Gilded Tarot (Llewellyn, 2004) and the Gilded Tarot Royale (Ciro Marchetti, 2012) is the Three of Swords, a card of painful emotions be it heartache, jealousy or sorrow.
In the newly revisioned Royale, we see a large heart, pierced through with the eponymous three swords. In its centre is a radiant sun design, and around it flames flick out, burning brightly. Meanwhile storm clouds fill the air with a foreboding gloom. I notice that, although we see the points of the two crossed swords emerging from the heart, the blade of the sword pointing down is completely enveloped by the lower part of the heart.
The sense I get here is of our own thoughts stabbing us painfully. Be it self-doubt, recriminations, or jealousy, it is less about the emotions per se, and more about our thoughts and responses to the situation. For example, if a partner leaves us, we could feel relief, we could feel angry, or we could feel jealous thinking about the new person in their life, or think we are a failure for not being lovable enough. It is not the situation that hurts, but what we think about it: those thoughts can fill us with burning, painful emotions!
Looking to the positive, though, the burning flames in the Royale can be cleansing, just as in other decks there is sometimes a cleansing rain falling around the heart. Difficult situations are also some of the most powerful ones for our personal growth, which isn't easy to remember in the moment, of course.
Ironically, or perhaps that should be tarotically, I realise that there are actually three situations causing me heartache at the moment. This card asks me to consider how I can change my response to these situations, to make them less painful. What are the thoughts about them that are making me sad and self-critical? A big question, and one it may take a while to answer...
I am grateful for the reminder to reflect on my emotions and thoughts.