A man standing at the crest of a hill, overlooking a breadth of sea died yellow and orange with sunset, the mountains tracing the horizon in the far distance. Three rods stand at his sides planted deep in the ground, with one firmly grasped in his strong palm. A slight breeze brushes his hair aside but does not have the strength to move his heavy layered robes.
This is something that I can empathize with. For the majority of the Tarot, humans are placed in overwhelmingly symbolic and unnatural environments, some being more relate able than others. When I drew this card its humility and hushed way of speaking brushed over my mind, teasing me much like the breeze does to the man's hair. I have stood like this many times, overlooking a variety of worlds, off in North California, in Colorado, in Utah; from a perch nestled in beauty and strength, I solemnly watch the environment that thrives beneath me.
Just as this man does here.
He silently watches as the world morphs and breathes underneath him, moving in the mystery and depth of understanding that is synonymous in all nature around us. He conceptualizes himself in the mix, and envisions a plan unfolding in the tides and churns of the ruthless and lively sea. He is a dreamer, and a thought-provoking man that is inside all of us, watching the world move around us and seeing himself in the throng, beautifully matching the rhythm of the waters around him.
Three is a number that is repeated in cycles in various cultures and religions in the world. Christians have the Holy Trinity, Wiccans have the law of threefold karmic forces, and three makes up the smallest nuclear family. Even the day has three cycles, the morning, the afternoon and the night. The Christian conceptualization (repeated in many religions of the world) of the existing afterlife has three dimensions interconnected with one another, the dimension of Heaven, Earth and Hell.
Numerology indicates that three is a number brimming with creative energy, full of ideas and thoughts that drive the very nature of art and communication. It is a number of cyclic luck, of everything falling in place in the right time, creating a path of success as each step of the long and interesting journey being taken. It is the number concerning social charm and humor, of friendliness, adventure, and brilliance.
In this card, what is immediately visible is the three rods, silhouetted against the yellow sunset, the strong back of the man that stands looking out to see, and the very fact that he can see the world around him from an elevated height indicates this man is on a cliff or on top of a mountain. The man looks out to the world, seeing things that are invisible to the onlooker--opportunities, challenges, an upwards climb to reach the top of yet another mountain. This man is extremely driven to accomplish whatever success he can already envision, his resolute certainty indicated by his facing out to greet the challenges with abundance of strength and talent. His arm outreached indicates his confidence, reflected in the deeply driven poles that stand unshakable in the ground. Yellow, the color most expressed in this card, communicates a strong surge of joy and accomplishment, and tides well for the man who will set out to accomplish his goals.
Immediately what comes to mind (I think it has something to do with me going to his amusement park three times this summer) is Walt Disney, overcoming obstacles, making great plans, and setting the stage for success, even in the light of struggle and bitter defeat.
But reversed, this card tells a story that plays another large role in our lives, whether we like it or not, that being defeat and resistance. What we have is the poor planning and procrastination of the number three, unruliness and insubordination of risk. This card when drawn in reverse warns of risk of failure in difficult endeavors, such as long-distance dating, business enterprises, and long-term goals.
Before anyone gets to succeed at anything, they must first learn how to do so. A new artist looking for a job might be overwhelmed with bills and lack of available income. A writer might envision a grand book, but not get to break away from a journalist gig to work on it. Walt Disney might set out to go and develop a story line for Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, and find he has a shortage of funds. We all run into challenges that we might have not envisioned, or risks we have not been able to foresee. It is commonplace in life if you find yourself in the midst of a challenge or issue that is growing worse by the minute. Just remember that nothing is beyond your ability to accomplish, and use that optimism to seek out a solution to your problem.
Three is still a brilliant number, full of exuberance and genius. There is nothing that can escape its strength of conviction, and that strength is inside all of us. You just have to look for it.
It is some handy advice, though, to undertake some risk management and brainstorming to overcome any issues before they come. This card is associated heavily with travel, indicated by the forward motion of the man in the picture to another place across the sea. Travelling is one phenomenon in human culture that should require the most planning and prevention before any problems arise. Such as if a car is involved, do a functions check on everything--see if the headlights work, the breaks, the horn, that all liquids are filled and all things are operational. If flying by plane, be prepared for setbacks and delays in flight time, and also plan to stay at the airport if a flight needs to be rescheduled. Pack snacks and drinks and always have a chap stick handy. And all this planning doesn't only pertain to travel, but can be applied to everything. Going to class, going to work, going to the library, executing a move, writing a book, painting a portrait, shooting a film. Everything requires planning and forethought, we only need to do what a three would do, and be smart about what we want from our decisions.
And don't be afraid. Never be afraid. Nothing in this world is able to tear you down, as long as you still have that optimism and inner strength to keep you in the fight. You can accomplish anything you want and let dreams take shape and form in the physical world--all you have to do is be determined enough to try.