Tarot Card Comparisons: The Thoth Tarot- 3 of Swords: SORROW & The B.O.T.A. Tarot- 3 of Swords
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Thoth Tarot & comparisons

Tarot Card Comparisons: The Thoth Tarot- 3 of Swords: SORROW & The B.O.T.A. Tarot- 3 of Swords

The Tarot of EliThe Thoth Tarot-3 of Swords- SORROW:
of the Hermetic Qabalah, represents the state ofuniversal sorrow. It is a prevalent state of melancholy within the Divine Creative, that we find when in the deepest meditation. It is based on both the lurking passion of "Will to Form", to create but She then must also destroy; her Form Children must die, because they have a beginning and all things that have a beginning have an end.  There is also the sorrowful fact that the "Golden" human child Her Son/Sun (not a sex but the Christ/Buddha consciousness ), have become monsters in their own minds and that they destroy their own beauty with thoughts of self-destruction.

The Thoth Three of Swords-Sorrow:
The Great Mother, Binah, rules the suit of Air in this card's imagery. Binah, the 3rd Sephiroth named Understanding, in this state of consciousness, is not the beneficent Great Mother of the Trinity of Kether and Chokmah, but rather is seen here as the Dark Deep Sea of the "Abysmal Womb"; The Impersonal Mother.

This is a very difficult doctrine of the Arcane, for the average student to grasp. Much study and skrying is recommended for those who wish to be "rebooted" as the original "seed atom" of Psyche. But this requires one to "BECOME SORROW",  which destroys all desire power, leaving only sorrow as the only identity of I AM, i.e. of existence. Once that is achieved, one enters the Great Impersonal of the Mind, which then "sucks" one into the Abysmal Womb for the Impersonal is in sympathy with this infinite dark depth. There is nothing left of the individual in this state, only the "seed of beginning" that started into an "individual" evolution of Self. This is really inexplicable, for to even imagine that one is without desire, is a desire! All I can compare it with in modern lingo, is that it is like registering your computer, where all that you are and/or thought to be "self", a "software" that one has randomly assembled over time (in this case billions of Soul years) is disassembled and re-assembled into what you were always meant to be...But only if the Great Abysmal Womb decides to do so! Otherwise, one isn't, any more.

One may remember that Gautama or Siddhārtha Gautama, who became The Buddha, only did so after he became Sorrow (as did Christ on the Cross when he asked why god had forsaken him). Interestingly, love will not get one to the Abysmal Womb where the Soul is "rebooted" and/or resurrected only extreme sorrow gets one there. 

In the Zodiac, this card is Saturn in Libra which accentuates this darkness.
This is the melancholy of the Universal Mind; the Womb of Chaos. Further understanding may come from analyzing the second law of thermodynamics which states"...Everything proceeds from order to disorder". Therefore, in this card, the Great Dark Sea of Mother is a brooding sorrow, for all Her bright beautiful children must end, as they are built of time, or have become monsters of their own fear and prematurely ended themselves.

This is a deep heartfelt universal sorrow that is not necessarily human even though it can be felt by humans, although they can never again be the same.  We must remember, that contrary to our religious or cultural teachings, darkness is not a negative for Unlimited Light is darkness to us, because it has no end or beginning to observe, therefore our True Identity is Dark-Light/Energy; the original Self. Light Energy in reflection, is visible to us as the self-reflection and gives us a beginning and end to see; a self-reflection that Self must have "to know itself" which is to Understand itself; However it must forfeit the "Paradise" of the Impersonal (Eternal Bliss---which is a falsehood because there is no "feeling" in this state), and become personally involved with the beginning and end of all things; with love and sorrow.

The Great Dark Womb, is a birth giver of limited light, the stuff that all form is made of and therefore the Dark Sea (See) of unlimited Imagination that is The Divine Creative, who created it's Self Image, as Light! To truly understand the Joy of the Greater Self, is to also know the Great Sorrow that limit imposes on self and the Great Enjoyment of being limited.  In the limits of Time/Space, to create is to destroy. To create what one loves, and watch it die, is one way to experience sorrow of the Divine.  In the realm of the physical world, life must eat itself to stay alive (The serpent that eats its own tail), which is another form of sorrow.

In the Thoth Deck Three of Swords, the sword of the Magus with point uppermost, cuts the junction of the two curved swords. The Impact destroys the Rose, causing disorder which implies the supreme transcendence of natural order (...all things proceed from order to disorder).

The back ground of this Thoth Tarot card is a brewing storm of implacable light. A very deep and visceral understanding of this card's symbolism is necessary for one to become a Magi... as the foundation of this universe comes from the transformations of energy-in-motion generated by sorrow.  For in the beginning, there was only I and I realized it was the only One. It realized, " Am alone".  Therefore "I Am" (God's name)  was first existence conceived from the idea of loneliness/sorrow. I AM Me, is the first expression of Love.

In an individual context, this card can represent thoughts of sorrow, where brooding over the loss of the past is currently producing sorrow. Much like the universal sorrow, we created something we thought would be joyful but it ended up as a heartbreak for it ends, making us release the "dream" we so long mentally supported to the sea of sorrow all around us.

The 3 of Swords/Sorrow card also represents triangular relationships such as, Father, Mother and Child, and could represent our first sorrow experienced in this family context. Therefore it may imply brooding over the past of 3wks, 3months or even when we were 3 years old. This sorrow is a piercing of our core identity, as shown by the sword piercing the lotus. How we handle the first triangle relationship is how we will handle the next ones; be they friend-sibling-mate or friend-co-worker-friend.

No matter the relationship triangle we may experience, the tendency for the mind to hold  grudges or network the parts of past pain into present circumstances, leaves us in the past as a "wanna-be" personality of stasis rather than a I AM Me personality of action and change.

When thrown this card suggests the need to remove oneself from the triangle relationships that produce sorrow and that are not constructive.

Of course,there are many fruitful and constructive triangle relationships; However, the two swords at the top being bent by the entry of the third sword, can show us that something must be resolved between three people.
Also the central sword can be an event that bent the receptive and dynamic sides of our nature which can confuse our relationships with male, female and ourselves.

Astrologically, the three of swords is Saturn in Libra.
  • Saturn reminds us to do things in a step by step method so that we can achieve the mental, emotional and physical balance represented by Libra.
  • We are reminded to see the whole of our past, rather than focus only on the sorrowful moments.  By doing so, we will often see the benefits that the past sorrowful event bestowed on us, rather than just emotional pain. 
  • This card reminds us  that by limiting our view of the past (Saturn) we can not achieve balance with past, present and future as symbolized by Libra.

In past blogs on the subject of Binah, you may remember that Binah is the Third Sephiroth 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.
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.To have a Mother of Life, is to Create a Mother of Death, for to have a beginning is to have and end.
As the concept of Virgin, we have Binah as High Priestess, The Great Virgin Sea, that ancients called Mari. As concept of Mother we have Binah as Empress and here in the 3 of Swords, 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. 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 and here freedom is really free-doom, for we also get to choose our body's death; be it ignorant or an intelligent choice, it is still our Soul's choice. Freedom of choice brings the Power of Limitation to light, but also brings great sorrow for we must destroy or allow the destruction of the one we love into being. But choices also bring great joy, love and pleasure; thereby defining the paradox of Limitation.   Again, we have bodies so that we may form the necessary "soft ware", that is a discriminating personality. Spirit doesn't discriminate, "it just is"; I AM is existence which is impersonal and therefore lacks the ability to discriminate and/or discern! I AM ME, is Alive, and must discern to stay that way for a time.
The Thoth card- is a 3, the number of the major arcana--key 3  The Empress and to Her the great Sorrow of the Mother is felt. For she has given birth to Beautiful Children who often  think themselves into ugliness. This hurts a loving mother, Also the fact that those beautiful children must end, as must all Form of which she is the source, is yet another addition to the burden of sorrow, that arrives with every loving attachment in this world of matter.
Many of us know that to love is to end in loss but we will  love after loss anyway. Love is our nature and loss, is demanded by time while also being 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 courageous strength gained in understanding sorrow, where as, fear of sorrow weakens us.

 is also called the Lord of Sorrow, so once again we get confused by sexual connotations.  But energy is male in expression (Will to Force) and female in reception (Will to Form).  Again, the Planet attributed to the Three of Swords is Saturn in the sign of Libra.  The Angels of the Decan are Hayayel and Hoquiam. 
In the Hermetic Qabalah the 3 of Swords represents the influence of Binah-The Womb of the Divine Creative, in the Astral World of Yetzirah.  The Power of Saturn is destructive and initiatory, bringing a presence of pain and hardship. But as we may know, hardship and suffering are often where we learn life's greatest lessons.  So the Dark Abysmal Mother, is not evil, she is a Sanctifying Intelligence.   In the Three of Swords, Saturn unbalances the Scales of Libra, in order that they may be re-balanced 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 children, brings a sorrow as well. This is implied as the Rose of Five Petals, 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 B.O.T.A. Tarot-3 of Swords, does not get into the deep mystery of the Great Abysmal Womb. It just shows three swords arranged in a triangular relationship.  it is subtle in its showing of the unbalance of this triangle relationship, as the hilts are not all joined.  However, the meanings of the B.O.T.A. card are those attributed to the Thoth 3 of Swords, as The founder of the Builders of the Adytum, was the Hermetic Qabalist, Dr. Paul Foster Case.

Triangles also depict a plane, whose depth isn't decided, and therefore infinite.

When the Three of Swords-Sorrow is thrown during a reading:
  • The querent is experiencing thoughts of sorrow.
  • reoccurring thoughts of sorrowful past events.
  • The sorrow of a triangular relationship that is out of balance.
  • Disappointment and heartbreak.
  •  A type of recognition where one must give up one thing to gain another.
  • Releasing;  a gift of sorrow, allowing the querent to release and let out the pent up stress of feared emotions.
  • Here difficulty precedes power.
  • Also, for initiates, who travel to the abyss, this sorrow is soul deep, for it is of the Sorrow of the Creatrix, who has to destroy to rebuild, which will happen to the personality that succeeds in traversing the Abyss.
  • In three weeks or three months the querent shall experience unhappiness, sorrow, tears.
  • Disruption of plans,interruption,separation, quarreling, sowing of discord and strife, yet there will be mirth in evil pleasures, deceitful in words.
  • Depending on the dignity of the cards around it, it could also mean honesty in money transactions, selfish and dissipated, yet sometimes generous.
  • Depicts the sorrow felt by someone who goes against their greed, which they generally relish as a win.

Thank you for your interest, comments and supportive donations. May you live long and prosper!

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