One of the methods I’ve seen for getting to know a particular tarot deck and understand how it functions is to literally ask the deck about itself. I did a deck interview when I first got the Truth-Seeker’s Tarot, but there are lots of other games to coax a deck into opening up about itself. One of the simplest is to simply ask…
What is your favourite card?
3 of Swords
I’m not surprised to see Swords; if I’ve learned anything so far, it’s that the TST is very sword-oriented. It makes sense: Swords cut through lies and deception, even thought that can be a painful battle. It could even suggest that past pain and battles will be confronted. What is strange on first viewing is the arrangement of the swords – the way they block the city/fortress gate <- first time the word “fortress” has come to mind for this scene. Perhaps it is a challenge to remove those swords (ideas, modes of thought, literal blocks) and open the fortress up to the outside.
The way the swords cross over each other and become “joined” suggests a melding to me. Body, Mind & Soul. The conscious, sub-conscious and unconscious? Ego, Id and Superego? Thesis, antithesis, synthesis? (I know just enough psychology and philosophy to be dangerously misinformed :)) The points split apart again, so this isn’t a “falling into oneself”, it’s a union. Perceiving how things fit together by examining things in their entirety; seeing all parts of an issue. Swords and the number 3 are also about communication, so I see communication between the 3 “swords” as well, to integrate these parts of one’s Self.
Thinking back to other Swords & City cards I’ve drawn, the windows in this card are open and clear. Clarity, the opening of eyes (and “eyes”). And there is a sun above the window on the left. Shedding light on the un/sub-conscious? That would be nice!
This is a very “pointy” card: the swords point upwards, as do the pointy trees and the pointy roofs and the pointy windows. And what is above? Clouds. They’re a little grey, overcast, but unlike some of the other cards with this background, this one doesn’t seem ominous. More like the clouds are clearing away after a rainstorm and the sun is just starting to come through again. The yellow-green cast of the card is very much like the light after a mid-afternoon thunderstorm.
The Swords aren’t about emotion. This is important. If you are truly seeking to know, then you have to be open to the truth, however much it might hurt. Actually, you can’t be hurt by it; truth is truth and how you deal with it is what matters. Too often we allow emotion to cloud our thoughts. Here, the clouds are clearing, revealing the beautiful, serene, pastoral landscape beyond. Freedom.
The LWB says of this card: 3 is the most significant of the odd numbers; 3 symbolizes the creative process that begins after one becomes two and starts to culminate into “ten thousand things” – the whole of creation; the 3 of Swords is the Agent of Change, because fire transforms; interpretation to be used to aid in reflecting upon ourselves and our actions, symbolism helping to unlock our deeper selves.
So, this is a card of joining, splitting and the beginnings that happen as a result; the beginning of a new “you”, as you search for Truth – and hopefully discover some! – and are able to transform yourself and your life. It is a very positive, gentle card, without being sickeningly saccharine or cheerful. Although the book aligns Swords with Fire and Action, I still see Air and Ideas, but there is no conflict. All the elements influence each other and fire cannot exist without air, just as air can extinguish fire if the balance is thrown off. Inherent in this is the concept of balance and learning; learning just how much of one element is needed to keep the other alive without either overpowering each other.
The Truth can hurt, but keeping looking up.