the same colour as the blood on the wall showing that material pleasures in many ways are just as irrelevant as material pains. They are in partnership to build an illusionary existence which needs to be worked through totally. One cannot be denied without the other. In fact material pleasures lead to pain. Yogis for centuries have preached about celibacy and the importance of avoiding material passions.

The heart with the dagger in it is common within catholic art representing the sorrows of mary and her immaculate heart as well as the sacred heart of Jesus. Also in mythology with Cupid and his arrow. I recall the Bible story of the two doves being presented in the temple and Mary being told its not neccessary to sacrifice them for jesus.

I see this blood colour throughout the deck - its interesting to compare where else it appears as blood and as the colour in how it takes us to spirit.

Also its good to notice the hebrew letters on her dress - Im unclear on their significance.

Finally she looks a lot like the woman with the vulture in pentacles. However she is at full peace and action for her leads to a deeper understanding of Spirit. It is the same for this lady but it is sorrow doing the same. Perhaps she is a younger version of the same lady - judging by the hair style.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brother Joseph
The key to this card is in the roses to the left. If you sit them right next to the roses on the Empress card you get an exact match with the roses and even the carpet. Clearly these are linked. Its like another room in the Empress palace. The cards are designed to sit next to each other.
Actually, I don't get an exact match with the roses in the Empress and the Three of Swords cards at all. The bouquet in the Empress is cut roses, whereas the roses in the Three of Swords appear to be climbing roses, not a cut floral arrangement. There is no carpet shown in the Three of Swords, because it is an outdoor card, whereas the Empress is an indoor card. The Three of Swords card has a bluish cast and the Empress card has a yellowish cast in comparison because the apparent light source is artificial (candlelight). Don't get me wrong, I think your comparison of the two cards is very interesting, but I think you overstate your case when you say "the cards are designed to sit next to each other." I don't think they are.

Quote:
Originally Posted by brother Joseph
Also its good to notice the hebrew letters on her dress - Im unclear on their significance.

Finally she looks a lot like the woman with the vulture in pentacles. However she is at full peace and action for her leads to a deeper understanding of Spirit. It is the same for this lady but it is sorrow doing the same. Perhaps she is a younger version of the same lady - judging by the hair style.
I do not believe there are Hebrew letters on the woman's dress. The photograph from which this image is taken is in the companion book and this image appears faithful in that respect to the photograph.

By "woman with the vulture in pentacles" do you mean the Nine of Pents? I think she is a falconer and the bird is a falcon. The Nine of Pents woman looks quite manic, but she is not significantly older IMO than the woman in the Three of Swords. I personally do not interpret her facial expression to signify that she is "at peace." Interesting take though.

M_M
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One of,if not the most,eary,haunting and ''makes the hair on your back stand up'' card in the Deck. I guess the chlling silence echoing the framed murder,the ''dead silence'', the killed dove will take the secret of whomeverhas done this to his grave.
In a previous thread ,I wrote about this card

'' The lady in the Bohemian Gothic deck hurting the dove,taking out her own anger and hurt on creatures ) I find it void of any logic that she would just be responcible for the death of the dove just because-she must have been done wrong,or she percieves as being done wrong,hurt,betrayed herself and is inflicting that same hurt in the ''see what its like''?


could it be posiblle if we got the 3 of swords for a partners feelings that basically it means that the partner is the one that feels he is being betrayed,cheated on,and wants to inflict the same pain to the querent? Because,in the Bohemian Gothic she is basically,in a very phycotic way, ''taking it out'' on someone innocent-the dove that gave her his innocent trust. Its completely irrational to cause someone deliberate malice and ''conspire'' to kill the dove,just because,unless your insane,but insanity isnt logic and,swords are intellect,which again herald calous and surgeon type of inflicting pain,''devoid of heart''...but from what motive,your own hurt?''

