Threes Intro

The Four Threes – Wands, Cups, Sword and Pentacles

3 of Wands Upright 3 of Cups Upright 3 of Swords Upright 3 of Pentacles Upright

The Kabbalistic Tree Of Life

On the Kabbalistic Tree of Life, the Four Threes reside in the Third SephiraBinah (Understanding/Womb, Supernal Mother) Primal Feminine energy.  Binah  is receptive and gives shape and form to the creation of energy released as it manifests. The Four Queens of the Court Cards also reside here. This is a fitting residence as the Queens being feminine, and the number Three related to creation, growth and development, they provide the necessary energy to facilitate manifestation.  The raw Masculine Primal Energy of Chokmah (2nd Sephira) now joins with its Primal Feminine Counterpart in Binah to create life.  However, the energy released by both is still abstract at this stage but the first stirrings of creation have been initiated.

The Empress (III) of the Major Arcana is also a III.  The Empress embodies the energies of Mother Earth and is responsible for the incubation, growth, development and birthing of all creation.  It is through The Empress that Chokmah and Binah will be expressed as she gives birth to the their combined energies.  The Hanged Man (XII)  is also a number III when its digits are added together 1+2=3.  The Hanged Man shows us that we can grow spiritually even when we feel trapped or tied up by our circumstances and when great sacrifice is asked of us.  The World (XXI) is another III card 2+1=3. The World is the ultimate representation of growth, development, manifestation and ascension. The Empress facilitates creation, development and birth. The Hanged Man grows spiritually while The World acquires growth and development in the Physical. Both are required for ultimate attainment. The Fool must not neglect his spiritual development in favour of progress in the physical or material plane.

Three In Tarot

Threes in The Minor Arcana generally refer to creativity, growth, expansion and development.  It is a very busy, energetic number. Three in numerology represents the upright triangle.  By adding an extra number, Two has been forced out of its inertia and moved forward. An extra direction or path is there for the taking. A decision has been made and momentum builds. Three is keen to get moving. The Upright triangle encourages energy into ascension. The Fool now has a strong sense of purpose. He is able to progress steadily in a certain direction. The apex of the triangle formed by Three becomes his focus, his goal, his destination.

Therefore, we see them individually act on the decisions that were taken in the Two.   After deliberating over whether to stay or go in the Two of Wands, a decision has been arrived at and definite action is taken in the Three.  The loving couple so drawn to each other in the Two of Cups are celebrated and congratulated by all in the Three, as their relationship strengthens and grows.   The stressful decisions or dilemma in the Two of Swords leads to deep pain and despair as the hurt intensifies in the Three.  The financial balancing act  in the Two of Pentacles begins to stabilise  as the correct action is taken in the Three to develop and maintain financial growth.

Three needs to stay on course, otherwise it is prone to distraction and diversion. It can dissipate its energy by chasing too many dreams at the one time (three apexes), or by changing preference from one day to the next. Three has the potential to achieve greatness, even fame and acclaim, but it will amount to nothing if it begins to drift or lose concentration. It may need the encouragement and guidance of its formative parents, the Ace (Magician) and Two (High Priestess) and the loving support and benevolence of its birth mother (Empress) who will want it to be happy and fulfilled. Life opens with endless potential and possibilities for the Three as everyone cheers its progress. Three brings sweeping energy which must be acted upon. It is heart-warming, positive, and optimistic. It is in Three we lay the third cornerstone for the future. We now have something to work with. Life is becoming structured. The Fool has unified any opposing forces in The Two. Out of the Ace and Two the Three is birthed. Three is such a popular energy. It is naturally extrovert, charismatic, sociable, witty and charming. Three is blessed with good luck, finding itself in the right place at the right time on numerous occasions. However, because of Three’s nature, it may be spoiled and over-indulged.

