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Tarot - 07 Minor Arcana - 03s Love, Kindness and compassion [Intuition]



Type of Spiritual Experience


The next group of cards after the 03s – the 02s - are about Balance.  The group of cards before the 03s - the 04s – are about the Intellect.  Thus in terms of progression/ascension, if one is able to Balance the refined and improved left brained Intellect [Conscious mind] with the refined and improved right brained Intuitive side [Sub-conscious], then one is on the way to achieving the final breakthrough spiritually.

As we have seen the sub-conscious is always symbolically thought of as ‘feminine’.  As we progress even further spiritually into the Major Arcana this feminine wisdom directs The High Priestess, the Empress and of course the symbolic Moon.  Other systems associate her with the ‘wise mother’ -  Isis, Cybele, Demeter, Rhea,  The Virgin Mary, Juno, and so on.  In Indian mysticism, there are the three types of energy but Shiva and Shakti are the masculine and feminine aspects/energies.    According to some, Shakti is the animating life force whereas Shiva is dead, a corpse, without her energy.

Thus this card is the culmination of achievement for the ‘feminine’ and one can either succeed spectacularly spiritually or fail dismally.  The virtues one seeks are

  • Compassion
  • Friendship and companionship
  • Empathy
  • Patience
  • Harmony
  • Honesty [Telling the truth ]
  • Avoiding conflict
  • Peacemaking and diplomacy

Whilst AVOIDING at all costs

wrath, fury, ire, anger, and rage

Understanding, rules this card.

Binah (meaning "understanding"; Hebrew: בינה), is the third sephira on the kabbalistic Tree of Life. It sits on the level below Keter (in the formulations that include that sephirah), across from Chokhmah and directly above Gevurah. It is usually given four paths: to Keter, Chokhmah, Gevurah, and Tiphereth .

Binah is 'intuitive understanding' or "processed wisdom," also known as deductive reasoning. It is davar mitoch davar—understanding one idea from another idea. While Chokhmah is intellect, Binah is the rational process that is innate in the person which works to develop an idea fully.  And Binah is associated with the feminine. The Bahir states: "For you shall call Understanding a Mother."


A description of the experience

Disks [Earth] - Works

The Three of Pentacles shows a young stonemason working with his tools on a portion of a cathedral. In front of him two architects hold the plans for the design.  This is thus an allegory of the Great Work, the building of the new Temple.  The allegory shows that it can only be achieved via teamwork, the teamwork of young and old, male and female, contributing different skills to the overall effort. 

The stonemason couldn’t build the cathedral/new Temple without the help of the architects, and they couldn’t build it without him. Each person has an important role to play, and when they come together as a team, they can create something much more significant than if they were to undertake the project on their own. So, this is about collaborating with others, creating synergies to achieve big results. The Three of Pentacles represents the value of different ideas and levels of experience in collaboration.

This cannot be achieved without Friendship and companionship, Patience with your fellow workers, Honesty in the way you co-operate with them, Avoiding conflict and the use of Peacemaking and diplomacy.

It requires respect and politeness, the ability to listen and the ability to tease out the views of the ‘mice’ from amongst the more confident. 

And it means that all wrath, fury, ire, anger, and rage must be avoided at all costs. If you encounter fear, then you must respond with compassion and understanding.  Even though the backgrounds, experience levels and expertise of each team member may be very different, they can come together to share their insight in a way that creates synergy and improves the finished product.

There should be no ‘us and them’ or any sense of superiority. Instead, each person has something to offer and is willing to learn from the others involved in the project. Everyone gets the job done collectively and contributes to the group through active listening and sharing. It requires that those who work on projects with others, acknowledge the value that each person brings to the table.

The objective of the Three of Pentacles is to symbolise the need for harmony with fellow team members as you are all involved in some part of the Great Work.

And of course it is then important to know what to do if you’re not on the same page as one another, or you’re not listening or valuing one another’s opinions and ideas.  Given that the upright Three of Pentacles is about proper planning and organisation, any problems can suggest that you need to bring more systematic energy into your job. If you do not have a clear view of how you will accomplish your goals, then it will be beneficial to stop work momentarily and plan out your next steps at a detailed level.

There may also be a lack of respect between team members, with individuals trying to prove themselves and gain superiority over others. If this is the case, set clear guidelines for the team, especially around respect and collaboration.

Cups [Water] – Abundance

In the Three of Cups, three young women are dancing with each other in a circle, raising their cups high in the air in a toast of joy and celebration. They look to one another with appreciation, honour and respect, and are bound by their emotional connection and friendship. There is a sense of lifting each other up and celebrating each woman’s unique contribution to the group. The ground is layered with flowers, fruit and a pumpkin, symbolising the celebration of an abundant ‘harvest’ and the goodness in life.  Success – the successful use of the feminine to achieve a project in the Great Work

Women helping women to rise.

The Three of Cups is a card of celebration, friendship, sisterhood, and creative collaborations. This card is symbolically representing the ability of women to collaborate with others on a creative project and inspire one another to reach new heights. Collectively, you are working towards a common goal for the greater good of others, and by reaching out to others and banding together, you can achieve a great deal by sharing your positive energy and passion with the wider community.

The pomegranate cups that are presented on the Thoth card represent the fruit of Persephone to whom, along with Demeter, the goddess's Mother, the card is symbolically attributed.  Note that as this card is Crowley’s there may also be just a passing reference to the pineal gland – often represented by the pomegranate.

