Old English Tarot
3 of Swords
by Helen Howell
Today I’m looking at the Old English Three of Swords. The first thing to remember is that the Swords energy comes from the Air element and is expressed through clarity of thought, mental activity, logic and reasoning.
Again if I compare the Old English Three of Swords against the more traditional Rider Waite, we have two very different images. The Rider Waite image shows us three swords piercing a heart, which immediately gives us the impression that there is some sort of heartbreak going on. Perhaps a relationship has failed. So this card speaks of a situation that alters the way one thinks and causes emotional pain. It’s also interesting to note that in this image Waite has included rain -- stormy days, eh! We all know that rain makes things grow, and can symbolise for us the growth that comes out of experiencing these upsets.
The Old English image however, doesn’t portray that at all. We have a castle, quite an elaborate one ( security) perched on top of a very rounded hill (lifts one up, also very breast-like in appearance, so it could represent nurturing). The hill could represent, with the castle on top, the situation that gives you security and protection and nurtures you.
Above it hang three swords. This could indeed indicate that this security/goal is being threatened. The image shows us that what once looked secure and held promise, now has changed. It could indicate that one has changed the way they think about this situation. Again our thoughts have been altered in a way that causes us disappointment, for what once felt secure and nurtured us, no longer does.
The big difference between the two images is that the Rider Waite gives the impression of a relationship torn apart, by the symbolism of the heart, whereas the Old English gives the impression that a situation we once thought was safe, may not be any more. But what both cards do indicate is that whatever has caused this change in thoughts has also caused an emotional response too.
The LWB says:
Disappointment, strife, abandonment, dispersion.
Reversed: Confusion, mistakes, anxiety.