The Two, the unifying of two Individual units of energy, now share an agreed vision and are happy to traverse the same path together. In the Three, compromise has been made and an understanding arrived at. The individual energy units from the Ace and Two may still hold their individuality, independence and identity, but something else has been added to the mix. There is a sense of greater power in numbers. The energy of the Ace begins to mushroom and multiply. More can be achieved through collaboration and joint effort than going it alone. There is a desire to expand outside the territory of the Ace and Two, to conquer the world and learn through direct experience. Three is ambitious. Once it is released from the linear constraints of the Two and gets its first taste of ascension, it wants to climb higher and higher. There is no holding it back. Three stands in awe of the endless possibilities around it. It is versatile and flexible so will be keen to act on as many opportunities as possible.  The whole is greater then the sum of its parts is seen in action in the Three.

Reversed Three

Three seeks to move forwards, not backwards. It seeks expression. When Upright we see the raised cone of energy and the power of potential. Three is positively going somewhere and overcoming any obstacles or challenges in its way. It turns its face to the sun and thinks only of multiplying its success. The Upward Triangle symbolically represents the Element of Fire. Fire when not bound by restriction will seek to expand and travel. Fire will shoot up that which it consumes, its flames rising high into the sky. It is a mighty force to behold. However, when Three Reverses, the apex is turned on its head. Fire becomes tame, passive and controlled. Progress is halted or slowed down by setbacks. Three is going nowhere and may become negative or pessimistic with inertia. Reversed Three can also become self-important with a sense of entitlement. It can display narcissist traits, and cares little for the concerns or needs of others. It is overly-pampered. The Reversed Triangle can also signal a rapid spread of Fire as it loses patience, breaks free, and makes a dash for it. It becomes overly-excited and impulsive leading to recklessness and haste. It travels fast, refusing to check its pace. In its rush, it can overlook important aspects as it flits from one thing to another. Its energy shoots out in all directions bouncing off the apexes of the triangle, getting nowhere in the process.

In Reverse, Three has a problem finishing that which it starts. It lacks discipline and endurance. It procrastinates and dithers, is all talk and no action. When Upright it laughs in the face of challenge and competition, but when Reversed, it becomes weak, ineffective, fearful and paralysed. It may need others to fight its battles or come to its rescue. Reversed Three may have very little to show for itself, lacks ambition and expression. Reversed Three can be introverted and unsociable. It’s Upright good humour and charm turns to cynicism.  If Upright Three draws luck to it, it may appear dogged with bad luck when Reversed.

Multiple Threes

*When only one Three appears in a reading it would suggest that any growth or development is slow and lacks momentum.  New ideas and plans may only be in their infancy and will need time to mature.  When Three or more Threes appear in a reading there is definite growth and development surrounding the issue.  It can represent a time of productivity and abundance.  It can be an exciting, active and busy time but depending on the issue involved it may be a painful situation that is coming to a head.   Regardless of the situation, things are getting done and action is being taken when several Threes appear as the Universe moves everything forward.  Without the energy the Threes provide, decisions arrived at in the Twos would never get off the ground.

The appearance of one Reversed Three in a reading suggests that there are only minor blocks to growth and with a bit of effort they can be overcome.  The more reversed Threes in a reading will find a querant who feels powerless and blocked.  Much effort and help will be needed to move their situation forward.  When three or more Threes appear reversed there is bound to be lack of growth surrounding the situation . There may be external delays and blocks that are hindering forward movement.  It can suggest lack of productivity and abundance.

Reversed Threes often are a sign that you are unhappy with decisions made in the Twos or that the exciting ideas and plans you had back in the Ace have failed to materialise for one reason or another. 


Now Click onto The Three of Wands, The Three of Cups, The Three of Swords and The Three of Pentacles in the Sub Menu where you will find their Descriptions, Meanings both Upright and Reversed along with all their relevant Keywords.

