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3 Three of Swords


Oraclearcane has started new discussions, 'The Fool's Journey', with the Major Arcana, and because of a misunderstanding, and me drawing a card about it, I have started something with the Minor Arcana; and it started with the Three of Cups.

I think 3 is a good number for the beginning of a discussion-learning-sharing experience, because -- from what I have learned -- 3 is about getting together, about sharing and creating something new.

And personally, after browsing a bit in the forums, I have an urge to discuss the Three of Swords. "Heartache" seems to be the consensual keyword.

I want to start this thread about the Three of Swords by offering a different approach to the card.

I am not sure from whom I learned that approach, probably several sources (Rachel Pollack? Jean Freer?), and also some experience of my own.

Okay.

In my world of Tarot the Swords mean Air, and Air symbolises Spring, Morning, the Mind, the Intellect, Thoughts, Thinking, Communication etc.
And the number three, as I stated above, is about communication, too; about getting together, sharing, creating.
When we combine those attributes the Three of Swords is not about heartache at all (that would rather be something for the Cups, imo) but about communication, eg. via the internet. Through books. Discussions. Letters. Etc.
Several minds meet and they focus and they hit the heart of the matter. The picture of the pierced heart makes perfect sense in that light, too.
Then the seemingly depressing weather in the background becomes a cleansing, perhaps exciting storm (I got a personal thing with strong wind and piecing rain -- something inside me takes wing and flies); and the rain might pour on a dry and barren land (of thought).

What say you?
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Last week there was a very interesting conversation about the 3 of Swords in this thread:
http://www.tarotforum.net/showthread.php?t=86144

One of the things several people pointed out about the card is that it's a Swords card, not a Cups card. Also, it's an abstract, if blatant, representation of heartbreak, whereas a card like the 5 of Cups really shows what that kind of loss feels like. Thus it might have more to do with mental pain, painful thoughts, intellectual heartbreak, than the kind of emotional gutting we usually assume it means.
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For me, because Swords have to do with the mind and the intellect it could be that alot of the pain in this card is caused by mental obsessing.

As an example; when a relationship ends, we cause ourselves further grief by endlessly worrying about all the things we should have said or done to save it- and who are they with now? are they thinking/missing/still possibly caring about me? Going over and over things in our head so that we can feel the ache in our heart... it's as though our thoughts and memories are actually weapons turning against ourself.

The grey and overcast background could be seen as symbolising the emotional lack of light- while at the same time it does provide the rain as healing... (which could be seen as carrying on into the Four of Swords, which can be the needed rest and recuperation, leading to hope and recovery.)

elnor
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Vetch,
I gotta go with you on the deviation away from emotional heartache...I think many many just go by the usual Rider/Waite pic - almost always a giant pierced heart dripping blood...implying heartache or sorrow and pain, there is usually a catch line about somebody being unfaithful to somebody...

To me 3s are about progression, moving forward, expansion, growth
The suit of Air has associations with the mind, thoughts, ideas, the intellect, discernment

So in an upright aspect the 3 of Swords could indicate growth of the mind, expansion of knowledge or maybe some decision or choice has been made (2 of Swords) and things are moving forward in some area...

Reversed it might mean a lack of learning and mental growth, stress and stagnation because some choice or decision wasn't made...

Something along those lines...
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Yea, ofbainbridge, seems we have a similar approach, interpreting not so much the pictures, but the elements and numbers.
Even though I do like Pamelas picture a lot, because, as I wrote: it shows thoughts hitting the heart of the matter.

As I can't be online as I want to I have spent time at my (offline) home actually thinking and working on my tarotbook again, and it hit me (i must have read it somewhere), that the 2s are pondering the possibilities of their element, and the 3s are finally the action that follows.
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Yea the pics threw me for the longest time Vetch and I have always had such a hard time with the 2s and 3s - nothing clicked for me until I hit upon...

2s making connections between things...

2 of swords would putting ideas together, thinking, working out strategies...
2 of wands - connecting to what makes someone strong, their will, their drive
2 of cups - connecting emotionally, bonding, forming partnerships, unions
2 of pents- connecting to whatever one is doing or working on...

and 3s would be the natural progression following those actions...
3 of swords progression of knowledge
3 of wands growing strength and confidence, will and influence
3 of cups emotional growth or growing emotions in a bond or partnership
3 of pents forging ahead with some endeavor
Interesting stuff...
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I like to see the numbers geometrically (funny, because math isn't my strong suit, but geometry is visual enough that I 'get' it).

The aces are a point, the twos are a line...a decision to get from point A to point B... which makes the 3s a plane - widening the view enough to develop a plan and lay a foundation for the 4s which are the first solid involved.

So part of what is going on with this 3 is that a concrete plan has developed, cutting through the inspiration that sparked it (that heart) and making it concrete. Once you start hacking away at an idea, the inspiration flows (like the blood) and in a sense, the original perception 'dies' and becomes whatever it's going to become. It's not *just* an idea anymore.

I also wonder if there is something going on with this card dealing with blood sacrifice - the blood fertilizing the idea to give it strength, or 'pouring your heart's blood' into the plan to manifest your ideas.
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just my 2 cents
this card is about honesty
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3 of swords


The image itself is one of soul-suffering, at least as I see it : so, a deep feeling of aloneness or being attacked, or injustice done to oneself, or a fragmentation of the soul by outer stresses and crises. Of course, such suffering may lead to re-integration and wholeness of heart.
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For those decks using a pierced heart on the 3 of swords you have to consider that it is a heart. It's not a head. Ask yourself why.
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