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How to Read the Threes Tarot Cards

Learn how to read the Threes tarot cards from expert Ellen Goldberg, M.A. in this Howcast video.


Hello, I'm Ellen Goldberg and I welcome you to tarot moment with the school of oracles. In this segment we are going to take a brief overview of the threes of the minor arcana. The threes are associated on the tree of life with the third sephirah, Binah the great mother, the sephirah which means understanding. It is the great sea out of which multiplicity will come, which births the entire rest of the tree of life. In fact, the name of the number three is multiplication, and Pythagoras called three the first real number because finally instead of just a point for the one or a line, two points for the number two, we have a triangle and that is the first real form. Every three has a certain stability which can never be upset, but which can issue forth a child or birth something. The three of wands is called the lord of established strength and it is the sun in Aries. We see someone, perhaps the magician at the height or zenyth of his powers. It's a golden afternoon. Look at that golden light that suffuses the card and he's standing high on a cliff, watching his ships come in. This is established strength. He's not aiming for anything, he is there. When you get this card in a reading on the higher polarity it is attainment, achievement, tangible results, but all done with honor, vigor, the energy of the wands. There's self respect here, there's attainment.

On the lower polarity it may have gotten there by ruthlessness, power drive, and really perhaps the ship is going to sink or not come in at all. The three of cups, the lord of abundance, and this astrological attribution is the planet Mercury, planet of the mind, and Cancer the most receptive of signs. So therefore it shows the receptivity of the mind and therefore creativity can flow in.

We see the three graces toasting to the joy of life. This is a card of creative abundance and it's well aspected or in its higher polarity it's creativity, joy, merriment, perhaps even a child going to be born or a marriage going to take place, but certainly there is plenty to celebrate here and inspiration. On the lower polarity maybe there's too many ideas, too much inspiration with which you really don't do anything at all. Perhaps the cups spill out and there is disappointment or a blocked creative feeling. The three of swords is a very special card because it is called the lord of sorrow, but it has a very high astrological attribution, this Saturn, the planet of karma in Libra the sign of justice and harmony. Saturn is exalted in Libra. This is no ordinary sorrow as Crowley points out in his book of thought. This is [inaudible 03:50] the world's sorrow, the sorrow that unites all human beings. I see it as the compassionate grieving of the mother because all threes come from Binah, because the great mother knows that when she gives life she also gives death.

Because the swords are the mental suit there is a memory here, a feeling and a yearning for oneness because now after the threes, the energy is going to cross the abyss down into manifestation and there will be a yearning for wholeness that will not be achieved again until we rejoin spirit. On the higher polarity there is an understanding of why there is suffering, there's compassion, there's an understanding of the universal sorrow, there's a realistic use of it and perhaps growth from it and wisdom that you gain from it. On the lower polarity it's just paralyzing depression, not understanding the sorrow, and the mind turned upon itself in a very vicious way. The last of our threes is the three of pentacles, lord of material works where we find another planet in its sign of exaltation, Mars in the sign of Capricorn. Capricorn represents work and Mars is energy and there is nothing that Mars would love more than to just work to its hearts content. We see here a cathedral being built and there is a workman here.

Perhaps it is you being visited by two very curious people. One we can see absolutely is a monk but who is the other? It's the fool, so the craftsman you is visited by the vision and the voice, the vision being the fool, the voice being the monk or the Hierophant, and he is ornamenting this cathedral with seals of the great work. Look at the three pentacles. Those represent the threes that come into the top triangle on the tree of life that represents the god head the supernal triangle and there is a cross and a rose, the rose crosses here. On the higher polarity this card is about building and construction that goes very well, work that is satisfying and purposeful, building truth into the body by your habits of activity. On the lower polarity the work goes poorly, maybe there is mediocrity in everything and certainly it is unsatisfying. I hope you have enjoyed this little glimpse into the threes. On behalf of the school of oracles, bye for now.

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