Three Of Swords Tarot Card Meaning: Upright & Reversed

The Three of Swords is the card in the tarot that’s about heartache, sorrow, and eventually the acceptance of pain. The heart in the card is being pierced by three swords showing this grief and pain. But with this pain comes emotional growth through adversity, and the Three of Swords emphasize the importance of facing painful truths for healing. When reversed. it even shows that you are overcoming grief, and learning from the past.

So if you want to dive deeper into what this card means for you, then keep on reading to find out everything there is to know!

NumerologyRepresents the number 3, symbolizing the birth, life, death cycle, creativity, optimism/pessimism.
Zodiac SignScorpio, representing depth, transformation, and dealing with the shadow aspects of life.
Ruling PlanetPluto, associated with transformation, the subconscious, and rebirth.
ElementAir, symbolizing the intellect and its role in experiencing and processing grief and loss.
Yes or NoOften considered a “No,” suggesting challenges, heartache, or the need to address and heal from difficulties.
CrystalsRose Quartz and Obsidian, offering emotional healing and protection from negative emotional energy.

Symbolism Of The Three Of Swords

  1. The Pierced Heart: The heart has been pierced by three swords. This vivid imagery shows heartbreak, emotional pain, and the suffering that comes from loss or betrayal. The heart represents the center of emotion, and the swords signify the intrusion of logic, conflict, or harsh truths that cause pain.
  2. The Clouds: The background shows stormy, dark clouds, symbolizing the gloom and despair that accompany periods of sorrow. They also show the overshadowing of joy by pain and the temporary nature of emotional storms.
  3. The Rain: The rain falling from the clouds, further emphasizing the sadness and cleansing associated with the card. Rain symbolizes the release of emotions and the potential for renewal after a period of grief.
  4. The Color Scheme: The colors of the Three of Swords are often stark, with reds and grays dominating to symbolize the intensity of emotional pain and the bleakness of sorrow. They convey the depth of feeling and the acute nature of the heartache experienced.
  5. The Isolation: The heart is usually depicted without any supporting figures, increasing the feeling of isolation and loneliness that can accompany emotional pain. This isolation can signify the personal nature of grief and the ways we process the hurt alone.
Three Of Swords Symbolism

The Three Of Swords Upright Meaning

Just looking at the Three of Swords you can see it’s a card that gets to the very core of emotional pain, symbolizing moments of deep heartbreak and sorry. In your reading, it brings to light the deep hurt and trauma you may be experiencing. It’s a stark reminder that loss and pain are universal parts of the human experience, serving as poignant catalysts for growth and transformation, despite the immediate discomfort they bring.

The imagery of the Three of Swords — typically a heart pierced by three swords — captures this emotional pain perfectly. It doesn’t shy away from the reality of suffering; instead, it confronts it head-on, offering an opportunity for you to face your feelings and begin the healing process. It’s a reminder that, although heartbreak is intensely personal, you are not alone in your experience of grief and loss.

And remember, sorrow and grief, encompass a wide range of emotional pain, from the anguish of a breakup to the mourning of a loss. The Three of Swords reminds you to allow yourself to fully feel these emotions, rather than repressing or avoiding them. It’s through acknowledging and experiencing your pain that healing can begin. Embrace your vulnerability, and remember that it is both a source of strength and a path to emotional depth and empathy.

Three Of Swords Upright Meaning

The trauma and hurt this card speaks of also shows a necessary but painful release of things which no longer serve you. Sometimes, the pain we experience is part of the process of letting go of outdated beliefs, relationships, or situations that have been holding us back. The Three of Swords asks you to consider what lessons can be learned from your pain, guiding you to emerge stronger and more aware of your needs and boundaries.

And of course, we can’t forget about loss, another theme of the Three of Swords, which can manifest in many forms — not just the loss of a loved one, but also the loss of some part of yourself or a significant change in life circumstances. This card reflects the importance of mourning these losses, allowing yourself the space and time to grieve as part of the journey towards healing. It’s a reminder that, through loss, we often gain a deeper understanding of ourselves and our capacity for resilience.

So in short, the Three of Swords is a powerful symbol of the pain that comes with growth and the human condition. It encourages you to face your pain with courage, to seek support when needed, and to trust in your ability to heal. While the presence of this card may signify a challenging period, it also serves as a reminder that this pain is not the end of your story but a chapter that, once navigated, will lead to greater wisdom and inner strength.

Love and Relationships

The Three of Swords really plunges into the heart of emotional turmoil in love and relationships. Right now you’re going through a period of heartbreak or betrayal. The king that leaves deep scars. Whether it’s the end of a relationship or a significant disappointment, this card doesn’t sugarcoat the pain. However, it also opens the door to healing. It’s a reminder to face these painful emotions head-on, allowing yourself to feel them fully. This process is crucial for moving forward and can eventually lead to a deeper understanding of love and what you truly value in a partner.

Career and Finances

For your career and finances, the Three of Swords can represent setbacks such as job loss, workplace conflicts, or financial difficulties that are stressing you out. The impact of these challenges can cut deeply, affecting not just your material circumstances but also your self-esteem. Yet, within this struggle lies the opportunity for growth. Learn from these hardships and to use them as a stepping stone to build a more resilient and fulfilling career path. It’s a call to not lose heart but to find strength in adversity.


Spiritually, the Three of Swords is a profound teacher of the soul’s resilience. It confronts you with the rawest parts of the human experience, pushing you to explore the depths of your own pain and sorrow. This exploration can lead to significant spiritual insights, offering a clearer understanding of life’s transient nature and the strength that comes from vulnerability. By navigating through this dark night of the soul, you’re offered a chance to emerge with a renewed sense of purpose and a deeper connection to the divine.

Yes or No

For a yes or no question, the Three of Swords means ‘no,’ indicating that the situation in question may lead to disappointment or hurt. It’s a cautionary signal to prepare for potential challenges ahead or to reconsider your current path. Remember, though, that the wisdom gained through facing these difficulties is invaluable and can guide you towards making choices that align more closely with your highest good.

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Heartbreak and pain is a natural part of life. Without it we wouldn’t appreciate the good times. However, if you’re going through it, learning how to gain wisdom and insight from the experience helps make the pain worth it. This book is all about embracing the challenges of life and using them to grow as a person!

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The Three Of Swords Reversed Meaning

When the Three of Swords appears reversed in your reading, it’s still about sorrow, but also of thehope amidst the trials of heartbreak and pain. It shows the beginning of forgiveness, healing, and the possibility of reconciliation. The sharpness of grief and hurt is beginning to dull, making way for a period of recovery and emotional mending.

I always see forgiveness as being central to the Three of Swords reversed. This doesn’t only apply to forgiving others but also to forgiving yourself. It’s a reminder that holding onto grudges or resentment binds you to the past and hinders your emotional recovery. Forgiveness is a crucial step towards healing; it’s about letting go of what has hurt you so that you can move forward. So release any bitterness, understanding that forgiveness is a gift you give yourself, not just to those who may have wronged you.

Healing and recovery are also indicated by this card reversed. You’re on the path to overcoming your emotional pain and trauma. Remember, this journey might not be linear; healing often comes in waves, but the reversed it assures you that progress is being made. It’s a time to be gentle with yourself, to recognize the strength it takes to heal, and to celebrate the small victories along the way. Surrounding yourself with support, whether through friends, family, or professional help, can be incredibly beneficial during this time.

Three Of Swords Reversed Meaning

Reconciliation is another possibility hinted at by the Three of Swords reversed too. Whether it’s mending a relationship with someone else or reconciling internal conflicts, you should hold some optimism. It’s an invitation to open your heart and mind to the idea of coming back together, to resolving differences, and to finding common ground. However, it’s important to proceed with caution and wisdom, ensuring that any reconciliation is healthy and mutually beneficial.

On the flip side, the Three of Swords reversed warns against negative self-talk and repressing emotions. During the healing process, it’s easy to fall into the trap of blaming yourself or minimizing your feelings. This card reminds you to be mindful of how you speak to yourself, encouraging self-compassion and understanding. Similarly, pushing down your emotions can delay healing; it’s crucial to allow yourself to feel and express your pain in constructive ways. Acknowledging and working through your emotions is a vital step towards true healing.

So, the Three of Swords reversed is a beacon of light after a period of darkness. It represents the resilience of the human spirit and the capacity for forgiveness, healing, and growth. While the journey through sorrow and loss is challenging, this card assures you that there is hope on the horizon. Embrace this time of recovery with patience and kindness towards yourself, knowing that each step forward is a step towards a stronger, more healed version of you.

Love and Relationships

When reversed, the Three of Swords signals a turning point. If you’ve been going through a rough patch or nursing a broken heart, healing is on the horizon. It might be time to forgive, whether it’s letting go of past hurts caused by a partner or forgiving yourself for mistakes made. For singles, this it’s about moving past previous heartbreak and being open to new love with a healed heart. Remember, forgiveness and healing are the keys to opening your heart to love again.

Career and Finances

In terms of career and finances, the Three of Swords reversed shows there will be recovery from a setback or disappointment. Perhaps a job loss or a failed project had left you feeling defeated, but now you’re starting to see ways to overcome these challenges. It’s a period for learning from past mistakes and looking forward with optimism. Embrace this as a learning experience, knowing that resilience and perseverance are your greatest assets in navigating career and financial ups and downs.


