It's Complicated | When 3 Swords Pierce the Heart


I knew something was brewing, but I didn't know how to face it.  It was painful and heart-wrenching and beyond my control... or so I thought.

That's the tricky part of this Tarot card; the three of swords.  In the Thoth deck (the one I use exclusively) it's called Sorrow.


In other Tarot decks this card appears with 3 swords piercing one heart & in all decks it demonstrates conflict between 3 people.  It's not betrayal, like someone cheating on you, but it is a sort-of Love Triangle, that may not necessarily be between lovers... it's 3 individuals forcing their way in and ultimately, destroying whatever balance & harmony existed before.

All 3 swords aim and stab the center, decimating the delicate Lotus Flower.

In readings, I have actually seen this play out as a girlfriend calling "the wife" and a three-way battle ensues.  I've seen it as a child getting caught in the cross-hairs of angry parents in a custody battle, and as gossiping teenagers being confronted by a heart-broken friend who found out.

It's painful confrontation

When this card comes into play, it's (most often) the words that DO hurt us, not the sticks and stones this time. (But it could indicate physical harm or surgery, depending on other cards within the scope of a reading.)

This situation is shrouded in darkness.  Every person involved is hurting, bringing their own pain & perception of the past in with them.


When this card shows up, it all comes to a head.


Thoughts of resentment cloud judgement.

It's unfiltered and quite often reveals toxins that may have been there all along, only now they cannot be ignored, no matter how hard you try to turn away.

2 of the swords are bending under the pressure of one dominant sword, showing that the one-on-one relationships within the Triangle are under pressure. It makes the whole thing what we call "complicated".

Add to that, some psychological manipulation that may be intentional or not... because we're dealing with hurt feelings here.  We, as humans, defend ourselves when we perceive a threat and sometimes that involves manipulation in order to get our way. And we don't always realize we are doing this. #thatslife


While all swords are pressing down on one small flower, the Big Picture is lost

Just like a sparrow searching for worms on the ground does not have the same expansive vision that an eagle has soaring high above. 

Those involved in the conflict become fixated on their own pain, OR overly concerned for the pain of another involved.

With all swords pressing on the single, precious Lotus flower, when we do choose to Rise Above and take the Eagle's perspective, it doesn't take much to see the common goal...

All 3 involved in the conflict want what the flower represents: peace, harmony & love. 

And it's through the murky waters of sorrow & heartbreak that we discover, ever more deeply, that forceful ways will not allow that to become our reality.


We could consider that the flower was already fading, naturally, as all flowers do. And each person has stepped in, drawn their sword in an attempt to control it and stop the flower from dying; imposing force on a natural cycle. Ultimately, just not wanting things to change.


Every problem contains its own solution.
— Gerd Zeigler, Tarot: Mirror of The Soul


But as revealed within that quote above by Zeigler, therein lies the solution.


The key to resolution of this kind of Sorrow is through The Empress. 

You see The Empress of Tarot is also a 3 card.  You could consider her the Highest or Purest Expression of this number vibe.

She is the Archetypal Mother, nurturer, caretaker.  She is the embodiment of LOVE and creativity.  It's in her power to give birth to new ideas and release the past that she thrives.  Nothing NEW can come without releasing what has served its purpose. 

The Empress knows when #TimesUp and lovingly lets go. 

She embraces natural rhythms, especially within relationships, always sustaining her own Power as a Leader and Creatrix.


Sorrow gets stuck in the Mind.

It's the Heart that frees us.


When we find ourselves engulfed in sorrow, in these relationship triangles, it's important to draw on our inner Empress.  When we are willing to lovingly nurture ourselves, we automatically bring compassion to table for others, especially when those "others" involved are our nearest and dearest.

And it will be a step by step process to heal these relationships.  It will require commitment AND careful consideration of the needs of other people. (Lessons from Saturn and Libra on the 3 of Swords.)

It may take time. (Saturn)  But it will lead to balance and harmony. (Libra)

Ask yourself if you have taken the time to ask those others involved what they need. And mostly importantly, listen when they tell you.  These are steps we can easily skip when we are consumed with sorrow or locked in to our own perception. (swords)

Then, with that clarity you can make choices to clear the air.  You can move toward resolution, and that may mean letting go of a relationship or redefining it.

When it gets complicated with sorrow, remember you can always choose a new, more loving and powerful, way of being in your relationships.  Just like The Empress.  


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For even deeper understanding, I like to draw on the wisdom of the Queen of Swords, as well, because she has mastered the "swords" issues.  To learn more about her, your inner Empress, and how to use this wisdom in your own Life, look into this.