Aces Intro    Twos Intro    Threes Intro   Fours Intro  Fives Intro   Sixes Intro  Sevens Intro  Eights Intro  Nines Intro  Tens Intro


Back to Lesson 6

8 replies »

  1. Hello Vivien
    Apologies if it is not the right place to post this but it is linked to the number 3. I did a 3 card reading after I ran into an old love interest with whom it finished without even starting 🙂 asking if there was any chance for something to start up this time and I got the 3 of Wands (situation), the Empress (actions to be taken) and the King of Swords (outcome), all upright. He is a surgeon from a different country which could be linked to the outcome card.
    Two 3s are a good sign but since I want to read it as objectively as possible, I was wondering as to what number would it be right to give to the King of Swords which on the other hand I’m unsure whether to interpret as a direct reference to the person or acknowledge that as an outcome card it does not exactly exude romance, at least not traditionally.


    • Hello Mila,

      Yes, I can see how you are reading these cards and I know that it is very difficult to remain objective when doing personal readings. As soon as I read that your old love interest is a surgeon, I immediately linked him to The King of Swords. The King of Swords is the symbolic archetypal representation of male academia, professionalism and absolute logical thought processes. Therefore, if I were to choose a Significator for a surgeon, doctor, scientist, psychologist, mathematician etc. I would automatically reach for The King of Swords. The field of expertise he operates in (pardon the pun!) requires him to be focused, accurate and methodical. As a surgeon, he must discipline his emotions in order for him to successfully carry out his work. Unfortunately this can often be seen as a clinical or severe attitude by others, and indeed, the King of Swords can appear distant and sometimes intimidating. He focuses on getting the job done, and very importantly on his career. He will shun frivolity and silly indulgences as he views life rather seriously. However, beneath his often frosty exterior, he is a thoroughly absorbing and interesting character. He can be very charismatic when he wants to be, but you would need to get to know him well before he would feel comfortable enough to open up. He is articulate and mannerly to a fault.

      You mention that the love interest finished without even starting. This is quite typical of The Swords personalities as they are not so quick to give their heart or emotions to another. Sometimes they simply don’t know how to go about it and send off all the wrong signals. At times they find it hard to understand those who wear their heart on their sleeves and can get embarrassed by the emotional outbursts of others. They are very much in control of their emotions, with the exception of The Knight of Swords due to his influencing element Fire, so you would have to stay around long enough to get a brief glimpse.

      The King of Swords is mature and has learned a lot from experience. He observes and analyses people and situations. Encounters with The King of Swords on a romantic level may leave one feeling very frustrated, as it is very difficult to determine whether he likes you or not. Also, it would not be untypical of him to abruptly drop someone or suddenly cool off. It is in his nature, as with all the Swords personalities. This does not necessarily mean that he does not like you or want you. It all comes down to what you really want in a partner at the end of the day, and how compatible you feel. You are not going to get fireworks with this man and there is no use in throwing tantrums because he is not paying you attention, for he will just silently walk away and close the door behind him. If you really like this guy then you will have to play super cool and be patient. He does not like to be rushed into a relationship. Neither will he behave like the Knight of Swords who is constantly jumping in and out of relationships. When the King of Swords makes his move you can be sure it has been well thought out. Impulsive behaviour is not his style. He would take a commitment to another very seriously and would expect the same in return.

      With regards to the number to assign to this King, some readers just continue the order of the suit by assigning 11 to the Page, 12 to the Knight, 13 to The Queen and 14 to the King. However this is only a trend and not based on a particular school of discipline. On the Kabbalistic Tree of Life, the Kings are placed as such.

      2nd Sephira – Chochmah (Wisdom/Supernal Father) Primal Masculine energy. The raw force that brings the change to initiate creation. The Four Kings of the Court Cards and the Four Two’s of The Minor Arcana also reside here.

      I would see your 3 of Wands relating to him being a surgeon from a different country. He has his back to us and looks out over the sea and to distant lands. Do you think that is where his heart ultimately lies? Is this where he focuses his attention? Is it possible that this has something to do with the relationship never really getting off the ground? Maybe he does not plan on being around for long enough to get involved in a steady relationship. He is very career focused and will not do anything to upset that. At present he may be putting it first on his list.

