Three of Swords – Rider Waite Tarot Deck

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I. Three of Swords Rider Waite image description

The Three of Swords is a very simple card which is illustrated with a message of suffering. A heart, hovering in the air, was pierced by three swords. The heart is a symbol of love and beauty, while swords reflect words and thoughts that can harm a person’s body and emotions. The sky was obscured by dark clouds, and the rain poured fiercely, showing the gloom and mourning.

Three of Swords Rider Waite image description

You open your heart to give away love, but you fell in love with someone who is unavailable. You heard your best friend talked behind your back. You discover that the one who has been working with you for a long time cheated on you. Your world is suddenly reversed. You are dizzy, suspicious of everything and sink into misery.

The Three of Swords describes a pain which is out of the blue. You feel like someone piercing a sharp sword through your heart. Small details such as a harsh comment make you feel hurt. You can see that the picture here is simply a heart and three swords. When your heart is broken, you will not feel anything but the pain of an open wound inside.

This card may also be the image that reflects your intention to hurt others. With this card, it is important to remember that each of us has a dark side. We are all human beings, and we all make mistakes, sometimes a serious mistake. Finally, what we can do is believe in the good of life and try to live up to that ideal. When you fall, forgive yourself and try to forgive others if they fall too. Of course, the best thing to do is to face the problem before it happens.

II. Three of Swords Tarot Card Meaning

Suffering, Loneliness, Betrayal.


  • Hurt someone;
  • Suffered mental pain;
  • Inner hurt;
  • Feel disappointed;
  • Received some disturbing news;
  • Hurt feelings;
  • Hurt someone’s feelings;
  • Received little consolation.

Feeling lonely

  • Being separated and alienated;
  • Wander in the strange land;
  • Being rejected;
  • Feel isolated from the people you like;
  • Being abandoned when someone needs to be around;
  • Feel lost.


  • Discovered a painful truth;
  • Discovered that you have placed your trust in the wrong place;
  • Feel disappointed;
  • Let somebody down;
  • Being stabbed in the back;
  • Betrayed someone;
  • Break a promise;
  • Opposite action.

III. Opposite and Support Tarot cards to the 3 of Swords

Opposite cards

  • Lovers – intimacy, feel the love;
  • 3 of Cups – the companionship, trust;
  • 10 of Cups – joy, love, peace, association.

Support cards

  • 5 of Cups – separation, loss of love, suffering;
  • 9 of Swords – anguish, heartbreak;
  • 5 of Pentacles – refusal, separation, lack of support.

IV. 3 of Swords Upright Card Keywords

separation, sadness, suffering, rejection

Words and Keywords

Problems with emotion, loss, sadness, emotional pain, lost love, a bleeding heart, difficulties in a relationship, feelings of chaos, self-harm, irritable, controversial, contradictory, misunderstanding, alienation, dissonance, upheaval, hypersensitivity, sorrow, injury, unhappiness, an operation interruptions/cutting off, disturbing changes.

Feeling unwell, stressed, sick, crying, harrow, mournful, darkness before dawn, deep emotion, cracking, separation, divorce, rejection, abandonment, tears, failure, trouble in the heart, premature failure, annoyance, obituary, death, painful news, chill to the bone.


Regardless of the image that the Three of Swords depicts in most Tarot deck (a heart with three swords pierced through it), this card is not entirely bad. Although the intent of this card is sorrow, on the other hand, it also brings understanding and joy. You should allow yourself to feel and experience the fullness of any sorrow or pain, as only you will be able to overcome it.


This card refers to an important emotional issue that the querent needs to address before proceeding. Denying pain does not make it disappear (for example, ignoring the broken leg does not make it heal). However, it is important to pay attention to the balance (just like the Two of Swords). You should allow yourself to experience the pain, but do not fall into it for too long or too deep.


Three of Swords implies that your feelings or your ego will be hurt by a problem related to your job. Try to keep in mind that your life is not just about what you know and what you can do well. There will be times when you need some help to approach in a better way, then do not hesitate to make a request. If you are looking for a job, you may want to try changing to a different field than the one you are pursuing. Be persistent!


This is not a death knell for a relationship, but it is a warning that the relationship is having a hard time and both of you are suffering a lot. In order to let a relationship exists and sublimates, both should be ready to act, talk and think about it. There is a person that you think he/she is interested in you, turn out he/she is not.

If that is the problem you are facing, then do not just suffer by yourself for too long. You are figuring out the right path for the right relationship. You can not force things to go your way or persuade someone into feeling something that he/she does not. A true lover will always care in his/her own way and willing to do – without you having to say or ask for it.


