3 of Swords | Weekly Tarot Card Pt 3: Element and Number

This is the third installment of the Weekly Tarot Card in which we focus on the 3 of Swords Air and 3. You can read the first two installments in the following links:

The 3 of Swords Air and 3

Today’s post looks at the element and number which correspond to the card. Thus, the subject matter is the 3 of Swords Air and 3.

At the end of yesterday’s meditation, I touched a little bit on what the 3 of Swords means. I did this so that the ‘scariness’ of the card could be put aside. With cards that seem scary, or at least come across as an obviously difficult card, it is especially important to really crack into them and get to the core of it. We do this so that we can see how to interact with the card in a healthy manner.

By placing negative connotations on the cards, we put blocks up, which stops us from full hearing the message of the card. If we aren’t open to hearing these messages, then why are we reading the cards in the first place?

If you haven’t worked with the meditation or the suggested video from yesterday, I strongly suggest you do before moving on.

In this post, we’ll look at the element of the Swords and the number associated with the 3 of Swords. Hopefully by considering both of these aspects and putting them together at the end, you’ll gain a different way of looking at the card.

3 of Swords Air

The suit of Swords is the element of Air.

Air has to do with the intellect and communication. When we consider what Air does for us, it’s our breath, it’s how we leave. It’s expelled of the Earth through the trees, and thus, it is one way in which we bring our environment into us.

Air is related to Mercury, the messenger God. With his winged feet he traveled, and it is through his winged feet that he became associated with Air. As a result, Air is likewise associated with travel, and that which Mercury represented: messages.

Our own messages from within are carried from the inner self to the outer self through our breath. When we speak, we breath out, and thus, it is Air that carries our words. Because of this, Air is the element of communication.

Air also is the element of thought and the intellect. Our breath increases blood flow to the brain, which helps us to think better. But once our thoughts are collected, our ideas generated, then we allow them to be carried out through our breath.

There is a really good website that explains the element of Air really well. You can check it out at SoulBridging.Com.

3 of Swords: 3

The number 3 is the number of creation. While the number 2 and 1 have many different definitions that are all tied together, 3 is simply creativity/creation. It is the fist number with which a shape can be formed.

When we consider that 1 is a point, and two 1’s (2) create two points between which a line can be drawn, then three 1’s (3) then create a shape. This is the first shape created, and with it, building can commence.

With creation is expansion. 3 is the result of 1 and 2 added together, expanding beyond themselves. When there is one person, and another joins, they have the potential to create something together. That something is neither of them as it is separate of them, yet it is both of them, since it was created of them. Thus, the number 3 is an expansion.

3 of Swords Air and 3

Not all creation happens externally. When applying the numbers to Air, there is a lot of bring forth the internal into the external, just as there is with the Cups. To have the Ace of Swords is to have the spark of an idea. To have a 2 applied to Air is to have the idea reflected so that there is a duality of though. Where there is a pro, there is a con, and thus a decision to make. With the 3, the expansion brought to the element of Air is bring it into the exterior world.

In some representations of the 3 of Swords, one of the Swords points upwards while the other two point downward. This gives the impression of using higher thought during these times, but also shows there is a difference in the third Sword than of the first two—remembering that the first two are reflections of each other, and the third is bring a new aspect to the concept of the Swords. In yesterday’s meditation, I had you ask yourself a series of questions. I hope that you caught on that I was having you look at what was going on externally, bringing the focus internally, and then showing how the internal issue was being projected, or expanded into the outer world. With yesterday’s exercise coupled with today’s information, I hope you’ll take the time to examine the 3 of Swords in a new light, and consider what the 3 means to you in relation to the element of Air.

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Decks Used

The Aquarian Tarot in a Tin by Italian-born, American-raised David Palladini, was published originally in 1970 by U.S. Games Systems Inc, and then republished again in 2016 in a smaller size. Named after the Age of Aquarius, the Aquarian Tarot is a midieval depiction of the Rider-Waite Tarot system. The images are closer, and thus might give the impression of being more character-based rather than relying on symbolism. This intimate deck provides a stark reflection of the human condition in it’s journey through the tarot.

Faerie Tarot by Nathalie Hertz, published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc, 2008. Hertz is a French artist, and the creator of several other beautiful tarot decks. The Faerie Tarot was ‘inspired by the flora and fauna of the French countryside,’ and ‘invites you to see the world in a delightful new way…blending fantasy, whimsy, and nature.’

Impressionist Tarot by Arturo Picca (artist) and Corrine Kenner (author), published by Lo Scarabeo in 2015. This deck takes works of classic impressionist paintings and recreates them to fit the meanings of the tarot. It pulls from works of Edonard Manet, Claude Monet, Pierre Auguste Renoir, Edgar Degas, Vincent van Gough, and Paul Gauguin. A truly beautiful deck, especially for those who have interest in the art world.

Prisma Visions Tarot by James R. Eads, 3rd ed., published in 2016. The deck itself is beautiful, though perhaps not for the beginning tarot reader. The suits all fit together to create a master picture displaying the energy and progression of the suits. The figures and images flow from one card to the next, showing movement within the stationary cards.

Rider-Waite by A. E. Waite. The deck used in these photos is currently out of print. I won’t say much about this deck, as it is fairly standard and probably one of the most produced decks. It serves as a standard for many tarot readers and artists, depicting classic images relating in part to the original playing cards that tarot developed from.

The Spiral Tarot by Kay Steventon. With turn-of-the-20th-century style art, this deck takes from the classic Rider-Waite deck and brings it up to the late 1800-early 1900’s, a time of industry and contemplation for the western world as it moved forward into a more technological era. I am a little biased toward this deck as it’s been my main deck for 15 years. The cards are thick with additional symbolism that can be tricky to pick out of the traditional Rider-Waite, and adds layers of Greek myth throughout the Major Arcana.

Thoth Tarot by Aleister Crowley (designer and author) and Lady Frieda Harris (artist), published by U. S. Games Systems, Inc., in 1978. This deck takes from most esoteric imagery, and requires the reader of the deck to have deep, initiate knowledge of the symbolism used. There is nothing within the cards that is without meaning. However, on a more surface level, the deck draws from Egyptian symbolism and from the style of the Marseille Tarot (mostly seen within the Minor Arcana). For those looking for deeper understandings of the universe, I recommend this deck. I would caution that this deck is highly advanced, and might be avoided for the budding reader.

Vampire Tarot – by Nathalie Hertz, published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc. in 2000. As mentioned above in reference to the Faerie Tarot, Hertze is a French artist who gained her notability through the publication of her tarot decks. The Vampire Tarot was a bestselling deck upon its release, and plays on more gothic symbolism, providing more jarring interpretations to allow for the accepting of negative forces within the world to compliment the positive forces. The deck brings together myths and legends in the form of vampires, which ‘gives tarot readers a macabre passport’ into the world of divination.


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