Monday, 18 June 2012

Burning Emotions

Today's card from both the 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!

In terms of differences, the two things I notice in the earlier version of the card are: firstly, that the downward pointing sword was plunged less deeply into the heart.  Secondly, the whole heart was lower in the image, whereas in the Royale the heart is almost centred on the card.  One thing this brings to mind is the idea that, just as we can plunge a sword into our own hearts, so too can we pull it out.  In the Royale, the image feels more balanced, but it may not be a very happy balance.  Rather, it is one where we keep hurting, equally cut by a number of different thoughts. 

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.


  1. I loved your interpretation of the differences of the cards. 'There's more balance but it may not be a happy balance.' Haha! Boy, do I know that feeling well. Like several things are equally needling me from various directions. Oh, to be human!! Ugh!

    It's funny because last night I was pulling cards because I felt lonely, drained and upset. I couldn't even pinpoint why I felt so upset. Just several things were bothering me and making me feel dragged down. So I pulled the 3 of Swords as a recommendation. Feel the pain? Feel the burn? Sort through it somehow? I definitely see this is, 'the only way out is through' kind of thing.

    I hope you have identified the thoughts making you feel most upset and self-critical. It is a very tangled web. Hugs to you. And soothing balm!


    1. Hi MM,

      Sorry to hear you're still feeling kinda bleurgh! :( And yes, I definitely see the Three of Swords as "the only way out is through"! Hope you find some ways to make your way through that feeling healing :)

      As for me, I definitely know what the issues are at the moment. Quite how to deal with them isn't yet as clear... Oh well!

      Wishing you a good weekend,
      Chloë xoxoxoxo