The Three of Swords is about loss, separation, heartache and grief. I have chosen three different versions of this card, which I feel illustrate the vibe of the Three of Swords, and I have written a flash fiction piece which is my own personal take on a Three of Swords experience.
Like most people I have had many of these experiences in my life. The card serves to show us that the grief is not empty, it has meaning, and maybe it will also be there as a shadow, but it can also help us to gain strength when faced with future grief. For me when I see this card I feel intense grief for the things I believe I have done to cause pain for others, not just my own personal grief. In the Thoth deck, Crowley calls this card Sorrow, with good reason.
The three cards below are from The Deviant Moon Tarot, The Lucy Lescot Tarot and The Poet Tarot.
The Deviant Moon card on the far left, follows the RWS system fairly closely, but it also has it’s own unique twist, which can often cut like a knife. In my own experience there is no messing with this deck, it comes straight to the point. The figure appears to be dressed in some kind of armour but it still cannot defy the swords piercing her heart. The shadow behind her shows that her own pain is bigger than she is at this moment. Yet through the window, the moon is shining over the mountains, showing a sliver of light, she just needs to find the strength to turn towards that hope.
The card in the centre is from The Ludy Lescot deck, and this is almost a perfect illustration of my biggest personal Three of Swords experiences. A broken home, broken family, broken children and lost babies. The blood is on the woman’s dress, signifying her guilt and her part in this wreckage. She cannot face what she has done at the moment but she clings to the cross, a sign of hope and strength to help her go on, like the moon in the previous card.
The third card is a bit different, but I chose it because it reflects art and writing which are both big in my life. The Poet Tarot substitutes Swords for Mentors, which signify revision… the stuff we do to put things right once we have created them, this card is when we may have to kill our darlings. But another side to this card according to the accompanying book, is the darkness that can sometimes take hold of a mentor, causing them to act out of personal petty jealousy, rather than honest critique. It is a different take on this card as is shown with Cupid wearing a death’s head. It is a sign to look deeply at your own work and be sure that those who purport to encourage you, are not actually out to make you feel bad.
The piece of drftwood in the photo is something I found a few years ago, recently it wants to be part of all my Tarot readings, so who am I to argue. Driftwood is watery, it may be to do with my current emotional state., It is also very Cancerian in its vibe.
This is a piece of flash fiction that I wrote for the Three of Swords:
When she woke to hear rain battering against the iron roof, and heard the tides rushing up to fill the mudflats, she knew it was the right day. It was hardly light outside, and even standing over by the estuary she could still see the glow of the candle she had left burning in the window. She took the white plastic strip from her pocket, looked at the two blue lines, and remembered the hopes and dreams that they had signified. She touched it to her lips one last time, and then sent it spinning through the curtain of rain, out to the high tide. She stood watching, tears and raindrops blurring her vision, fighting the urge to plunge into the water after it. When she could no longer see the tiny flash of white she turned back back to the house. ‘Go free little soul’, she whispered.