Three of Swords
Etteilla’s interpretation of the card.
Upright: Distance, departure, absence, difference, deviation, dispersion, distant, faraway, remote, delay. Disdain, repugnance, aversion, hatred, disgust, horror. Incompatibility, vexation, clash, opposition, unsociability, misanthropy, discourteousness. Separation, division, rupture, antipathy, section, cut, cutting.
Reversed: Distraction, insanity, dementia, rambling, mental illness, absent-mindedness, wild or crazy behaviour. Error, disappointment, disillusionment, loss, curve, detour, difference, discrepancy, dispersion, dispersal, scattering.
S.L. MacGregor Mathers’ interpretation of the card as it was presented in his book ‘The Tarot’.
Upright: A nun, separation, removal, rupture, quarrel.
Reversed: Error, confusion, misrule, disorder.
A.E. Waite’s The Pictorial Key to the Tarot.
Three swords piercing a heart; cloud and rain behind.
Divinatory meanings; Upright: Removal, absence, delay, division, rupture, dispersion, and all that the design signifies naturally, being too simple and obvious to call for specific enumeration.
Reversed: Mental alienation, error, loss, distraction, disorder, confusion.
The traditional astrological attribution of Three of Swords, and by traditional, we mean according to the Golden Dawn system, is Saturn in Libra.
The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn claimed Rosicrucian descendence. Therefore, the most appropriate astrological interpretation of the cards is the one proposed by Max and Augusta Foss Heindel in their book ‘The Message of the Stars,’ published by the Rosicrucian Fellowship.
Saturn in Libra is exalted and very strong, and therefore his good aspects bring out all the fine saturnine qualities and on that account secure for the person public esteem and recognition. The marriage partner is chaste and pure as gold. This position also brings good health and long life, but when Saturn is afflicted in Libra, the marriage partner is either treacherous or removed by an early death. If the person goes to the law he is likely to lose, and become the object of public disfavour. He will also be subject to urinary troubles.
Saturn in the Seventh House when well-aspected denotes a marriage partner endowed with the saturnine virtues, chastity and discretion, tact and discrimination, prudence and economy, which will be of great help to the person in building up his fortunes socially as well as financially; and this is a very fortunate position save for the fact that Saturn in the Seventh House, whether well-aspected or afflicted, indicates the early death of the partner. An afflicted Saturn in the Seventh House designates a glum, gloomy, cold and disagreeable companion who is always restraining and obstructing the person. “Don’t” is the word most frequently on the tongue. It also gives trouble and loss through litigation, and people with this aspect should never go to law or enter into partnerships for they will always be subject to treachery.
Kárpáthy-Smith Tarot [work in progress]