I watch professional helpers, healers, and Tarot readers a lot. Even before I started reading cards professionally, I worked in the social services. Mental health centers, substance abuse treatment, crisis centers are full of their energy.
Especially, I watched those people struggle with the work. I watched myself struggle with it. It’s not easy by a long shot. I often said, the same empathy that makes people good at doing that kind of work also makes it hard to do that kind of work.
Burnout is a significant problem, and one that made me walk away from the helping professions for over a decade. One thing many (if not most) of those who work to serve others have in common is difficulty detaching from other people’s pain. That’s what I thought of, seeing the reversed Three of Swords.
This card always speaks to me about separations. It’s notable to realize the association with Saturn in Libra—fair and balanced (Libra) boundaries (Saturn). Separation itself may be painful, but as one of the the Tarot Threes, you can expect it to actually be creative energy. That’s something to think about, if you’re clinging—one reason this card could show up inverted. Or perhaps the process is just starting, or blocked somehow. But you don’t see the Three of Swords unless there is some kind of separation energy around you.
I won’t say I’m always stellar on this front, but I work on it actively. Because it’s the only way I can do what I do. And my work is something I deeply value.
Do you have trouble separating from other people’s pain?
Legacy of the Divine Tarot
by Ciro Marchetti