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Tarot for difficult days- the 3 of swords

I have a genuine fondness for the 3 of swords. I find the image a really satisfying one, and exploring the imagery with a client is a useful way to help them understand the message of this card.

I have come across this card many times being described as "heart break" or a relationship break up. It certainly can represent both of these experiences, but for me the card also offers practical advice. The power of Tarot really happens when we focus not only on the past or the future, but on how to best navigate the present.

We see an open heart in the card- no rib cage, no padlock, nothing to protect or hide the heart. We see an open and vulnerable heart.

We see three swords thrust through the vulnerable heart. In the Rider-Waite deck I associate the suit of swords with our logical mind, and our words. To me this card is asking us to "speak/write our emotions honestly."

There is rain behind the heart, I really associate these with tears. Allowing emotion to be felt, expressed, allowing the tears to flow, is a really healing experience. Far more helpful than keeping it all bottled in, or projecting our hurt onto others.

I think one of the reasons the 3 of swords is associated with relationship break-ups is because so often a break-up is initiated with the phrase "we need to talk" when one partner decides to unburden themselves with the many small things that are wrong with the relationship, often creating a narrative that is then only focused on all the things that they don't like about the other person. This flow of complaints, often built up over time, is hard to recover from.

It is important to find ways to express how we are feeling, otherwise our feelings can come out at the wrong time, to the wrong person, or in such an overwhelming flow that the other person doesn't listen. Or we push our emotions aside, refusing to feel them, and in time all emotions become hard to feel. Not just sadness but joy as well. I have seen the 3 of swords represent clients who felt nothing. So focused on not feeling their pain, there was no emotional landscape at all. Just a dull grey of existing.

If the 3 of swords is an important card in a spread, or a stalker card, then I turn to the practical advice. (I love exploring the practical side of cards- I even have a free crib sheet you can download here).

I see the practical advice for the 3 of swords as "express your emotions honestly". Depending on the cards around the 3 of cups, or the individual circumstances, sometimes this simply means "express your emotions". This could include:

  • Journaling, just writing it all down.

  • Writing letters, but not sending them.

  • Venting to a good friend who knows its not about them.

  • Speaking to a therapist.

  • Shouting whilst in a safe space.

  • Speaking to someone who can mediate (perhaps a line manager or family member)

  • Speaking to the person/people involved.

My experience is your emotions do not have to be expressed to the person involved (sometimes that isn't practical or safe). Just expressing the emotions makes a real difference.

As a shaman, who often reads tarot, I can experience "transference" with a client. This means I can often feel what a client is feeling - especially during shamanic healing, but often during a tarot reading.

Blocked throat chakras are a nightmare for me. I talk as a tarot reader, and chant as a shaman. I need my voice! Yet so often I feel my throat tighten up, I need to cough, try and clear the blockage. Blocked throat chakras are incredibly common, it can be hard to speak our emotional truth. Its one of the reasons I often have a hot drink to hand for my work, to ease my throat chakra if I am connecting to my client's block (along with my coffee addiction if I'm honest..)

If you feel your throat chakra is blocked you can try any of my suggestions above. You can also:

  • Try working with sky blue crystals, or wearing a sky blue scarf/item of clothing.

  • Try expressing the smaller truths first. If someone asks you what you want to drink instead of saying "I don't mind" ask for what you want. It helps to start with the smaller, manageable truths.

  • I have a led meditation you can try here, designed to help release a blocked throat chakra. You can hear the 20 minute drummed and chanted (Lokk-seidr) meditation here.


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