The 3s ~ perseverance
To work, to suffer, to compromise, to celebrate
Employment, work, expertise, cooperation, practice, growth, interaction, concentration, single-mindedness
This card is connected to our work, our employment, our career. But it goes so much deeper. The three of pentacles is connected to our identity. We spend an enormous amount of our time working to earn our livelihood, and what we spend all of this time doing integrates itself into who we are. It doesn’t matter if you’ve spent years studying to practice a highly specific and specialized job, or you flip burgers at McDonald’s… What you do is part of who you are. It can touch all other aspects of your life in a multitude of ways.
Never dismiss this card as simple and straightforward, always look beneath the surface, into the hows and whys.
Something is not “working” in your life. Examine all areas of your life because cogs and wheels have ground to a halt, usually along with purpose and motivation.
My Personal Connection:
This card connects with me, as it might with so many of you, who have known since very early in life what it is you’re suppose to do, exactly what your job should be. But, like me, I’m betting that there are a lot you who took a life time trying to figure out exactly how you were going to do this life’s work, this mysterious calling. With me, it was writing. I began sending out short stories and essays to magazines when I was a teenager, and suffered the humiliation and puzzlement over having them returned, often with a form letter of rejection, but once from a national woman's magazine of the day, a heartfelt letter from an editor encouraging me to continue writing and to give it some time and plenty of work. I still think of this unknown person every once in a while.
I didn’t publish my first book until I was in my 50s. Up until then, in my 30s the only thing published was a handful of fictional stories to literary magazines for a small token of payment. I still have the very first $5.00 check I received from one of these magazines. I kept it. It was visible validation that this can be done!
I have finally found peace with the three of pentacles, though I tend to keep a wary eye on it.
Swords ~ Embracing sorrow and grief at their base level with the purpose of growth and renewal.
Sorrow, broken heart, sadness, depression, infidelity, underhandedness, affair, heart problems
This card wreaks of sorrow, all the heartbreak that can be experienced in a single lifetime. It cries, it wails, it pulsates with pain. It often represents the human condition at its most vulnerable. The three of swords is such a dramatic gripping card, you can almost feel a palpable pain in your chest when you look upon it.
The three of swords severs with the thrust of those three swords. It severs relationships, and it severs hope. It lays us before the world with open raw emotions, our most intimate tender parts exposed.
Climb up out of your sorrow. Failure to do so will result in the burial of all future plans, hopes, dreams, and possibilities. Turn around… turn around now, before it’s too late.
Resign yourself to the fact that there may be something you have to cut out of your life, something that may at first appear to be pivotal to your existence and your happiness.
My Personal Connection:
Anyone who has ever lived has experienced sorrow at some point, whether this is in the guise of broken relationships, the death of loved ones, both human and animal; or the death of dreams, fantasies, and other impossible and sometimes intangible things in our life.
One of the main lessons I’ve received from this card is that you have to pick yourself back up, lick your wounds, and continue moving forward. To do anything else would be unthinkable.
Wands ~ Embracing the gift of successful negotiations and arbitration.
Compatibility, third-party, arbitration, patience, understanding, business, contracts, agreements, polyamory, open relationships
The patience of a saint is the energy that exudes from this card, a perennial sense of waiting, of accepting, of compromising, of arbitrating. This card takes you through the trials and tribulations of life with quiet grace and dignity. There will be no outbursts, no storms, no drama, and no ultimatums. Final outcomes will be reached with an uncanny emotionless anti-climactic ending.
“All good things come to those who wait.” Sometimes quiet persistence and patience will speed us along to positive and desired outcomes. There’s so many lessons to be learned here. Study the surrounding situations and characters with a discerning eye and a quiet tongue.
There’s a fox in the chicken coop. Be careful who you trust. While sitting at the table of negotiation, take a peek underneath to see who’s holding hands.
My Personal Connection:
The figure on this card seems to have an endless amount of patience and endurance. Not all of us are so well endowed. My life is an endless period of impatient episodes of waiting for something… waiting for Santa to deliver my first green two-wheeled bike. I knew it was coming months ahead of time, which was rather torturous, and if the adults around me had seriously reflected on their decision to let me know so far ahead of time, they may have changed their minds. I was 6 years old, and almost every day for weeks and weeks before Christmas, I would get dressed and run all around the outskirts of the huge old Victorian farmhouse to see if this bike might have been left early, honestly thinking I would find it leaning against a corner of the house in the yard.
Waiting, always waiting… waiting to start school, waiting to finish school; waiting to start dating; waiting for an engagement ring; waiting to get married; waiting to get divorced; waiting for a baby to be born; waiting for a job to start; waiting for a book to be done; waiting for someone’s birthday; waiting for an anniversary; waiting for winter to be through, waiting for spring to start; waiting for Friday; waiting for magick to happen.
Always waiting. For me this is the epitome of this tarot card, and I can hear it breathe a deep tired sigh.
Cups ~ Embracing joy and celebration with a light heart and pure conscience.
Milestone, wedding, anniversary, birth, celebration, frivolity, party, revelry, drunkenness, hedonism
Joviality and camaraderie are hailed with the three of cups, but it’s more than just a rousing party. The most important aspect of this card is the What, the Who, and the Why. It’s the reason for this celebration, this gathering, that’s important. It may herald a pivotal milestone in someone’s life. The appearance of the three of cups may be the needed encouragement someone has to have in order to work out a relationship, or keep working towards an important goal.
Life is laced with potholes, and detours, and the possibility of failure breathing down our neck, but this card thumbs its nose at all of them, whispering in our ear… You can – You Can – YOU CAN!
The party is over. The pub has closed. The last glass has been washed. The music has stopped, the crowd has dispersed, and silence has descended. Sometimes we have difficulty coming back down to earth from the emotional high of celebrations. Sometimes everyday mundane life pales in comparison to these milestone moments and the exalted experience of profound success and happiness.
Embrace the normal mundane everyday life between the peaks. There’s so much to learn and experience in the valleys.
My Personal Connection:
At the time I’m writing this, I’ve lived for 60 years. I am amazed, looking back, at the number of celebrations and milestones this card represents. The birth of a baby, a graduation, a personal accomplishment, but also other people’s milestones and celebrations that have touched my life profoundly, especially events connected to my children.
In my 20s I may have misunderstood the three of cups, thinking this was the kind of energy that we should be able to maintain most of the time. This idea will send you on a rampaging streak to find, cling to, and ride this wave of ridiculously high energy, and you might feel that you are failing in some way if you’re unable to do so. But the thing is, it’s physically and emotionally impossible to be hysterically ceremoniously on top of the world for extended periods. Even if you were capable of being this deliriously on top the majority of the time, it would then become the mundane and the regular, it would lose it’s special effect. It would lose the magic.
I wish the younger me would have realized this sooner and actually savored the more quiet times, even if they seemed boring, or tedious, or painfully anti-climactic. The lesson of this card is to appreciate the darker days, the shadows, and the periods of quiet introspection. It will make the sunny days more brilliant and memorable.
The Tarot Parlour
The contents of this post were taken from my book: