Three: Community and Growth

Top left: This Might Hurt, Top right: Sasuraibito, Bottom left: Star Spinner, Bottom right: Modern Witch

When you pull a Three in your tarot reading, it’s really asking you to open up and invite other people into your life. It’s all about community, groups, and about learning to grow and develop your creativity. As John Donne wrote:

No man is an island

Later in that same poem he writes:

any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind

How can you involve yourself in your community, and the wider world, in a way that is positive for yourself and others?  How can you experience personal growth when you’re a bit burned out trying to do it all alone? The stories represented in these four cards show us how these ideas can play out.

Three of Wands: In the Three of Wands we see someone who has been working hard on something at their desk. They take a moment to look out of their window and see boats sailing by. This moment represents a turning point. You’ve done some hard work and now you’re ready to put it into the world. Will it resonate with anyone? Where will this project take you next? You feel accomplishment for what you have done so far, but you are not close to the finishing line yet. It might be time to ask for creative input from other people, or to get inspiration from other sources. Take a break from planning, and do something practical. 

Three of Cups: This card really speaks to the joy of having people in your life with whom you can share affection. The Three of Cups represents celebrating with others, supporting each other, and helping others in your life to achieve what they want. Perhaps you have a friend who has been working on something and you could signal-boost them on social media. if you pull this card, reach out to your friends and loved ones to see how they are doing. Alternatively, if you are having a hard time, now is the time to seek help and support from others. You don’t have to go it alone.

Three of Swords: This is a painful card to look at. Three swords stick like skewers in a heart. In many decks, this can be quite a gory image. The Three of Swords represents heartbreak and grief. It can be a very cathartic card. rather than push those feelings of loss and sorrow away, accept that pain. If you have lost a loved one, focus on the happy times you had with that person, and eventually that sadness will be transformed into a bittersweet love. Again, this card speaks of community. Don’t suffer alone, allow other people to share in your grief. 

Three of Pentacles: I am reminded of card 3 of the Major Arcana, The Empress. There’s this nurturing energy of self-expression, a proud vulnerability. This card represents teamwork, so put yourself out there, advertise all your strengths and talents, and put them to work where they are needed. This card asks you to consider if there are groups you could join to further your career or business opportunities. If you are struggling alone with something, admit that you can’t do everything, and bring in someone else to help. If you can share and delegate work, it will be completed much more efficiently. 

What do you think when you see a Three card?

14. Temperance: Queerness in Tarot

Along with The Hierophant, Temperance is one of my birth cards. It embodies what I think is one of the most important aspects of Tarot:

Balance.

The great thing about balance is it’s a non-judgmental concept. There are many people who will tell you things like ‘stop eating carbs’ or ‘go for a run every morning’. Whether or not you think those things are healthy, it’s not always practical to completely stop or start doing something. Habits take time and willpower to form. Embracing balance means to do what feels right to you, just keep it in moderation. Not much in life is black and white, and Temperance teaches us to appreciate the grey areas in life.

This isn’t about being a centrist, or never taking sides, it’s about recognising nuance, and the myth of duality. What do we often see as dual, or binary?

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Middle: Rider-Waite-Smith, Top left: Sasuraibito, Top right: Star Spinner, Bottom left: This Might Hurt, Bottom right: Modern Witch

An idea I love about Temperance is that it can represent the inherent non-binary nature of gender. Rather than there being two genders, male and female, it makes more sense to see gender as a spectrum:

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Source

If you look at the symbol on the character in the Temperance card, you see a triangle inside a square. A triangle has three sides, and a square four. The third and fourth cards of the Tarot are the Empress and the Emperor, so it is like this character blends or balances those energies together. That is also what they are doing with those cups, and also by having one foot on land, and one in the water. Bringing together opposites, balancing and mixing what we usually see as separate.

There are other ways that you can bring this balance into your life. As the Little Red Tarot post says, think about things like work/life balance, or not making extreme decisions.

I am reminded of something that Weston says a few times in his podcast Root Lock Radio: you contain multitudes. I’m not sure who came up with that phrase first, but it possibly comes from this poem by Walt Whitman:

Song of Myself, 51
Walt Whitman – 1819-1892

The past and present wilt—I have fill’d them, emptied them.
And proceed to fill my next fold of the future.

Listener up there! what have you to confide to me?
Look in my face while I snuff the sidle of evening,
(Talk honestly, no one else hears you, and I stay only a minute longer.)

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)

I concentrate toward them that are nigh, I wait on the door-slab.

Who has done his day’s work? who will soonest be through with his supper?
Who wishes to walk with me?

Will you speak before I am gone? will you prove already too late?

When you pull the Temperance card, think about what aspects of your life need balance. A lot of people struggle with black-and-white thinking. This is also sometimes called ‘splitting’. It’s the inability or difficulty to see the middle ground. Look for words like ‘never’ or ‘always’ in your thinking patterns: ‘I always screw things up’, ‘I’ll never find any friends’.

Noticing these patterns is the first mindful step towards reframing your thoughts in a more nuanced way. What ideas do you have for changing such thoughts?

Earlier I mentioned habits, and that’s something we will revisit next time when we discuss card 15: The Devil. Like Death, this is not a scary card, but it does show us what can happen if we do not practice Temperance.