Touchstone ~ Three of Swords


A very solemn woman is dressed in black (a sign of being in mourning). An hourglass sits beside her (a connection to the Death card). A book sits in front of her with pressed flowers that are perhaps mementos of good memories from the past. The black and white butterfly may represent that her grief and pain will eventually be transformed into happiness once again.


I didn’t see the hourglass until you pointed it out!
This lady certainly looks like she’s in morning, so the connection with death makes sense.

Besides the usual heartbreak and pain associated with this card, there is also a sense of loneliness and a feeling that all hope has gone.
Its like things are so bad, you just can’t see past your grief and misery.

Even the dark sky out side her window seems to reflects her mood!

I love how Kat has used butterflies and moths in the swords cards.
This one looks like it is about to make a break to freedom through that open window.
Maybe its time to go find some fresh flowers to look at instead of the dead ones pressed it that book!


Dark storm clouds through the window , lit by the moons glow , a solum occasion indeed.
The mind is in a storm, harsh words and thoughts are all that eminate from her.
Theres also three feathers atop the hour glass.
The sand in that hour glass is only 1/3 through as well.


I too noticed the hourglass and thought maybe this woman knows the person who died or is/knows the woman who is grieving!
This woman looks so sad to me. She's holding the swords close to her heart, so its like no matter her situation she is really carrying her pain and holding it close right now as she isn't ready to move on. Perhaps she is a young Queen of Swords? past sorrows like this will make her hard.

I love all the butterflies in this deck. The white one perched on top of the hourglass symbolizes hope to me, and the sands are still running through the hourglass. There is still time, days ahead for this woman.

The traditional RWS types of cards have the pierced heart with a very stormy, cloudy background and I like how that imagery has been carried over to this 3 of Swords, with the clouds outside framed by the window!

morticia monroe

Oh Lord, no wonder she's unhappy.

This aint her day,,,,it aint her day at all.

This woman is Katherine Howard. She was the fifth wife of Henry VIII, and first cousin to Anne Boleyn.

Katherine was raised in her grandmothers household. She was neglected, spoiled, and basically allowed to behave in ways that well-mannered young ladies did not.

At 17, she went to the court of Henry VIII to become a Lady in Waiting for Anne of Cleves. Henry was besotted with the spirited young girl, and a mere 16 days after Henry had finally rid himself from Anne of Cleves (see ten of wands :)) he took Katharine Howard as his bride.

Katherine was foolish, young, and flirtatious, and by this time Henry was huge and ugly, with an ulcerated leg that smelled and had to be washed and dressed every morning and night.

The young Queen was in love with Thomas Culpepper, who was in the kings close circles. She continued to see her beloved in clandestine meetings in her chambers, aided by one of her Ladies in Waiting. Katherine was young and naive, and stupid. She had never been taught the rules of diplomacy associated with Medieval life, especially at Court, and ESPECIALLY as Queen. It is believed that she really had no idea what she had gotten herself into when she married Henry.

When the King was informed that his young Queen was an adulteress, he refused to believe it. He was a fool in love, and called Katherine his "Rose without a Thorn". But proof was provided, and Henry was enraged...he gave orders for the Queen's immediate arrest. It is said that when Katherine was arrested, she was so terrified that she broke free from her guards and ran down the great hall screaming and shrieking, to the room where Henry had sequestered himself. She beat on the door, screaming in terror and begging Henry to please speak with her, but he refused. The guards grabbed her and dragged her away.... today her ghost is said to be seen running for her life down the hall.....

Katherine was beheaded on Feb 13, 1542, and laid to rest near her cousin, Anne Boleyn.

The sad part about this was that Katherine had bedded lovers BEFORE her marriage to Henry. She had even promised to marry a man named Frances Derehem when she was very young. When she was being questioned, various attempts were made to get her to admit to her pre-contract with Derehem. Had she done so, Henry would have been able to have the marriage annuled on those grounds, and her life could have been spared........but she did not understand, and steadily refused to admit to ever having any relations with Derehem or Culpepper, who was the man she truly loved....

The grey outside only reflects the mood in the air,,,,dark, desolate, utterly hopeless.
Katherine Howard awaits her execution. Her Book of Hours lies open, she has been praying and preparing her soul ,,,,,The hourglass on the table marks the hours of her life that are left,,,soon the sands will run out, and she will be summoned to the scaffold. A hurt that is so deep, a betrayal that is so dastardly it cannot be fixed. When a three of swords event happens in your life, you do not forget it.


Thank you for the history lesson Morticia! I've always thought this kind of knowledge would be so cool to have, but I don't have the dedication to persue it!
She is beyond sorrow then, I've kind of always gotten this sense from the 3 swords. It just is not a happy card. I think that the 3 swords for me is also just very sad because bad things happen to good people, people who are better than the circumstances they find themselves in.

morticia monroe

minrice said:
She is beyond sorrow then, I've kind of always gotten this sense from the 3 swords. It just is not a happy card. I think that the 3 swords for me is also just very sad because bad things happen to good people, people who are better than the circumstances they find themselves in.

You are so right....

In many ways, the betrayal can be seen as not only being done BY this young woman, but TO her.

As in many instances when a young woman captured the eye of a King, her family plotted, connived and even told downright lies in order to promote themselves via their young relative. Katherines family all knew of her dalliances with Derehem and yet they presented her to the King as virtuous, chaste, and totally innocent. Females in those days were used as pawns by their families to create marriages that secured money, lands, and titles. And what better way than to have a daughter or niece ascend to the throne as Queen?

Can you imagine the stress that poor girl must have felt, being told by her family NEVER to let the King learn of her past,,,and knowing fully the fate that had befallen her cousin Anne for that very reason (although most agree that the charges brought against Anne Boleyn were fabricated, made up only because Henry was ready to be rid of her).

Not to mention that when she became Queen, these men and a few others who knew of her past suddenly turned up and wanted her, as Queen, to assign them high-ranking positions at Court, which she did....there is an excellent chance that this was a blackmail situation,,,why else would Katherine have risked doing this? If you don't want your husband to know about a man in your past (especially a very powerful, DANGEROUS husband) you sure don't give him a job in your office, if you know what I mean,,,,,

So was she a pawn, or just a fool?

There are many facts, and many things just guessed at,,, but I still find it all fascinating, and either way this young woman, beheaded at just 20 years of age, had a sad, tragic life.


This sad, tragic story has added so much to the meaning of this card! Thank you so much for taking the time to tell us the history of this woman.:heart: