Tarot Card Comparisons: Thoth Tarot- 3 of Swords: Sorrow & The Barbara Walker Tarot- 3 of Swords:Sorrow
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Thoth Tarot & comparisons

Tarot Card Comparisons: Thoth Tarot- 3 of Swords: Sorrow & The Barbara Walker Tarot- 3 of Swords:Sorrow

The Tarot of EliThoth Tarot-3 of Swords: Sorrow & The Barbara Walker Tarot-3 of Swords: Sorrow.

The four 3's of the Hermetic-Qabalistic Tarot:

Since the Thoth Tarot of the Hermetic Qabalah is inseparable from the Tree of Life, and the minor arcana (small cards) are numbered according to the Serphiroth that rules their action, the 3s are all associated with the third Sephira- Binah: Understanding. Thus, in each of the 3s the idea has become fertilized, i.e. Understood and because of this fertilization, the triangle has become formulated. In Qabalah we know that the Triangle is the Strongest structure (Trinity), an empirically stable plane and therefore, the idea of the card is now a strong union and able to give birth to children, and thus evolve.
 
The 3 of Swords-Sorrow:
 
The Lady of Sorrow, is a often misinterpreted card, due to the mutable nature of mind, which is why it is compared to the element Air.
The idea of division, separation, and mutability, the airy quality of things, is understood and manifest in the 3 of Swords.

In the darkness of Binah, the Third Sephiroth, is the mourning of Isis for her lost love, the dismembered Osiris...a "Dying God". This is not the common sorrow, dependent on any given discontent or individual disappointment. Rather, the German word, Weltschertz, meaning The Universal Sorrow, best expresses this Conscious Energy state of Melancholy. For to give birth to your bright and beautiful forms, and then having to kill them in time, can only bring sorrow to the mother, who is "the will to form", and Time herself.

In Physics, (Thermodynamics) this is the realization of the 2nd law of Entropy, where everything proceeds from order to disorder or as an ancient has stated," The Mother watches her bright and loved children become deformed monsters......" This sorrow is best known by Mothers who love their children with all that they are, while watching their lovely child's self identity degrade into becoming an addict, criminal or worse, a mass murderer and then death.  Such sorrow is visceral and often beyond the understanding of those who don't conceive; However, this Sorrow of Separation is even darker for the Great Mother that has conceived us all, and watches us destroy one another in the name of "ideas", without "understanding" that ideas, are just servants of Creators. No life is to become a servant of an idea.

Separation, also brings great Grief to Lovers, who long only for Union. In each of us, deep down in the inner depths of ourselves, is that great hollowness, that great lonesomeness, we've inherited from the Universal Sorrow....that's also what drives us to "fill the whole", with stuff (greed), religious seeking (spirituality),  and "finding that soul mate". When we understand that this Universal Sorrow, is part of us, we'll stop trying to flee from it in our "pursuit of happiness", because, to have Sorrow, is to already know happiness. The I AM must conceive of and destroy the ME! For the I AM is the alpha and omega of the Me.
 
Truly, what is even more sorrowful and therefore represented by the 3 of Swords, and only if we understood the difference between "man-made" self and God Made Self, we would understand the deep sorrow of the "childhood self" locked away in a dungeon of contradictory Ruler made-definitions that shaped us into the adults who destroy higher consciousness, in their pursuit of happiness; a pursuit which is just trying to find the "lost original bright-self".  The hole we feel is the "lost Joy" that is the "Child within", the Original Identity-definition- that made us manifest. We dug a hole in our heart for to bury our- bright and beautiful selves, so we could please others, hoping they wouldn't reject us. The Fool Card attempts to inform us of this. Lost innocence, is a hole in our self image...holes don't allow completeness and result in sorrow; holes are graves. We have become divided against ourselves, burying our divine beauty out of fear of rejection and thus are will is conquered.

To Reiterate: The Thoth 3 of Swords-Sorrow, of the Hermetic Qabalah, represents the state of universal sorrow. It is a prevalent state of melancholy that we find when it deep meditation. It is based on both the lurking passion to create but its children have become monsters in their own minds and also the fact that the beauty created must be  necessarily destroyed in order for energy to Transform. Transformation is the Universal mechanism for movement.

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, often before expected, making us release the "dream" we so long mentally supported.

The Thoth 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 swords 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.

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 before the stress of the situation destroys the relationship.
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.

The Great Mother Binah, rules the suit of Air in the Thoth card's 3 of Swords imagery; Binah, is a "dark Womb" which the Unconscious emulates.  Hence, Binah, the 3rd Sephiroth, named Understanding, and is shown in state of rippled "darkness", much like the Fallopian tubes of a female [...either of a pair of tubes along which eggs travel from the ovaries to the uterus]. Here she is not the beneficent Great Mother Empress of the Trinity of Kether, Chokmah and Binah, but rather is seen here as the Dark Deep Sea of the Abysmal Womb; the Womb of Chaos which is The Impersonal All-Mother, A No-Thing. This is a very difficult doctrine 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 Universal Sorrow, which destroys all desire power, leaving only sorrow as the identity of I AM.

Further understanding of Universal Sorrow, 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 and prematurely ended themselves. This deep, heartfelt universal sorrow is not necessarily human even though it can be felt by humans.  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 Core Identity is the Dark-Light/Energy that has emerged from the Universal Womb of Chaos.

Our world of Light in reflection, is visible to us as the reflection gives us a beginning and end to see; a self-reflection that Self-thought must have "to know itself" which is to Understand itself. Hence,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 which can only be called Chaos. To truly understand the Joy of the Greater Self, is to also know the Great Sorrow that limit imposes on us. 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, which is another form of sorrow, often symbolized by a Serpent eating its own Tail.

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 the Thoth Tarot card is a brewing storm of implacable light. A very deep and visceral understanding of this card's symbolism is necessary, as the foundation of this universe comes from the energy-in-motion generated by sorrow.  For in the beginning, there was only I and I realized it was the only One. It realized, "I Am and no-other".  Therefore "I Am" (God's name)  was first existence conceived from the idea of loneliness/sorrow. "I AM Other", is the first expression of Creation and Understanding the difference that exists between I and Other, creates Imagination/ The Great Mother of All forms.


In a more mundane concept, the 3 of Swords represents thoughts of sorrow, which come from events and/or past patterns that have not been released and dealt with. This card also represents a triangular relationship that generates sorrowful feelings or thought.

 As stated, astrologically, this card is Saturn in Libra and is not a vulgar sorrow, but a sorrow of universal consciousness; a quality of melancholy that radiates from the Great Mother. This deep sorrow comes from the fact that She gave Life to Her Beautiful children, who have become monsters in their own "I's". Also all that is created, must die. This causes a sorrow in any Mother's heart.

Let me ask you this: is the lower statement logical?
 " If I wish a great artist to warm up to me, I should of course insult their work."  If you have answered," That's ridiculous, the artist will be upset with me and stop listening to anything I say", or some such, then you can understand that to call ourselves, sinners, inferiors, weakness, cowards, sluggards, evil, bad etc. we are insulting the Greatest Artist ever ....Our Creator! To get
The Divine Creative to listen to you you don't beg and plead because you are a miserable wretch; If you do you'll not be heard or seen- Because the Divine Creative can't hear you nor see you as such! To the Divine Creative you are all Beautiful Children who are made in Its own Image! Approaching The Divine as a grateful, loving child who is proud to be the Divine's offspring and who knows, that we can never be "god", but that "god can be us" by Divine inheritance. To me this is just common sense! On earth, children who demean themselves cause great sorrow in their parents hearts! I AM Me--- Not--I wish I ain't Me, will get you a personal audience with your Divine Parents!

Once, it becomes known to the " Child" in us, that humankind's persistent self-destructive behavior, as a choice over Love, greatly Saddens the Great Mother.  Because of this behavior, She cannot see us in our disillusioned identities, as Her perspective is Love of Being the Child, not fear of her own creations. Hence, we who fear our own presence (fear of rejection), become lost children to Her, and she grieves the loss deeply. Only through the perspective of  Love of Self and Those Selves around us, can we approach Her...but then the celebration of being "Seen" by Her, dissipates any sorrow! When the prodigal comes home, She will indeed "kill the fatted calf".

You want to be less sorrowful in your life? Try this. Say , "Thank you Divine Creative for making me ---me!" Don't beg for what you don't have, thank the Divine Creative for what you do have and the coffers of your Divine inheritance are open to you! Remember the biblical parable of the Prodigal son? The son, who wasted his inheritance on useless pursuits, until he was destitute and near death. Well he didn't receive a return of his wealth by begging his father for more, all he had to do is return to the "original home" of his birth rite and upon approaching that home he was seen and given back all the wealth he never knew he had! To return to the Original Idea, that created us is to know thyself! I Am The Rich Child of Divinely Rich Parents----who would never allow me to lack---anything! But by believing in " I lack", I have chosen it as a reality for myself!

Freedom of Choice, can be a great generator of happiness and wealth or a great generator of sorrow and lack! We have Freedom of choice, because the Divine Creative sees us as self-images! To not see yourself as a Ruler of your own definition---is to be handicapped and divided emotionally and mentally against yourself! "I was defined into being by my Creator....no further definition do I need from anyone---including myself. I am good enough for Divinity, I am good enough for Me! Thank you Great Self for declaring me as your child! "

Therefore, Sorrow is a process of thought that allows one to create, see error, and correct  it ( Wisdom). The reason I trust myself---because The Divine Creative Trusts Me! I am Evolutionary Self Awareness! Now sorrow for us, is but a fleeting thing, rather than a permanent suffering, for my moments of expectation are short. I now know not to assume or expect, rather create , observe and correct error.The second law of Thermodynamics is in all creation.[...all things proceed from order to disorder] and I am unashamed of error as I know that it is 50% of wisdom. It is known to me, that I err and that proves to me I am a creator as well.


In the Thoth 3 of Swords, we see the Sword of the Magician, cutting the junction of two short swords, destroying the Rose/Lotus with its impact. In the background, storms are brewing in the implacable night. The Sword of the Magician is "Will"; A will direct form the Kether who is " I Will Be"! Therefore represent here is the Will-to-be that has been perverted by multiple thoughts of Will-not-to be...the perverted will of a "wanna-be".

The Three of Swords, is also Binah in Yetzirah, placing the influence of Binah in the Astral World.The Chaotic World of dreams.

Astrologers know that Saturn is a very influential planet, sometimes called "The Great Destroyer" and sometimes the "Great Initiator" and represents Time. However, though the  presence of Saturn usually means pain and hardship, it isn't evil, as through suffering we may encounter the Dark Sterile Mother (Crone). From her we learn life's most important lessons.
The Barbara Walker Tarot- 3 of Swords also uses the title of Sorrow. Here one is shown having difficulty accepting the dictates of natural law. Specifically the 2nd law of thermodynamics. The Suit of Swords, in Tarot, is traditionally known as the "death suit".

In Buddhism there is an allegory of the opposite principles of attraction and repulsion, love and death, known as Kama-Mara, personified as a demon who tempted the Buddha during his meditation on the Middle Way. This tempting demon, almost cause a disastrous interruption of the Buddha's meditation.

From Wikipedia-the free encyclopedia:
[In the Pali Canon of Theravada Buddhism, the expression MiddleWay is used by the Buddha in his first discourse (the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta) to describe the Noble Eight-fold Path as the noble path to achieve Nirvana, instead of taking extremes of austerities and sensual indulgence.]

In the Hermetic Qabalah, the Middle Path or Pillar, represents the Middle Way that the Buddha speaks of. It is the Pillar of Mildness.

To make a long history short:
Mara, as the spirit of death and sorrow, had many manifestations in Middle Eastern religious imagery. She was portrayed as the Syrian-Mari, Hebrew-Marah, Greek-Moera, Celtic-Maura, and so many more. She also became the mater dolorosa (the wailing mother in the temple), whose function was to preform the funeral hymns that the Greeks called- Moirologhia (Word of the Fates).

The death priestesses used dirges called houloi, "howlings", that Herodotus said, originated in the Libyan temples of Athene.There once was a traditional belief that dead men had to be sung into the after-world by feminine charms (carmen), expressing formal by not necessarily sincere grief.

The traditional belief that is the 3 of Swords Tarot Card, was based on "tears of woe", connected with a holy woman or with singing. The keening lament, was a warning,  as though a balance of dangerous powers, shown in the Two card, or the Two side Pillars of the Three Pillars of the Tree of Life, might tip over, one way or the other, resulting in tragedy.

When the 3 of Swords is thrown, the querent is experiencing or will be experiencing:
  • 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.

    •  This card suggests the need to remove oneself from the triangle relationships that produce sorrow and that are not constructive.
    • Unhappiness, sorrow, tears, disruption, interruption, separation and quarreling, that have lasted or shall last for 3 weeks or 3 months.
    • There will be or has been the sowing of discord, strife, mischief making, and yet, mirth in evil pleasures.
    • Because of the influence of Saturn being both "destroyer and initiator", the 3 can also be faithfulness in promises, honesty in money, the motivation being both selfish and dissipated , yet sometimes generous.
    Now if the card is accompanied by the more Spiritually inclined Major Arcana, the Three of Swords, empathizes the deep Spiritual Melancholy of the Crone, that the querent is experiencing as they approach "the dark night of the soul".

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