The Three of Swords puts me in mind of an emotional entanglement such as an affair. It is as if three people are bound together in a very painful, tumultuous and confusing situation, and it seems that “three is a crowd”. Although they probably wish they could break free, the emotional ties which bind them together won’t loosen their grip. It is as if they are trapped, suffocated and overwhelmed. The centre of the card is black suggesting that they can’t see a way out of this situation; however the periphery is white which seems to say that there is hope and relief on the horizon.
To me it also speaks of a divorce or separation and the devastating effects this might have on all those involved. This looks like an archetypal ménage a trois situation, where no one is going to emerge unscathed. It could also highlight a familial situation where a child or other innocent party is trapped in the middle between two warring factions. Unfortunately the smallest, most vulnerable sword is the one which is bleeding most profusely, pointing to the fact that the most powerless in these scenarios often come off worst.
Because the suit of swords relates to the mental realm, it has a strong association with the mind-body connection. When we have painful thoughts we feel that pain in our body….hence the word ‘heartbreak’.
This card can therefore speak of the ways in which we create and deepen our pain with thoughts and words. If you are currently experiencing painful thoughts, this card asks you to consider how your thoughts themselves may be exacerbating your struggle.