One of the things I love most about collecting tarot decks is the subtle differences of how different decks interpret some of the cards. Artwork is one of the things I look at when deciding to buy a new deck, but the story of the deck is really important too.
If you look at the cards below, I have the Three of Swords from three different decks; Shadowscapes Tarot, Dark Fairytale Tarot, for comparison, the Rider-Waite-Smith, which the first two decks are derived from.
Now, the Shadowscapes Tarot is sometimes described as a whimsical deck, in that it’s quite gentle in a lot of its images, and it’s a deck that I won’t hesitate to use for many of my clients. The Dark Fairytale Tarot on the other hand, is pretty dark, like its name says, and I’ll only use it for clients if I know they can handle it.
However, if you look at these particular cards, the Three of Swords from both the Shadowscapes Tarot and the Dark Fairytale Tarot, the Three of Swords from Dark Fairytale Tarot is much more hopeful in its depiction than the Three of Swords from the Shadowscapes Tarot.
The general meaning of the 3 of Swords is heartbreak and anguish, and a lot of people get scared by that, especially if the question asked is one about love.
The swan in the Shadowscapes deck is impaled by the 3 swords, and there’s blood everywhere. That’s pretty horrible, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be a disaster. The fact is, you won’t die from a heartbreak, even though you may feel like dying. In time, you will heal, and the hurt will be a thing of the past.
Now here’s what I like about the Dark Fairytale Tarot’s depiction of the Three of Swords; the girl playing the violin in the picture and the energy of the swords pulsing through the heart makes it seem like more of a furious melodramatic energy, like that of a teenage girl who storms and cries over a breakup, and then the next week finds a new boyfriend who becomes the new current love of her life. It’s like channeling your emotional turmoil into art, music, or poetry, rather than being devastated by a tragedy that leaves you paralyzed and unable to get out of bed.
The Three of Swords is about heartbreak, sure, but it doesn’t have to be paralyzing, and it doesn’t have to last long.
Every scenario and every reading is different, and this card’s meaning will be influenced by the other cards in the reading as well, but one thing to remember if you get this card in a reading, is that no matter how much it hurts, or how little for that matter, ultimately, it’s your life. You make the decisions on when and how you will move on.
And you will move on.
This too, shall pass, and you will find happiness again.
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