It is illogical to hurt someone as innocent as a dove,unless your insane....Is she?
We dont see her covered in blood,with a lunatic glow in her eyes,dress drenched in blood,with a crazy posture...She is standing there pretending to be innocent,deliberately taking on that posture,like saying '' oh little ol' me..'' as if...covering up the crime she did with her supposed naive little girl attitude. Swords are intellect. This woman did not hurt that dove because she is out of her wits,she cant be held irresponcible for the crime because of her damaged mental state. She is conciouslly covering up the murder scene,if you will. She knew what she was about o do,she knows very well what she did,fully aware of what she had caused... And that is the symbol of pure evil,because its one thing to cause another harm out of the dementia of your own mind,and its one thing when your fully aware of what your about to do,in this case,murder-and doing it still.
Did the dove do something for her to ''take it out'' on it? Hardly. Doves are unasuming,innocent, peacefull creatures. But it could be the Lady perscieves it did. Not the dove preciselly,but that its ''guilty'' of whatever it is that she is feeling-anger,rejection,pain,hurt,and its almost a retribution. Kind of reminds me in relationships,where one partner has been hurt in the past and takes it out on their current partner,or thinking their partner is the one that is sneeking around and hurting them when its not true ( innocent dove ) and descide to deliver the first blow.
Did she kill it? There are no traces of blood on her night gown..Did she nudge the other dove to kill the latter? I would say so.
Look at the way the other dove is standing. There is a dead dove besides him,his blood dripping from the walls,and the bird doesnt even move-it doesnt look alarmed,frightened,but very....serene and almost a bizzare knowing curiousity about it.
Did the dead dove know what was coming?
No,it was unasuming, in a vunerable moment,coming on that wall in the middle of the night,very trusting,innocent faith in the Lady-the fact that the bird is so close to the lady in such a vunerable and dangeorus time of night suggests that dove really did trust her,to get that close to her,believing no harm will come,it was caught of guard....and then,the make believe bubble was burst,and its trust got...murdered. Whats to me,most horryfing,defeating and causes a feeling of well..making my stomack turn is.....The other dove and lady knew. They KNEW what would happen to the other dove,they knew from the minute they saw that dove coming down to be on that wall,all trusting in the dead of night,so harmless, they ,or most importantly,SHE knew what she was about to do,and just realisation of it...makes your blood run dry. For you to watch someone so unasuming,and innocent,and trusting of you,come to you,and you knowing very well your going to murder it,just......heartless.

I am still very curious on your thoughts why did the lady do it,since its being deliberately heartless..but from what inner motive?
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Cool This is about keeping secrets


Being the Bohemian Gothic, the deck does refer to horror stories, and these typically include killers. Certainly, our lady there might have been jealous of the love these birds shared and wanted to put an end to it--or maybe she wanted to love of the living bird all to herself, and killed the other bird so she didn't have to share. Or maybe, as you say, she was betrayed herself and acted it out.

But even if that is the story that created this image...the person getting this card shouldn't think this card is explaining to them why they were betrayed. Why not? Because the 3/Swords, in this deck or any other, isn't about explaining why the betrayal happened. The 3/Swords is about whether or not the betrayal is going to be kept a secret.

The other dove is mourning its loss, and the woman seems to be mourning with the dove. Are we going to tell the dove that its good friend the lady there is responsible for this? And if you have the 2nd edition, give the woman's expression a second look. She's gazing right at us, and her expression could as easily be read as saying, "Will you confess what you did?" Meaning that WE killed the dove and she knows it. Are we going to admit this to the surviving dove? Or should we fear that the lady's going to tell on us? (That's part of what's wonderful about this card...have you ever felt that fear? That someone had found out a secret of yours and was going to tell it?)

My point is, if we get all caught up in "why did she do it?" we miss the real message of the card...and my gosh, does this card get across exactly what we need to understand about the 3/Swords. Not WHY we betray or hurt others, because we do that for all kinds of reasons. We even do it unintentionally or stupidly. We hurt people, including those we love, sometimes for good reason, sometimes for bad reasons, sometimes with for no reason at all. Right? The gay person in the closet might not be telling his/her parents because he doesn't want to hurt them--and that's as much 3/Swords as anything. A killer secret that could destroy a family if known. And yet this secret "betrayal"--the surface all good, but inside all not good--wasn't done deliberately.

That's what matters here: the looming question of whether the secret is going to remain a secret. And you and I and everyone who is old enough to lie and keep secrets understands this card. We are the "third" sword here. Do we injure that living, mourning dove even further by letting it in on the truth of who killed its love? Or do we keep that a secret and let the dove continue to blindly trust the one who betrayed it?

That, not why the woman did it (or why we did it) is the only question this card asks us. And it's one hard question. Maybe if we tell the truth the living dove will die of grief. Or maybe it will fly away and not chance being killed itself--or maybe it will forgive the killer? Either way, the beauty of this place, the trust and love the dove had in it, will be shattered. Therein lies the dilemma of the 3/Swords. Keeping secrets is poisonous, but telling them leads to hurt and disillusionment, complications and break-ups...I think this is one of the most complex and difficult cards in the deck, and the Bohemian Gothic nailed it.
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