Swords [Air] - Sorrow

The three of swords means sorrow.  Circumstances and pressure act on the mind and mental processes, and appear as ‘troubles,’ failure in one’s attempts.  We saw that this is the culmination of an enormous challenge for the ‘feminine’ and one could either succeed spectacularly spiritually [abundance] or fail dismally – and this is what is meant by Sorrow - dismal failure.  The cards for this are extremely graphic in their depiction and are all very similar.

The virtues one seeks to nurture are denied or not found

  • No Compassion
  • A lack of Friendship and companionship
  • Inability to express Empathy
  • Impatience
  • Disharmony
  • Dishonesty creeps in
  • Conflict cannot be resolved or suddenly breaks out
  • There is a lack of peace, and diplomacy either fails or is not forthcoming

One of the problems that many women face is they often cannot control their emotions, and maybe the emotions suddenly reappear and express themselves as a caustic remark, or sarcasm, anger, rudeness and rage, and an onslaught of personal remarks.  Fear raises its ugly head leading to mindless remarks.

Where there was understanding, suddenly there are misunderstandings. Perhaps the disappointment is that much greater because the person has come a long way, but gets no further.

When the failure and sorrow become too great, the body or the soul may suffer severely, and pain, affliction or mental aberration may ensue.   The heart may be either figuratively or literally broken.  The person may realise that their motives are “not of the more elevated or exalted order”: there may be spitefulness, vexation, bitterness on account of unrealised hopes, and a want of idealism.

The card typifies the worries of the lesser sort of mind, and there may be small talk, evil thought, the wrestling of the inferior mind with matter and all that may be expected from it.

Here one is reminded of the darkness of Binah, of the mourning of Isis; but this is not any vulgar sorrow dependent upon any individual disappointment or discontent. It is Weltschmerz, the universal sorrow; it is the quality of melancholy.”

Wands [Fire] – Virtue

Wikipedia states that Virtue from the Latin: virtus, Ancient Greek: ἀρετή “arete” is moral excellence. A virtue is a positive trait or quality deemed to be morally good and thus is valued as a foundation of principle and good moral being. Other synonyms are:

  • kindness
  • morality
  • incorruptibility
  • honour, integrity
  • purity
  • and trustworthiness

The Three of Wands depicts a man in red and green robes standing on a cliff with his back turned.  In symbolism when Red and Green are together Green signifies – Hope and joy, as well as loyalty in Love.  Red is the colour of the Warrior or martyr and indicates a form of strength and magnanimity.  Thus the implication is thus that whatever project was being worked on is well underway, victory  has been achieved without any fuss and 'crowing', the man has a star studded piece of cloth round his body.

Three wands stand firmly planted in the ground. They do not imprison him but indicate a sort of solidity, - a firm foundation on which to further ascend.  He is now in a vast open space, looking out over the sea to distant mountains. He has ascended.  He watches three sailing ships pass by, symbolic of movement and the spiritual journey. From his high vantage point, he can see all that he went through, but now lies behind him.  He is in the symbolic Inward Court.

This is not the end of this journey, there is still one more stage to go before the ace is won, but the days of struggle have diminished and this is safe ground, high ground from which to tackle the next stage – that of achieving balance.  After the joyous celebration of the Three of Cups this is a time of thoughtful introspection.  All that was worked for in the Great Work is now well underway.

Why is the card depicting a man?  The card of course was designed by a man in days when most large projects and works were accomplished by men, as such stereotypes of sorts may have had a hand.  There are even cards [see right] that attempt to get away from this stereotypical view - but they would not be right symbolically.  The implication is that in the future the drive forward – once balance has been obtained – is via the masculine.  The Intellect and Reason must prevail tempered by all the qualities of virtue.

 “Everything is progressing steadily and as expected, thanks to your solid preparation and ongoing drive.  To take advantage of this, you must stay committed to your path and be prepared to stretch beyond your comfort zone, knowing your best hopes lie outside of your current environment. It is time to think BIG.  This card encourages you to dream bigger than your limitations. Accept your vision and be confident you will achieve it.   What’s holding you back? It’s time to spread your wings and fly!”.


Crowley’s card [left] is entirely different.  The three wands are crossed in the centre and have lotus blossoms that are opened and receptive.  There are 10 straight and 10 curved flames in the background. 

Crowley calls the card ‘Virtue’ and one reason is perhaps  due to the three of Wands being associated with the sephiroth Binah in Aziluth, the latter being the highest (and purest) of the four worlds and so our thoughts and actions have to be for the highest good to accurately represent the energy of this card.

Binah (meaning "understanding"; Hebrew: בינה), is the third sephira on the kabbalistic Tree of Life. It sits on the level below Keter (in the formulations that include that sephirah), across from Chokhmah and directly above Gevurah. It is usually given four paths: to Keter, Chokhmah, Gevurah, and Tiphereth (some Kabbalists place a path from Binah to Chesed as well.)

Binah is 'intuitive understanding'. It is the womb, which gives shape to the Spirit of God. On a psychological level, Binah is "processed wisdom," also known as deductive reasoning. It is davar mitoch davar—understanding one idea from another idea. While Chokhmah is intellect, Binah is the rational process that is innate in the person which works to develop an idea fully.  And Binah is associated with the feminine. The Bahir states: "For you shall call Understanding a Mother."

Classical Jewish texts state Binah yeterah natun l'nashim ("an extra measure of Binah was given to women").  In its fully articulated form, Binah possesses two partzufim. The higher of these is referred to as Imma Ila'ah ("the higher mother"), whereas the lower is referred to as tevunah ("comprehension"). These two partzufim are referred to jointly as Imma ("the mother").  The name of God associated with Binah is Jehovah Elohim.

The source of the experience

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