Three of Swords


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Synthetic Meaning

            The 3 indicates, by 2 + 1, the disjunction of two forces neutralized by the intervention of the dynamism of a different nature. The Three of Swords underscores this meaning by having a third sword with an exact, concrete form, flesh-colored, cross through the ellipse formed by the two stylized swords, and from which two yellow laurel branches emerge, thus indicating the will for overcoming inertia and for setting free pent-up forces, through action derived from the vitality of the physical world, and whose decisions and effects generate mental gains.

Analytic Meaning

            The successive cards of the suit of Swords are going to depict an action which is moving progressively towards a fullness. Already, as a result of the Two of Swords, the Three of Swords enters directly into activity through its central, concrete sword, disjoining the two stylized swords and creating a separation. This disjunction activates the polarity of the swords in semi-circle which had only been potential.

            The blade and the pommel of the central sword, flesh-colored, indicate its firmness in the physical world; its red hilt indicates that the state which it represents is still only barely material. The yellow hilt guard accentuates this idea by showing that this card must remain in a half-physical plane, there is a mental break between the instinctive life, designated by the red color, and the physical life, represented by the flesh color.

            The lotus-flower shape of the pommel, ending with a little ball, indicates that the will to succeed must find its basis in wisdom and that it will act in the physical world.

            The yellow laurel leaves crossing under the central sword show that achievement must be crowned by success, they are a physical support for activity; the affirmation of the noble purpose of this symbolized by the two white stems, a symbol of purity and showing honor to the active principle.

            The two swords in a half-circle have the same significance as in the Two of Swords; only the intervention of the yellow and red bars, above and below[1], differentiates them, as is the case with all the cards in the suite of Swords bearing a concrete sword, without making any changes to the meaning of the card.

            The same meaning applies equally to the four outer flowers, but with more force, as they increase with each number of the card.

Meanings As They Relate To The Three Planes

            MENTAL. Decision, cutting through one’s hesitations.

            ANIMISTIC. Emanation, enlightenment about one’s feelings, the clear perception of things.

            PHYSICAL. Support, a supply of energy. Clear and skillful progress in one’s affairs. Very good health.

            INVERTED. This card is interpreted as inverted when the point of the sword is directed downward. Directed upward, it indicates a conformation for every questioning of an orientation and assures that it is a good one because the sword point, directed upward, is using and receiving the currents.

            Downward, it implies a realization, it confirms that the things will go well, because thus directed, it activates matter.

            This card is never negative, except when the question has to do with some sickness, because the point aimed downwards, separating matter with effort, identifies the obstacle, the thing resisting, and thus a delay to healing.


            In its Elementary Sense, the Three of Swords represents a working of the active consciousness making determinations about specific actions.

[1]  Three, Five, Seven, Nine, because of the active power of the odd numbers; but Two, Four, and Six, due to the passivity of the even numbers.

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