Three Of Swords Meaning in Intentions, Conflict, Action, and more!

In this article, we explore the heart-rending Three of Swords’ meaning in terms of intentions, advice, and conflict.

Table of Contents

The Three of Swords Tarot Card as Intentions /  What Someone Wants

When describing a person’s intentions, the Three of Swords denotes romantic interest in most cases. However, things are rather complicated. They might want to start an illegitimate affair or hang on to a failing relationship.

Otherwise, they could be missing someone who’s currently absent and need time to grieve.

Whether this is about your partner or a person you’ve just met, the card reveals a strong desire for romance. But with the Three of Swords, someone will always end up getting hurt.

Be very careful; this is blind passion and not true love.

Even if they have your best interests at heart, they’re not thinking with clarity right now. They might keep secrets from you so as not to hurt your feelings, or try to maintain a sweet but fleeting illusion to keep you in check and have someone by their side out of habit or loneliness.

On the other hand, this person might be missing someone special whose absence has created a void that nothing can fill. They’ll need time to process their feelings and let them go. Until then, all they can do is try to numb the pain and forget.

Three of Swords Reversed as Intentions / What Someone Wants

In reverse, the Three of Swords denotes a strong desire to heal and forgive, to start over and feel better after a traumatizing event. This desire might actually undermine one’s efforts; if they are so bent on getting over it, how can they succeed when it is constantly on their mind?

We could describe this as the “desire not to desire.”

When we want to let go of our longing for someone, there still is this intense driving force in the heart; by wanting to forget, we concentrate on what happened even harder, pushing the mind to focus on the hurtful thoughts, the memories, the absence… It’s like wanting to be sad and stuck in the past!

Moving forward this way is very difficult indeed.

For a relationship, this could be a sign that someone is thinking about breaking up but not without giving it one last chance.

Keep in mind that if there’s bad blood between you and this person, they might be ready to meet up and talk about it so you can both move on.

What does the Three of Swords Tarot Card mean in Conflict?

Regarding conflict, the Three of Swords most certainly points to hurt feelings after a harsh truth has been exposed. It’s not so much about enmity and tension; this is the numb sorrow and disappointment after a painful but necessary confrontation.

Hurtful words of brutal honesty; one cannot simply take back what they’ve said once it’s out there.

No matter whose fault it is, all parties involved in this conflict face the same kind of pain and difficulties. A lover who wasn’t particularly honest decided to come clean; two friends had a falling out for personal reasons that may have nothing to do with the actual relationship.

Before you assign blame or start justifying your actions, stop and think about it. Will this resolve anything, or will you add another layer of misery on top of sadness? In the East, there was the saying: “Sad man, don’t speak to sad people…”

So if you’re feeling bitter, take this advice and be careful how you speak to people with a volatile temper or a broken heart. Most importantly, try not to take it personally. Think of a wounded animal; it will strike back or run away if you approach it and won’t understand that you’re trying to help.

In the end, however, it is absolutely necessary to rip the Band-Aid off and speak the truth even if it’s going to hurt.

What does the Three of Swords Reversed Mean in Conflict?

In a conflict situation, the reversed Three of Swords means that the fighting’s almost over. Maybe it’s time to bury the hatchet and move on, to forgive and let bygones be bygones. It could, however, denote antagonism and bad blood; there’s no love lost here and parting ways is the right thing to do.

The reversed Three of Swords has a slightly more decisive, if not sincere, vibe. The time has passed and the sky has almost cleared up. It’s just that the record needs to be set straight. Try not to think in terms of gain and loss: relationships are not games with winners and losers.

This will likely refer to a conflict in the past the consequences of which are starting to fade. It’s your decision: will you forgive them (and yourself) and let it go, or is there nothing more to say? Sometimes the best we can do for others is leave them be so they can face reality on their own.

The Three of Swords Tarot Card as Action

As an action card, the Three of Swords tells you to identify those situations and people that create sorrow and complications in your life and put some distance between them and yourself. Be honest and direct. The truth is always better than a pleasant lie.

