Inverted Three of Swords


Inverted Three of SwordsInverted or upright, this card holds a disturbing image. At least in this deck, the image of the impaled heart appears to take center stage, it will not be denied.

The happiest interpretation of the inverted Three of Swords might indicate you are in the process of recovering from an emotional or physical wound, especially one related to the heart. You may feel the support of your community.

A less generous interpretation might be that of a drama queen, who dwells on past heartache and invites old wounds into new relationships. It could also represent a person who internalizes pain, never allowing it to surface, and therefore never allowing it to be released. If either of these resonates with you, it is time to allow old pain to flow out of you.

The swords represent intellect, so journaling might help you release what has been trapped inside. Give yourself time to sit alone with these feelings, with past hurts and betrayals. Light a candle, black is a good color for banishment. Watch the flame dance. Start writing. Write whatever comes to mind, all of it, even if it seems unrelated. Let yourself cry, shout, feel. Once the feelings have made it to the paper, and you feel you are finished for the time being, tear up what you wrote (by hand or with scissors). Prepare a fire-proof vessel (a metal pot on the stove is a good option) and pass the pieces through the candle’s flame. Allow the pieces to burn in the vessel. After the paper has been consumed, rinse the ashes down a drain, or flush them down a toilet. Wash your hands. You might have to do this more than once, if the wound has been in place for years or even lifetimes. This will help physicalize making space within yourself for joy to enter.


The Three of Swords only interacts with the Lovers.

Major Arcana

Lovers: If any cards from the suit of Swords come after the Lovers, it indicates the end of a relationship.

The Suit — Swords or Spades

The sword cuts and dissects. Swords represents the element of air. They are intellect. They are double-sided, which allows them to both damage and heal. The images in the suit might be alarming to some, but they are not simply aggressive. Yes, we can use blades to inflict pain, but we also use them to carve, shave, and trim.

Number — 3

Three is a number of creativity, cooperation, and integration.

The Inversion

There is nothing to fear with an inversion. Mary K. Greer explains in her book, The Complete Book of Tarot Reversals, that an inverted card may be interpreted in one or more of these twelve ways:

  1. Blocked or Resisted
  2. Projected
  3. Delayed, Difficult, Unavailable
  4. Inner, Unconscious, Private
  5. New or Dark Moon (if you are reading cards from a round deck)
  6. Breaking Through, Overturning, Refusing, Changing Direction
  7. The Opposite of the Upright Meaning, or Lacking
  8. Excessively
  9. Misused or Misdirected
  10. The Upright Meaning Backward
  11. A Rectification or Cure
  12. Magical, Unconventional, or Humorous

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