The Three of Swords tarot card isn’t subtle and it can be one of the most upsetting cards in the deck. It’s a card about heartbreak, loss, and sorrow; these things can’t always be avoided, and that’s the message here.
The Three of Swords can stand for the end of a relationship, or just a rough period that may last awhile or have a deep emotional impact. It can also represent feeling hurt and disappointed after a major loss.
No matter what happens, know that you will heal from this and move on.
When you see the Three of Swords card reversed, it can mean you’ve recently gone through a rough patch of loss and heartache, but you’ve managed to get through the worst and there are brighter days ahead. So in this sense, the reversed Three of Swords can show you’re on the path to recovery.
On the other hand, this reversed card can also show you where you’re stuck in your sadness and may be finding it hard to move forward. You may still be suffering from the pain of your loss, and you’ll need to experience and work through your emotions before things get better.
The reversed Three of Swords can also mean you’re having a lot of negative and critical thoughts about yourself. Try to catch these thoughts next time they cross your mind and say something nice about yourself out loud, or reach out to loved ones to help you build up a more positive self-image.
This reversed card might also show you’re being overly sensitive to other’s words. Ask yourself what about their comments is hurtful to you? Now is the time to get to the root of why you feel so attacked by others so you can understand your emotions and work to build up your confidence and self-image.
Reading this reversed card using the “blocked/restricted” meaning
Okay, so now let’s talk about how to read your reversed Three of Swords card. First, you can use the “blocked/restricted” reversed card meaning.
When you read your cards this way, you look for an obstacle standing in front of the card’s upright meaning. For the Three of Swords, this means something is blocking your heartache and loss and you might be holding on to a relationship even though you know it’s over to avoid the pain.
Say you pull the reversed Three of Swords card thinking about your marriage. You’ve been with your wife for 11 years and you’re raising two children together. She’s a wonderful mother and partner, but the truth is, the love and passion have been gone for years.
The two of you have tried marriage counseling and even took a few exotic vacations to spice things up. You’ve tried taking up new hobbies together too, like getting motorcycles and taking a swing dancing class.
But no matter what you try, you’re not attracted to each other anymore, and the only reason you’re staying with her is the children. Talking about a separation will be extremely painful for you both since you’ve been together so long, but in your heart, you know it’s what you want.
Here, the reversed Three of Swords card tells you that even though discussing a separation with your wife will be difficult, it sounds like you’ve made up your mind. You’ve tried different things to keep the marriage alive, but at this point, you’re lying to yourselves by staying together.
Have the kids go out for a night and sit down for a talk. Your wife isn’t blind to the situation either, and she probably has similar concerns. Get on the same page and discuss what you need to do to be happy and fulfilled. You can still be great friends after the dust has settled, and your children will be perfect as long as they know they still have both of their parents’ love and support.
Reading this reversed card using the “opposite” meaning
You can also read your reversed Three of Sword cards using the “opposite” reversed card meaning. When you read your cards like this, you look for the opposite of the card’s upright meaning.
So for the Three of Swords, instead of heartache and sorrow, you have an abundance of happiness and satisfaction. You might’ve gone through a tough period, but you’ve made it out the other side even stronger.
For example, you might pull the reversed Three of Swords card thinking about a career change. Six months ago, you were fired from your job because of performance issues.
You were working as a paralegal, but the job didn’t stimulate you and you had some personal issues going on at home. After a few months of showing up late and not getting things done on time, they let you go.
It was a devastating blow to your morale, especially because you were already in a rough patch, but you took the downtime to consider what you want to do with your life.
Now you’re working in PR, and you are once again feeling excited to go to the office in the morning. You never know what each day will bring, and you see lots of growth potential.
Here, the reversed Three of Swords card reminds you that sometimes you need to go through dark times to figure out what makes you happy. Using your time off to reevaluate your career was a great choice, and there will only be more rewards down the line.
Keep working hard and using your creativity. You’ll be amazed by what you can accomplish now that you’re doing the work you love.
Reading this reversed card using the “worse” meaning
Another way to read your reversed Three of Swords card is using the “worse” reversed card meaning. When you read your cards like this, you take the card’s upright meaning and put it in a negative light.
With the Three of Swords, you’re experiencing heartache and loss, but you’re unable to move through it and start healing. You’re feeling stuck in this down period and it’s hard to see how things will ever get better.
Say you pull the reversed Three of Swords card thinking about the loss of your cat. You had a big, beautiful Maine Coon who was with you for ten years.
The two of you moved to different apartments together all through college and grad school, and then you moved across the country. Your cat was a gentle giant and truly your best friend, and a great source of comfort.
A few weeks ago, he passed away from a heart condition. The loss was sudden and extremely painful, and you’ve been in despair ever since.
You’re not talking to friends or family very much and are isolating yourself in your home crying most of the time. It doesn’t seem like things will ever get better.
Here, the reversed Three of Swords card tells you that you have to feel the pain and then work through it to get to the other side. It’s completely normal to be in despair after losing such an important companion, but you can’t stay there.
Let yourself feel the sorrow, but don’t block out the people who want to support you. Even if you’re going to cry, your friends and family want to be there for you. They can keep you from getting too lost in your grief and help to pull you back into the light when you’re ready.
Reading this reversed card using the “no/not” meaning
Finally, you can use the “no/not” card meaning to read your reversed Three of Swords card. When you read your cards this way, you put a “no” or a “not” in front of the card’s upright meaning.
So for the Three of Swords, this can mean “not a breakup” or “no loss.” You might be going through a rough patch, but your relationship is strong enough to last.
For example, you might pull the reversed Three of Swords card thinking about a friendship. You’ve been best friends with a girl since elementary school, and the two of you have been through everything together.
Boyfriends, college, and career changes, you’ve been through it all. But recently, the two of you had a falling out over a guy.
You met him through some mutual friends, and both of you immediately caught feelings. He was taking the both of you out on dates even though you didn’t realize it, and when you found out, it caused a huge argument.
Now you haven’t talked to your friend in weeks, and things are getting weird. You don’t know how to reach out, and you’re afraid your friendship is ruined.
Here, the reversed Three of Swords card tells you not to give up on such a special friendship. It’s not either of your faults that this guy was playing games, and it’s natural to feel upset. But now that you’ve cooled off, it’s time to reach out to your friend.
Call her up and let her know how you’re feeling and that you still love her. She will certainly feel the same way and be happy to hear from you. We all go through rough patches in our relationships, but your friendship is strong enough to get through it.