The Running Press Tarot- 3 of Swords, carries on its light-hearted tradition of fanciful art. Here, an active spade pommeled sword cuts the top off of a heart - shaped turnip while 2 other spades, representing swords in the playing card deck, are passive. According to the author, Dennis Fairchild, this card symbolizes misinterpretation of another's actions and or intentions. It also illustrates a regretted separation which requires one to "keep their chin up" and look for the light at the end of the tunnel.
The 3's of Tarot belong to Binah who the Third Sephiroth is called Understanding, she is also named the Sanctifying Intelligence and the Parent of Faith. Here is 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" 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.
As the concept of Virgin, we have Binah as High Priestess, as concept of Mother we have Binah as Empress and here She is as the beginning of Crone which forms in Geburah.
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 in order to experience "freedom". As Spirit, we just Are, there is no up, no down, no in and no out; we just are. But as a Spirit who runs a material body, 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 intelligent choice, it is still our Psyche’s choice and one must remember, that Psyche was a Greek goddess who loved Eros who is the "Flesh". Therefore, freedom of choice also brings great sorrow and great joy, love and sadness etc. With the God Mind of Imagination, this freedom also contains the burden of insanity. Again, we have bodies so that we may form the necessary "software", that is a discriminating personality. Spirit doesn't discriminate-----it just is!
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) became Will's (Spirit's) direction and thus creating existence; I AM, as Self in Form-I Am Me.
This card is a 3, the number of the major arcana--key 3- The Empress and the trinity of Self Awareness, I Am Me and to her the great Sorrow of the Mother Destroyer is felt. For she has given birth to Beautiful Children who often think themselves into acting as Monsters and set about fearing life and destroying it. This hurts a loving Mother Ocean of the Universal Collective Unconscious, who must purify, by dissolving all that is profaned. Also the fact that those beautiful children must end because to begin is to end and She is the Mother of Time, who must end all that she creates.
Because of energy's 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 also needing a body to be felt; the mind must return to sensuality in order to develop discriminating and/or discerning thought. Hence, even the Soul feels the loss of its most beloved-the body. Many of us know that to love is to end in loss...but we will love after loss anyway. Love is our Spiritual Nature and loss, is the beginning of a new gain as "love heals all wounds". 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.
The Thoth Tarot- 3 of Swords-Sorrow is also called the Lord of Sorrow, so once again we get confused by sexual connotations. But energy is male in expression and female is reception of expressed energy. The Planet attributed to the 3 of Swords is Saturn in the sign of Libra. 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” who was considered Female as Juno, before she was denounced by the Patriarch and declared male. But as we may know, hardship and suffering are often where we learn life's greatest lessons. So the Dark Sterile Mother and/or Crone, is not evil, she is a Sanctifying Intelligence. In the 3 of Swords, Saturn 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 become deconstructions to be reconstructed. Where the 3 of I Am Me, just becomes 0, the egg of Akasha.
In traditional tarot, this is often interpreted as an end to a relationship between 3 important people in one's life. However, the Arcane of Qabalistic Tarot, demands that one goes deeper into the "inner world" of Spirit, and understands the Universal Melancholy in the Womb of Chaos and/or the Abyssal Womb. Here the Great Mother Binah, the Life giver, must now become Saturn the Great Destroyer in order to balance the Scales of Libra. Mother's never love destroying their own Children, no matter how much they have become monsters. Although the Mother Aspect of Binah has an intense lurking passion to create, time demands its due, as all form is constructed of Time in Space and/or as form in egg; a point in time. To begin is to end. Yet, the Great Destroyer, also becomes the Great Initiator and rebirth is near. To love is to become acquainted with sorrow.
When the Three of Swords-Sorrow is thrown during a reading:
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