The 3's of Tarot belong to Binah the 3rd Sephiroth who is called Understanding. She is also named the Sanctifying Intelligence and the Parent of Faith by Dr.Paul Foster Case, founder of the B.O.T.A.. Being named the Sanctifying Intelligence and the Parent of Faith, the implication that any religion of any sect, could not have a "church" without this underlying structure of Sanctifying Intelligence.
As Mary is the Church, in Catholic doctrine, so is Binah the Parent of Faith, not the faith itself, but its parental intelligence that is the foundation of organization, structure and sanctity. She is the Will to Form, and your body is the "church" of your spirit; a church/temple you wouldn't have without the Creatrix-Binah.
You may ask, "What has this to do with sorrow?" To make this simple, she is the Crone in this card, and the Crone is the death of the “you” that you think you are. Not the Real Personality that is of the Soul's making, but the false you made by culture and indoctrination.
As the concept of Virgin, we have Binah as Priestess-Androgyne, as concept of Mother we have Binah as Empress and wife of the Emperor and here She is as the beginning of Crone which forms in Geburah. As Crone of the Trinity Goddess of Maid, Mother and Crone, she is the intelligence in charge of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, which is: All things proceed from order to disorder. In the beginning the Abyssal womb was chaos, and in the end, chaos returns. Here, the Emperor's order is destroyed. And the original Sorrow of the only "I" in the Universe returns. Sorrow of the Divine is not the mundane sorrow of our emotions, but the Great Sorrow of having to destroy your most beloved. We forget that before the I AM, there was only "I", the one energy that cannot be destroyed but only transformed...and soon found out that it could also be transmitted by imagining "other". I is Spirit, Am is Mind, and now other is born and when I and Other unite we have a child-Me. However, the child is measurement/time bound and must have a beginning and end. Having to destroy, the Child is indeed a great sorrow.
Let me explain: many of us think that “freedom of choice" is happiness, but we forget that in order to have "freedom of choice", we must have a beginning and an end, both of which create and individual I AM Me, and an individual End of Me. As Spirit, we just Are, there is no up, no down, no in and no out; we just are and exist both "here and there". But as a Spirit who runs a material body, and therefore an intimate being, we have the freedom to choose up, down, in or out. This freedom of psyche is really free-doom (Anglo-Saxon root word of freedom meaning,” I choose my own death”) for we also get to choose our body-death. Be it ignorant or an intelligent choice, it is still our Psyche’s/Souls choice. Therefore, freedom of choice also brings great sorrow and great joy, love and sadness etc. With the Divine Creative Mind of Imagination, this freedom also contains the burden of insanity and/or intimacy with chaos as order degrades into chaos.
Again, we have bodies so that we may form the necessary "software", that proves idea as information and/or a personality. Spirit doesn't discriminate-----it just is! The Psyche (Mind) experiments with what "I AM"... and to be hands on and/or intimate with this Creation, it must have Hands! You are how the I AM is intimate with "Me"/identity. For you are all 3, Spirit-Mind-Body and the big lie of the Patriarchy is that you are divided and alone. Divide and Conquer is the foundation of all dogma and indoctrination. Truth being, you are the "Heavenly Human", known as Horus to the Egyptians, and Adam Khadmon to the Qabalists, a perfect copy of the Divine Trinity. That is why you find yourself talking to yourself. Mind to brain; brain being the animal intelligence and Mind being the Divine Creative Intelligence.
As Master Jahaladine Rumi, the twelfth century Sufi master and poet said about sorrow; "Sorrow prepares you for joy, it violently sweeps everything out of your house, so new joy can find a space to enter. It shakes the yellow leaves from the bough of your heart, so that fresh green leaves can grow in their place. It pulls up the rotten roots, so that new roots hidden beneath have room to grow. Whatever sorrow shakes from your heart, far better things will take their place."
What many of us forget, to be the Only One creates a process of awareness that One is all there is and One is alone, unable to share, to express to itself as “another”, or in any way able to define existence. The “I” needs the “Am”. Therefore, a great sorrow of loneliness was realized before the WILL TO FORM (“Am”-Binah who is understanding) was thought of and thus creating EXISTENCE. Existence is not enough, for it is as mathematics, unfeeling and "cold". However, realizing the difference between I and Other, creates the Child-Me. Now the family of Self is complete and intimacy with Self, is created. Having to destroy this child, in order to transform, is a sorrow to the One Energy that Cannot be Destroyed.
The 3 of Swords, is the number of the major arcana--key 3- The Empress and to her the great Sorrow of the Mother , "giver and taker" is felt. This is not only because of death, where she takes them within but a sorrow of observation as well, for she has given birth to Beautiful Children who often think themselves into acting as Monsters. This hurts a loving mother. Also the fact that those beautiful children must end because to begin is to end. Because of the need to transform we know that sorrow arrives with every loving attachment in this world of matter. To receive is to lose. To begin is to end. To love is to expand and liberate the mind from the body, yet needing a body to be felt as love; the mind must return to sensuality in order to develop discerning SElf- thought/identity and intimacy. Many of us know that to love is to end in loss...but we will love after loss anyway, for we must be intimate. Love is our nature and loss, is the beginning of a new gain. This understanding, doesn't lessen sorrow, it just helps us move forward with tears running down our face. Thus, there is strength gained in understanding sorrow, whereas, fear of sorrow weakens us.
Therefore, the 3 of Swords is also called the Lord of Sorrow, so once again we get confused by sexual connotations. But energy is male in expression and female in reception. The Planet attributed to the 3 of Swords is Saturn in the sign of Libra. Saturn is the Creation God of Myth that ate its own children. Today we know this destructive god as Time. For Time eats its own children.
The Angels of the Decan are Hayayel and Hoquiam.
Here we have the influence of Binah in the Astral World of Yetzirah. The Power of Saturn is destructive and initiatory bringing a presence of pain and hardship as Saturn is also Chronos, “Grandfather Time”. But as we may know, hardship and suffering are often where we learn life's greatest lessons. So the Dark Sterile Mother, is not evil, she is a Sanctifying Intelligence. In the 3 of Swords, the weight of Saturn. whose metal is lead, unbalances the Scales of Libra, in order that they may be rebalanced in an improved way. So the Crone is the perpetrator of "Tough Love, "and for a Mother having to use tough love to teach her beautiful vulnerable children, brings a sorrow as well. This is implied as the Rose of Five Petals illustrated in the Thoth Card. Her heart, if you will, is torn apart by the piercing of the three swords. This card suggests the Dark Sea of Binah, a Womb of chaos, where things are deconstructed to be reconstructed.
The Tarot of The Ages- Three of Swords displays and individual torn by grief. The gloomy signs of dark sky, and vultures plus the handmaidens of fear and anguish who are holding 2 more swords/thoughts of self destruction and image which reinforces the definition of the self-destructive nature of grief and sorrow. Here one just wants to escape the shadow side of being. For to have pleasure, is to have sadness, to have love , is to have grief, to have life, is to have death and visa versa. We know these thoughts are self-destructive by the man stabbing his breast with his own sword/mind. But the only way to make these thoughts self-destructive is to fear them. Above all things know thyself.
What applies to the Thoth 3 of Swords also applies to the Tarot of The Ages-Three of Swords.
When the 3/Three of Swords-Sorrow is thrown during a reading:
If ill defined by surrounding cards:
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