Minor Arcana: The Threes

Enterprise, heartache, employment, and celebrations…this is the standard meanings for the three of wands, swords, pentacles and cups.  But there is so much more to these threes.  Three itself is an important number in the occult world.  There are the three faces of the goddess; the three faces of the god, and the number of power witches give to the energy of their spell casting.  Is there a reason a lot of important documents are printed in triplicate?  The threes hold the secret of ancient power and mystery.


Apprenticeship, employment, the basis of how you support yourself and your family, this is what the three of pentacles deals with.  The cards surrounding the three of pentacles in a reading will offer deeper insight into this area of your life, including new avenues and unexpected opportunities.
This card has also exposed those people in the work place that don’t have your best interest at heart, those who might deliberately undermine your success through jealousy, envy, or self-promotion.  However, the three of pentacles have also pinpointed those people who might further your cause, offer support, or give you access to that first rung on the ladder to success.

This card has also appeared in my readings to indicate that ‘more work’ was needed in a variety of areas in a querent’s life. It can also reveal laziness, lack of ambition and unemployment.  But at the other end of the spectrum, the three of pentacles has showcased a character who is capable of deep and prolonged concentration, remarkable determination, and steadfastness.  The three of pentacles can appear as a card of doubt and hesitation regarding the employee, but it has also appeared as a card of accomplishment and success.


Where does one begin with such a card, such an image—the human heart, pierced by three swords?  This image itself amplifies the standard meaning of the three of swords—gut wrenching heartache, sorrow, and loss.  This card has often come up in my readings to indicate infidelity, the pain of a physical loss, divorce, sudden tragedy, as well as physical manifestations of heart disease, an impending heart attack or heart surgery.  The level of ferocity of this card, as well as its meaning and nuance for a particular reading, will be revealed by the cards surrounding it.

The three of swords has also appeared when someone needed to stop beating around the bush and get to ‘the heart a matter’, when someone had to find their voice and ‘make a point’, and when someone was going to step blindly off the curb and right into a new relationship without first looking deeply enough into their own heart.


As I’ve read in countless books, the three of wands is considered one of the most positive cards in the deck.  However, I don’t always get this sense from this card.  I feel the character on the three of wands is waiting for something, perpetually, patiently, forever waiting.  I call this card “waiting for your ship to come in”.  Eventually your endeavors will be successful, but before that moment arrives, patience and perseverance are going to be called for, maybe in large doses.

This sense of waiting can produce a feeling of restless anxiety.  The most a reader can tell you when this card appears is that everything will work out in the end, just not by your time schedule.

Oddly enough, this card has also come up in some of my readings to signify an affair, a ménage-a-trois, or bi-sexuality.  It can also tell us that someone has become so focused on one aspect of their life—job, person, pastime, etc., that they are neglecting other people or areas of their life.


This is one of the most cheerful looking cards of the deck, usually depicted as three maidens or individuals raising their goblets in celebration and revelry.  It screams ‘party’.  And this card has announced weddings, births, and upcoming events such as graduations, anniversaries, and sometimes totally unexpected celebratory events in a querent’s life.

The three of cups has, however, also revealed alcoholism, extreme egotism and other mental issues that deal with the illusion of grandeur.  This card has warned of draining energy, wasting time, severe hyper-activity, mania, reckless debauchery, and wanton irresponsibility.  It has raised warnings, suggesting a querent slow down a raucous and unbridled lifestyle.



Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.