Three of Swords

Number: 52/3

Element: Air

Astrological Association: Saturn in Libra

Key Meanings: Sorrow, heartbreak, and pain

The Three of Swords in Tarot stands for heartbreak, loneliness, and betrayal. The Three of Swords meaning in a Tarot reading could be one of heartbreak, real grief, or seemingly infinite sadness.

Upright Meaning: The upright meaning of the Three of Swords is direct in its meaning and reveals the pain of truth. The clouds of doubt are cleared, and you can do nothing but face reality. This is a common card for relationship betrayal and can denote affairs or disloyalty in other life areas, such as work relationships and business dealings. On a more positive note, you do get right to the heart of the matter—any confusion is banished, and you are now in a position to begin to move on from shock, to begin the healing process and move forward.

In health, this Three can relate to heart issues that may need attention—such as blood pressure issues, circulatory problems, conditions such as agina, and very occasionally, the need for surgery. Please note that this is a message to take care of the heart and safeguard health; it is not a prediction of serious illness.

Reversed Meaning: When the Three of Swords reverses, the upset of the upright card is accompanied by quarrels and drama. In a sense, despite the upheaval, this gives a more positive meaning than that of the upright card, as at least feelings are expressed and some of the confusion and pain is shared and released. Those around you will understand your need to vent.

About the Deck: “Ciro Marchetti’s Tarot of Dreams” from