Spiritually, the Three of Swords reversed suggests a period of inner healing and release. You may be coming to terms with past spiritual disillusionment or healing from a crisis of faith. Look for forgiveness within yourself and reconnect with your spiritual path from a place of understanding and peace. Remember, spiritual growth often stems from navigating through difficult times and emerging with a stronger, more compassionate understanding of your journey.

Yes or No

For a yes or no question, the Three of Swords reversed is definitely a hesitant ‘yes,’ especially if your question is about overcoming difficulties, healing, or moving forward from past hurts. It signifies that the worst is behind you and that you’re on a path toward recovery and reconciliation. Use this period to heal, to forgive, and to prepare for the new beginnings that lie ahead.

Book Recommendation – Rising Strong: How The Ability To Reset Transforms The Way We Live, Love, Parent, And Lead by Brené Brown

Knowing that you’re going to fall short sometimes, but also knowing how to pull yourself back is one of the greatest ways to draw strength from yourself. You know no matter what happens, you have what it takes to keep going! If you’re on the rise, then this book is going to be like rocket fuel, helping you to get over your heartbreak and climb to newer heights!

Journaling Prompts For The Three Of Swords

Because the Three of Swords signifies such pain and sorrow, it’s a card that’s definitely worth journaling. And with that in mind, here are some great journaling prompts for you to use:

  1. Think of a time when you experienced heartbreak or deep sorrow. What were the circumstances, and how did you initially cope with the pain?
  2. Think about the lessons learned from a particularly painful experience. How has this experience shaped your understanding of yourself and your relationships?
  3. Write about any practices or support systems that have aided your healing. How can you use them to continue to nurture your emotional well-being?
  4. Consider someone or something you need to forgive to move forward. What might this process look like for you?
  5. Think about the act of forgiveness, whether it’s forgiving yourself or others. How does holding onto anger or resentment affect you, and what does it feel like to let go?
  6. Think about how showing vulnerability has been a source of strength in your life. How has opening up about your pain allowed you to connect with others or find inner peace?

Final Message Of The Three Of Swords

Acknowledge your pain, don’t bury it. To deny your hurt is to prolong its stay. Feel the sting, the tears, the rawness of emotion, for suppressed pain festers into bitterness. Allow yourself to grieve, express your sadness, and don’t shy away from the vulnerability that comes with healing.

Seek understanding, not blame. Pointing fingers, inward or outward, only deepens the wound. Instead, turn inward with compassion. Understand what led to this pain, learn its lessons, and forgive yourself and others for any missteps. Remember, forgiveness is not a condoning of actions, but a liberation for your own spirit.

Seek support, don’t isolate yourself. You are not alone in this storm. Reach out to loved ones, a therapist, or a support group. Share your burdens, listen to understanding ears, and allow their compassion to mend the cracks in your heart. Remember, true healing often blossoms in the fertile ground of shared vulnerability and connection.

Find strength in vulnerability. Though it may seem counterintuitive, sharing your pain with trusted souls is not weakness, but strength. It takes courage to be vulnerable, to expose your raw emotions, and to trust others with your broken pieces. Remember, true connection thrives on authenticity, and in sharing your struggles, you may inspire others to do the same.

Seek beauty amidst the sorrow. Even in the darkest nights, stars still shine. Look for the silver linings, the moments of joy that peek through the cracks of pain. Find solace in nature, art, or acts of kindness, for beauty has the power to soothe the soul and remind you of your inner strength.

And finally, remember, this is not the end, but a transformation. The Three of Swords doesn’t herald permanent defeat, but a necessary step in your journey. Embrace the lessons learned, the resilience gained, and the newfound empathy you possess. From this brokenness, you will emerge stronger, wiser, and more compassionate, ready to embrace life with renewed love and appreciation.


So as you can see, The Three of Swords is about heartbreak and almost life altering pain. It reminds us not only is this painful but it’s also a vital process of acknowledging and experiencing grief to foster personal growth and transformation. It asks you to embrace vulnerability as a strength and recognizing pain as a catalyst for letting go of what no longer serves you, ultimately leading to greater self-awareness and resilience.

Reversed, the Three of Swords shows the beginning of healing from heartache, and asks you to grant forgiveness to help your recovery, and the potential for reconciliation. It marks a transition from acute grief to gradual emotional repair, advocating for self-forgiveness and the release of resentment to move forward. But it does remind you not to give in to negative self talk.

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About the author

Hey! I'm Antonio, Owner & Editor of the Fools Journey!

I've been reading Tarot Cards/Getting my tarot read for over 10 years now! For me, what started out as a bit of fun and scepticism, has since grown into such a passion for me.

Tarot Cards are not just a great source of inspiration, but also comfort, and I love using them to help get in touch with the higher powers that are here to guide me through life!

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