Talking about money, Three of Swords can be a sad message. But remember that fear will not help you. You need to consider the situation carefully, and then think about what you should do step by step. If the situation is completely “tragic”, do not try to make assumptions. Let’s just start with what in your reach, even small thing like what your next meal will be. Do not let your ego stop you from asking for financial help at this time.


Your health probably is not as good as you expect. Emotions, depression or anxiety can affect your health, so, keep a positive attitude. That is the most important thing right now, no matter what the problem or the current situation is. Remember that doctors are not gods. You should treat yourself with love and positive thinking. Let’s learn about healing methods. If you need help to stay positive, just ask for it. You need to embrace yourself with a strong spirit and positive influences as possible.


This is not the time to compromise for events, ideas, situations, or those who impose their mental thoughts on your life. You need time to create new things for yourself, for your heart, your emotions and spirit. You should create a private space for yourself right now. Did you do all the healing or liberating rituals which are needed? The answers you seek are inside of you, although you may need help to find them. Let’s talk to someone you trust.

Situation and advice

The Three of Swords shows you are mourning or crying for something or for someone. You may be experiencing stress or sadness due to emotional distress when breaking up with your partner. You have to find a way out of situations or relationships that only bring you pain.

This card signifies a period of sickness or feeling unwell. This is the card of the removal needed, and sometimes, it is the need for surgery or dental treatment. Remember not to keep a distance from your loved ones just because you are stressed or irritable.

Sometimes, it also refers to the loss of death. Death is often expressed in a single spreading through the appearance of several cards such as the Tower, the Death and many other cards belong to the Swords suit or in the reversed position, etc. When this card appears, you will hear information about the death of someone you know.


Desperate people, a person who languishes because of his/her grief, stressful or irritable people, people with heart disease.

V. 3 of Swords Reversed Keywords

relieve pain, optimism, forgiveness

Reversed meaning of the Three of Swords

Words and Keywords

The recovery, the worst is over, the separation is over but the pain will be persistent, iterate the previous pain, regret and sorrow left, small operations.


Even if there are some pains and disappointment when this reversed card appears, that feeling will be healed and the future will be brighter. When you receive this card in the opposite position, you might have dealt with the pain and sorrow that you encountered. No pain lasts forever.


In general, the Three of Swords in reverse indicates that you may be receiving a disappointment. This is not a big thing or will turn your life upside down, that is just something which is not what you expected. You should let yourself to feel and to experience any results that are painful, and continue to move forward. That disappointment is not really over, and that day is not the end of the world.


You will easily misunderstand other people and situations in the workplace when this card appears in reverse. It is a good idea to ask questions instead of just speculating and assuming anything, and be as clear as possible in communication. Do not be too sensitive when you receive it. Everybody can get hurt, of course, you too. In many situations, you should let things happen naturally, do not bother much.


In a spread about love, the Three of Swords in reverse implies a misunderstanding, sadness, and suffering. A relationship that has just ended or the person you think will be with you till the end is leaving. You can feel hurt but do not torture yourself. We all have more than just one soulmate. Remember that when one door closes, another one opens.


This card in reverse shows that you are worried about money too much. Take a deep breath and tell yourself that your needs will be met, as long as you do what is necessary and right. Anxiety or fear does not help you. In addition, this will not be a good time to risk your investment, because your hesitation will make any small profit potential (if any) obscured. You should just keep your money safe.


You may not have enough information about your health, just go to a doctor if you are having a problem. Do not underestimate what professional counselors can do for you. Anxiety can affect your health, let yourself be comfortable, and if you have concerns or problems, talk to your healthcare provider or doctor. You can take control of your anxieties by speaking out and then finding solutions.


The Three of Swords in reverse also indicates there are ambiguous things that affect your morale. Be alert if you meet someone who claims that he/she can answer any questions about your spiritual aspects. Those answers may not be suitable for you. There is nothing wrong with discovering spiritual knowledge or different traditions, however, this is probably not the time to approach them.

Situation and advice

The pain is about to pass. You can not save the lost relationship. Now the worst is over and instead the relive. If the separation occurs, it will not hurt as when this card appears in the upright. In the spreading, minor surgery or dental treatment may happen.


The lover who being rejected.

In a Tarot spread, the Three of Swords represents all of the discomforts that life sometimes throws at you. It can be betrayal, abandonment, rejection, separation or reversed fortunes. There are speechless pains as they come when you least expect. If you get this card, you probably already know what it is referring to; but if you do not know what the card specifically says, then it is a remarkable warning. Maybe in your life, there is something you do not know or do not want to admit. The pain comes when we do not pay attention. Therefore, you should consider the situation carefully, talk to the people around you and do not make assumptions. Just listen to the voice from within you, help you identify the problem.

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