Three of Swords – Tarot Love Relationship Outcome & Reversed


Three of Swords

Three of Swords – Love and Relationships Outcome

The Three of Swords in a Tarot reading is about heartache and perhaps there are three people in the relationship, there maybe distance involved and someone else has been chosen and the news has been received causing emotional turmoil.

In the reversed position there has been deceit perhaps with intentions and the realisation of making a big mistake.

Three of Swords – As a Person, Outcome and Feelings

Oppression, worries, being burdened, baffled hopes, troubles, tendency to separateness, rupture and seclusion, pessimism. Removal, absence, delay. Small talk, bitter and evil thought, sickness; in bad cases alienation. Error of judgment, wrong opinion, hatred, aversion, etc. In general: affliction. Scheming, but not in a good sense. A. E. Thierens, [1930]

Three of Swords

Pictorial Key to the Tarot – Rider-Waite-Smith
By A.E. Waite (1911), tarot card illustrations by Pamela Colman Smith (1911)


Three swords piercing a heart; cloud and rain behind.

Meanings Three of Swords in a Reading

Removal, absence, delay, division, rupture, dispersion, and all that the design signifies naturally, being too simple and obvious to call for specific enumeration.

Three of Swords – Reversed

Mental alienation, error, loss, distraction, disorder, confusion.

Additional Divinatory Meanings
For a woman, the flight of her lover.

Additional Meanings – Reversed
A meeting with one whom the Querent has compromised; also a nun.

The Tarot

By S. L. MacGregor Mathers, c 1888

Three of Swords

Divinatory Meanings
Three of Swords – A Nun, Separation, Removal, Rupture, Quarrel.

Divinatory Meanings – Reversed
Error, Confusion, Misrule, Disorder.

General Book of the Tarot

By A. E. Thierens, [1930]

Three of Swords

Departure, absence, rupture, delay, division, removal, being-far-away. Also aversion, hatred, disgust, etc. Contrarieties, opposition, unsociable qualities, gruffness, separation, etc. Reversed: Mental worries, troubles and even alienation. Error, mistake, loss. A nun.

The element of Earth on the Third house acts in the way of the mind and mental processes, and must appear as ‘troubles,’ etc., because it gives the feeling of the mind being burdened, which might easily go as far as oppression. If the burden becomes too heavy, either the body or the soul may suffer severely, and pain, affliction or mental aberration may ensue. This card must generally mean bad news too, the message which brings news of the affliction. It may be a corrective to a too easy and volatile imagination. It will in most cases denote some sickness, as a result of the pressure or oppressed feeling in the mind or in circumstances in general. It may be the result of worrying. The house of Gemini also suggests some suffering on account of distance, separateness, being far from one other. And the oppressed mind, which cannot have its way, may easily denote the spiritual condition of a nun or some one who takes refuge within the precincts of a monastery. In this case, however, the motives are not of the more elevated or exalted order: there is spitefulness, vexation, bitterness on account of unrealised hopes, want of idealism. So this does not indicate the idealistic type of monasticism. The card typifies the worries of the lesser sort of mind, also small talk, evil thought, the wrestling of the inferior mind with matter and all that may be expected from it.

The Oracle of the Tarot – Exoteric Tarot

By Paul Foster Case (1933)

Three of Swords
The radiant Eye in the circle suggests understanding. But it is understanding gained through sorrow.

Time period
Second decanate of Libra, under the combined rulership of Saturn and Uranus, from October 3rd to October 12th.

Sorrow, disappointment, tears. Delay, absence, separation, divorce. Disruption of friendship, interruption of cherished projects, quarrels; mischief-making acquaintances; yet sometimes the position in the layout suggests Platonic friendships and is usually a symbol of honesty and fair-dealing in money matters.

Slander; selfishness and dissipation; deceit and with respect to promises; loss in legal affairs.


Further reading

More information on the Three of Swords Tarot card.