      The Empress is certainly a stark contrast to The King of Swords. She is earthy and laid back, sensuous and alluring. Her whole body language sizzles with desire and passion. She is very aware of herself, but in a relaxed manner. To The King of Swords she may appear as someone out of his league, the most beautiful goddess he has ever seen, the sexiest woman on the planet. On the other hand, The Empress may terribly unsettle him for she is very unconventional and laughingly brushes off any idea of conforming, formality and predictable behavior. The Empress is fun-loving, but strong and powerful. She is also Queen of her own realm, and if she is a representation of you Mila, there would need to be a lot of compromise and understanding between her and The King of Swords. Otherwise they may drive each other mad. The King of Swords must understand that The Empress likes to get dressed up and go out. On occasions she might have one drink too many and dance the night away. The King of Swords may be horrified by her behavior, but if he loves her enough, could thing it quietly amusing. The Empress will set the bed on fire in a sexual relationship, and with a bit of luck, this might heat up The King of Swords sufficiently to drop his guard or defenses, and join in.

      Regarding the Empress being Queen of her realm, might The King of Swords see her as someone who would not leave her world to travel to his? Would she give up her realm for love? The Empress loves her home, the family and all the extended family. Maybe she would not be prepared to leave it all behind to follow her surgeon King of Swords to other lands, or his homeland. Remember, the King is constantly processing his thoughts and analysing every situation in a clean, logical and practical manner. He may be taking all this into consideration.

      However, you are right, you have two threes which do carry some weight with regard to growth and development in this area. It might be in its incubation stage at present and patience is needed. As for a long term relationship, who knows, The Empress and The King of Sword’s personalities may be so contradictory it could turn out to be a huge success. I think you need to find out a little more. By the way, with The Empress appearing as the only Major Arcana Card, I would advise you to be yourself around him. Do not give the impression of being someone else just to appear more suitable or attractive to him. The Empress has nothing to hide, and not to be ashamed of in her Upright state. I am sure she has plenty of admirers and there is a chance he believes that someone as wonderful as you, The Empress, could not possibly fall for a man such as himself. He might think he is the ultimate bore in your company. So think you need to dig a little deeper. If you really like him, follow up on this meeting with either a call, text or email. He may be delighted to hear from you.

      Good Luck,



  2. Thank you Vivien. Very helpful, as always. The personality description of the King of Swords is spot on him.
    Perhaps the 3 of Wands refers to him going on vacation 3 days afterwards our sudden encounter. He said he was very tired of “some things” but it was not work, which he loves very much.

    On another note, the 3 of Wands makes me think of a 3rd person involved, albeit not as blatantly as the 3 of swords. It looks to me as if the man wants to set a course of action for himself without the 2 wands (2 fertile women) impeding his view. Yet from where we look, 2 of the wands are in his right side, so in his future and the arm is stretched towards the Empress which was the 2nd card drawn.

    Maybe I am reading too much into it but it is fun nonetheless. This blog is a colossal work. Keep up with the great work.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes Mila, great investigative work indeed. The 3 of Wands is strongly connected in a relationship reading to a partner from overseas or long distant relationship. His heart may lie overseas too. You said the King of Swords was spot on but how about The Empress? Do you identify with her? Yes, we could look at the 3 of Wands as his 3 day vacation. How did your encounter end? Yes, again to him being career focused. Interesting, very interesting. Will be keeping up the work Mila. So much more to do. x


  3. I identify with the Empress in that he makes me feel like that, he brings up that sensual side of me. Usually I am very suspicious and analytical when it comes to men. I’m a Sagittarius with Acquarius rising by the way, moon in Virgo. Have been thinking to choose the Queen of Swords as significator for further readings.

    I have learned that seeking for his attention was counterproductive and it made him run away which he did with his previous girlfriends who “bored him” with demands.
    Therefore I did not suggest we meet again when saying goodbye. Just like the Empress and the Hanged man, I stand still and wait. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, the Empress waits for the men to come to her. She doesn’t have to prove anything. If you do have the Queen of Swords hanging around within then you might really understand each other. Let us know how things work out.


  4. Just want to thank you for your insightful website. So much great info on the Tarot! Your teachings have answered many questions I had that I have not been able to find on other sites. Great Work! Truly appreciate it.


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