I look at the horizontal swords, which seem to stand out above everything else in the Three of Swords, and feel what might be otherwise complementary and co-operative states pitted against each other. Just what is going on?
It’s funny. I am aware of my own stuck-ness and ambivalence writing about this reading. There’s a sense of frustration when I look at the cards of “not quite getting there” when it comes to defining what they are communicating. This is unusual.
It could be that I’m simply not feeling it, or that I’m somehow cut off. But I’m not so sure.
I think the truth is simpler and more complex than that. I think I am feeling the cards themselves. That sensation I have when I look at them is the sensation that is described by them.
Let’s look at the structure of this week’s Tarotcast first. That’s the key to understanding what the cards are saying – but, most of all, how they are reflecting a state that can arise, or that has already arisen and is all too present, in the one who is looking at them.
On the outside, we have two court cards, both female, one a mother and the other a daughter.
The Queen of Cups rules over the intuitive, watery realms of the deep-ocean feminine. She is feeling-based; she is fluid. She is known, elementally, as “water of water.”
The daughter, the Princess of Disks, is a denizen of the body, of tactile sensuality, of fertility, of the visceral feminine. She is grounded in her curves and in her fecundity. She is known, elementally, as “earth of earth.”
The Queen belongs wholly to her own element, as does the Princess. They are like a mother and daughter who cannot see eye-to-eye. In fact, there is only one visible eye between them – the Queen’s. And she is looking at you.
I wonder what lies behind blue eyes – this Queen who inhabits a different world from the Princess. This difference is emphasised by the colours that separate her card from the cards to her right, as if she were submerged. I notice the Princess’s breasts echoed in the yellow-green globules above the Queen’s head.
I hear the Queen whisper of her daughter, “We have the same hair.“
Water of water, and earth of earth. The two meet at the shoreline, that point of connection between them that is the Three of Swords. And so this connection is defined by sorrow, by a lack of clarity, and by a door so imposing that it feels impossible to negotiate.
Where is the place where both elements are able to combine harmoniously in a foamy streak that stirs the sand into the water, holds a richness of littoral life, and bears witness to transitions and rites of passage from the shore into the waves, and back out again? For here, it seems that a barrier has gone up so that there is no exchange between the two.
The key lies in the meaning of the Three of Swords.
Threes are the moment when the balance and the uniting of the “Two” create something new – a third ‘child’ if you will. It can be a moment of celebration. It can also be a moment of mourning – mourning the closed unit, the perfection of two poles in that instant where they are “one” and “other.”
The Three of Swords is an existential crisis based on the idea of separation from the remembrance of togetherness. It is, at its heart, a spiritual card – the one describing the intellectual response to being banished from Eden.
I feel the sense of sorrow of the sea mourning the land, and in this tale lies a human story of the intuition mourning and yearning for a return to the body.
The mind – that figure in the Three of Swords – stands between both, in a state of suffering due to what feels like a separation.
But it is the state of sorrow itself, and not what the mind believes it is mourning, that separates intuition from body. In other words, the grieving of what is lost perpetuates the division, and not loss itself.
How this separation happened lies beyond the scope of this reading. That it has happened is what you are looking at in the three cards in front of you. And when you can look, and see, you can also see what you can do to open that door.
By reuniting Queen and Princess. By feeling intuition as a sensate force that, yes, moves your subtle body (Queen), but which is also present in your physical body (Princess). Close your eyes and feel how intuition expresses itself physically; how it is expansion and contraction; how it is present in the beat of your heart, in the pit of your belly, in the force of your physical sexuality.
The Queen asks for the grounding of the Princess; the Princess relies on the guidance of what emerges as feeling inside her. Reside entirely in one realm or the other, and you experience the lack of clarity associated with the Three of Swords.
One of the words on the door in the Three of Swords is “Doubt,” a word that suggests that there is something missing in the connection to knowingness. If you experience that doubt, check in and ask yourself if you are both the ocean and the shore, and this can be phrased in the simplest of questions:
“Do I attend to my feelings and my hunches, do I allow my emotions to flow? Is my intuition an active part of how I navigate the world? Do I take all of these seriously?
And do I take care of my body in all its facets, from what I ingest and eliminate, to how I move, to how I breathe, to my sexuality? Do I notice what my body is telling me?”
When you answer “Yes” to all of these, then mother and daughter are re-united.
Astrology Correspondences: Queen of Cups (the watery aspect of water), Three of Swords (Saturn in Libra), Princess of Disks (the earthy aspect of earth)