3 of Swords: Words From A Waiting Heart,
"Do you love me?"
(c) Cheryl Lynne Bradley 2005-10
"No one is truly literate who cannot read his own heart."
Eric Hoffer, Social Philosopher 1902-1983
The Three of Swords is one of the most visually impacting cards in the Tarot deck. Three swords skewer a blood red heart, dripping blood as well, on a background of clouds and rain. It is a great predictor of stormy weather for the affections. Three swords create six wounds that time does not erase. The swords are in place to hold our heart together after a shattering experience - our hearts are really made of glass after all, and can shatter too easily. Love is a spoonful of sand and sugar washed down with a glass filled to the brim with salty tears. It is full of bittersweetness and longing. Anyone who has had their heart broken knows just how real it is and know the deafening dark silence of lovesickness and loss. This is the soul shaking sound of your heart breaking. Love can be a very destablizing experience especially if the love is not returned and no one can tell you "Why?".
"Do you love me?" is a question based in fear, anxiety and doubt. It is a question that is looking for an answer that reassures and reaffirms that we are loved, wanted and respected. We want to be assured that we are worthy of love and that our love is worthy. When you ask someone "Do you love me?" be prepared, the answer might be "No". We will still want to know "Why is this happening to me?" "How could he/she do this to me?" "How could he/she leave me?" "Why would God (however you conceive God to be) allow this to happen?" We would be better to try and focus on "How to I get through this?" "Can this be fixed?" "Was this a lucky escape?" "How am I going to deal with all this pain and hurt?" "How do I have better future relationships?"
Broken hearts and lovesickness are recognized as a distinct physical ailment. We think we could die from the pain of it all and some people do. Bad or shocking news can break your heart by causing surges of adrenalin that can last for days. The symptoms can be remarkably similar to a heart attack; chest pain, fluid in the lungs, trouble breathing and heart failure. It's not a heart attack, it's "stress cardiomyopathy," which is also known as "broken-heart syndrome." Usually upon medical intervention it is discovered that the patient, who is usually an older woman, has had some recent emotional shock or upset. The loss of a child or a beloved partner for life is a devastation. It makes the wolrd a much colder place and destroys our safety and comfort zones in a very real and permanent way. People with broken hearts can also fall into deep depressions, physical exhaustion, mania, anger, sadness, fear, forgetfulness, lack of self-interest, preoccupation, insomnia and tearfulness. People can fall into a deep state of despair and hopelessness that makes suicide a possibility.
The sun's gone dim
And the moon's gone black
I loved him
But he didn't love me back.
- Dorothy Parker
We are taught to not let our heart rule our heads and then we are told not to let our head rule our hearts. We end up in a pattern of learned helplessness in the face of love and believe we can only find ourselves in this significant other. We may try and apply logic, reason and detachment to this difficult emotional situation. In so doing, we risk and forget certainty, consideration, community, faith, hope and love which also have a part to play in affairs of the heart. Those three words "I love you" are the most powerful words in language. These are the words our hearts wait for and words to be said only when you mean them. They are made even more powerful when the love is denied, unrequited, corrupted by deception, in doubt, thwarted or lost to us.
Don't cut yourself off from the other kinds of love and their particular shades and shapes - the nourishing love of a child, the unconditional love of a pet, the comfort of a good neighbour, the love of a Higher Power, the potential for love around every corner and the tested love of a real friend. Grief and loss associated with a broken heart fall under the category of doing things in your own time - it is your clock and you have to wind it. Always remember these words for your waiting heart: We love and in our loving, we are loved.