Menu Menu

Three of Swords

A description and interpretation of the role of The Three of Swords in the Tarot

In a nutshell...


  • pain

  • letting go


General overview

Are you are interested in the world of cartomancy and looking for complete information on the minor arcana of the Three of Swords? Below you'll discover the true meaning of the card.

Although this card doesn't enjoy a very good reputation, keep in mind that nothing is ever fixed in the world of the divination tarot. The influence it is likely to exert on you will depend greatly on the other cards present in your draw. You should always keep the overall picture in mind.

In the most popular versions of the Tarot, the Three of Swords features a long red-handled sword, positioned vertically in the center of the image. It is surrounded by two arcs that enclose it in the form of an oval. The red refers to the principle of action, the vital energy that allows you to move, interact and evolve.

Behind the weapon, it is possible to distinguish a plant motif composed of two branches that intersect. If you add up all their berries and leaves you get the number 22. This corresponds to the 22 major arcana in the world of the divinatory tarot. This is not a coincidence; it carries a deep meaning. It conveys the idea of potential, as if all the teachings of cartomancy were contained in power of the Three of Swords.

If, when two people separate, neither feels regret, the separation has come too late.


  • from an emotional viewpoint

    From a romantic perspective, the Three of Swords is generally not well-liked, the arcana usually being associated with the pain of separation and the failure of a relationship. Whether it has been provoked by the seeker or their partner, this rupture is the source of great sadness to the seeker which they will have to overcome. For singles, the Three of Swords translates emotional wounds that the seeker hasn't yet healed and that are likely to hinder their quest for love for the time being. To give themselves a chance to evolve, they will need to make efforts to heal these painful traumas of the past.

  • from a career viewpoint

    In the professional field, the Three of Swords is also linked to the idea of ending or breaks. This could, for example, be manifested by the end of a work contract, the loss of a job or a long period of inactivity. The seeker perceives this situation as a failure which contributes to their lack of morale. Why not take a step back from this disappointment? By allowing themselves time for reflection, the seeker will be able to develop an effective action plan to get through this bad patch faster!

  • from a life path viewpoint

    If happiness is the ultimate goal of a human life, it is rarely inborn and generally learns from experience and disappointments. When you go through a tricky time it's very tempting to feel sorry for yourself and sink into depression. On the other hand, some people prefer to ignore the problem and try to continue their daily life as if nothing had happened. Wouldn't it be more judicious to take advantage of the immense power of your intellect to find lasting solutions?

Would you like to make a draw of the Tarot cards?

    Our interactive interface offers free tarot draws

    Pair Three of Swords with a card of your choice

    • Three of Swords


    • WITH

    • Choose a card

    Its influence

    • short-term

      In the short term, the Three of Swords is always associated with a period of doubt, sadness and questioning. For example, it may be related to a disappointment in love, a bereavement or the loss of a job. To avoid being beaten down by this difficult situation, you will need to overcome the feeling of guilt that sometimes eats away at you and to trust your loved ones. They will cheer you up, refresh your ideas and offer you valuable advice.

    • long-term

      In the long run, the Three of Swords teaches the importance of confrontation. When you are plunged into pain it is often easier to avoid the problem - or to indulge in sadness - rather than to analyze the situation as objectively as possible. Learning from your traumatic experiences means giving yourself a chance to evolve and learn from your mistakes.

    Full interpretation

    Interpretation of The Three of Swords upright

    Like the other cards in the suit of Swords, the Three of Swords is, above all, about the mind, the intellect and reasoning. It is usually associated with ideas of sadness and distress. Which is why some cartomancy adepts fear its presence. For my part, I prefer to avoid hasty judgments and focus on the valuable lessons this card has.

    In the traditional interpretation of the Three of Swords, it translates the period of loneliness and despondency that the seeker is currently experiencing. This can, for example, result from a heartbreak, the loss of a job or the death of a loved one. For the seeker, this sadness is all the more painful because it appeared suddenly, without giving them time to prepare themselves.

    In order not to sink into melancholy, it will be essential to accept that sadness is inevitable. Pain is a natural feeling, part of the human experience. It is therefore pointless to try to avoid it. Why not try to turn the situation on its head? After all, the greatest successes are forged from defeat!

    The wounds you suffer allow you to build and shape your character. They offer you a different perspective on life. They prevent you from repeating the same mistakes. Fall 9 times, get up 10: this is the philosophy you need to adopt.

    Interpretation of The Three of Swords reversed

    When it appears upside down, the Three of Swords most often symbolizes the end of a period of suffering for the seeker. Deeply scarred by a traumatic event, frequently linked to a romantic failure or the loss of a job, they have had to muster all their strength to cross this difficult period.

    Thanks to the support of their family and the space they have put between themselves and the trauma, the seeker is able to set course straight ahead once again. Their future seems clearer and they know what they have to do. Because they have faced their wounds, they know what is most important to them and feel stronger than ever. They can hear the clear and radiant voice of happiness calling in the distance.