For a relationship, this is sadly a sign that maybe it’s time to break things off, look after yourself, and take a well-deserved break in solitude as indicated by the next card of the series.

It will be the first of many steps; even as you distance yourself from the source of discomfort you will realize that the actual problem that clouds your vision can only be traced within.

Generally, the Three of Swords is about embracing pain and sadness. You cannot change other people, but you can change yourself and your environment if it comes to that. It’s time to place the memories, both good and bad, in the box where they belong.

Take one last look if you please; there’s nothing terribly wrong with feeling sad and nostalgic, so long as you acknowledge that you deserve to feel better after the storm has passed.

Three of Swords Reversed as Action

When reversed, the Three of Swords is about learning how to apologize and show forgiveness. You have to come clean and move on from the current situation to something better, or you’ll keep committing the same error. This can never be too easy and usually calls for awkward confrontations.

Long story short, the card is telling you to snap out of it and call a spade a spade. This could mean facing up to the circumstances, addressing the matter directly, and explaining your actions to those affected by them, however painful that may prove.

Sometimes words are not enough to clear things up and further block the way to healing, especially if pride is involved. In most cases, however, it’s still better to try and talk things out. Even if it gets you nowhere, you know you’ve done all you could.

Bear in mind that there’s probably nothing worse than deliberately hurting people with little white lies, dishonesty, irony, and the like; the card strongly advises against that. Actions speak louder than words and, if we want to help others, we have to clear up confusion as much as we can.

The Three of Swords Tarot Card as Advice

The Three of Swords’ advice is about coming to terms with loss and grief. You must fully experience sadness and sorrow before your vision clears up. Recognize the source of your emotional pain, then try to express your discomfort and channel the negative energy into something useful and positive.

The first thing to do when your mood matches the Three of Swords’ rather grim atmosphere is to accept the pain and let it all out. Open your heart, cry, and scream into a pillow if you have to.

If you talk about it and express these emotions without restraint or shame in a safe environment, observe how the pain turns into power! But after venting, you must understand that enabling these situations and dwelling in sadness and anger is a waste of time and an excuse.

A great mistake people often do when beginning this process is taking others’ words too seriously and believing this tragedy is all about themselves. They take it personally as if no one else has suffered as they have, and they let the pain turn them into villains.

Now they can justify their thoughtless actions and evil thoughts. They don’t really want to heal and will just hurt others in their wake. Years may pass and they will still feel bitter, but also entitled, about something that isn’t even about them…

This is a rather unhealthy coping mechanism but hopefully, it’s the exception and not the rule.

So, no matter how deeply you’ve been hurt or what you’re currently going through, keep in mind that only time, kindness, and understanding will eventually help you out of it.

Absence, sorrow, and heartbreak, all test a man’s character, and it’s only natural to sometimes succumb to hopelessness and even selfishness. But if you’ve got people by your side who care about and understand you, the burden gets a little lighter.

Be grateful for what you’ve got and respectful of what you’ve lost. Eventually, this too shall pass and the sun will shine again.

Three of Swords Reversed as Advice

When reversed, the Three of Swords means that a negative point of view is blocking the way to healing. It’s difficult to move on because your own thoughts have turned against you. You need to forgive yourself and let your emotions run their course. Try not to involve others; this problem is yours and yours alone.

Perhaps you’re blaming yourself, finding excuses, or running away from your feelings. You cannot outrun guilt or rain for that matter.

The more you consciously try to forget, the more vivid the memory becomes. You should face the music and accept what happened, embrace the pain, and then let it all go until there’s nothing left for the mind to obsess over.

Be mindful of the story you tell yourself and always question the criticism of others toward you, especially if it’s meant to hurt you. Even praise can get in your way if it’s enabling a sense of complacency and false security, flattery is poisonous.

When we repeat the same words over and over again, they become an inner truth that’s hard to get rid of afterward, creating ripples of confusion.

The key here is releasing the pain and allowing thoughts to flow freely without discrimination.

The process is different for every person but the starting point is acceptance. Know that you are not the first nor the last human being to experience heartbreak, and all your suffering can and will one day yield something good.