3 of Swords | Weekly Tarot Card Pt 4: Symbolism

This is the fourth installment of the Weekly Tarot Card. You can read the first three installments in the following links:

Yesterday we had a look at the element and number regarding the 3 of Swords. As I mentioned in that post, it is important that we look at all the components of the card in order to see it from all perspectives. The 3 of Swords is generally seen as a more difficult card, but through experiencing and developing understanding of the card through multiple view points, the medicine of the card can come through.

Not all cards carry the same symbolism, and some simply do it for the sake of creating an appealing picture. However, some cards are packed with imagery with the intent of stimulating the intuitive senses. It is these symbols that I intend to focus on.

Color: Grey, Red, and Yellow


In the Rider-Waite Tarot 3 of Swords, the sky is Grey. Coupled with the heart with 3 Swords in it, the grey sky can seem fairly ominous. However, grey skies in the Tarot traditionally mean neutrality. This implication is that the card is neither good, nor bad, but simply what it is.


The main figure in Rider-Waite-based decks is the large read love-heart in the center of the card. The color red can represent passion, sex, and anger.


In Thoth-based decks, yellow is incorporated in the card along side various tones of grey. Yellow is the color of Air, which is the ruling element of the Swords.

Astrology: Saturn in Libra

Saturn is the planet of authority, limitations, structure, and boundaries. Libra is the sign of balance, fairness, and relationship. The implication of this combination is that there is stability and structure. This forces us to look at what might be hindering this balance, and causing obsessions which might throw our relationships out of whack.


The setting for the 3 of Swords is in the sky, and in the Rider-Waite, the placement is amongst rain clouds. While this can be seen as dreary, there is another component of this: the heart is very much in the Air, and it’s with Water. The implication of the Air—which rules thought and communication, with Water is that emotion is convoluting thought.

Plants: Rose

The rose in the Thoth 3 of Swords is losing petals. This is a symbol of the heart. The Rose is often a symbol of romance, and thus, matters of emotion and relationships. That the rose is losing petals shows its tender state.


The heart in the card is quite obvious. The heart in the body is what we associate with love, and that is what is hurting.

Consider all the imagery provided here, and look at the 3 of Swords from at least three different perspectives. How can these depictions come together to mean different things? Look at your own deck, at the symbolism depicted in the 3 of Swords. How does it differ? What do you get from the card?

Tomorrow we’ll put everything together to derive a divinatory meaning for this card.

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