Last weekend I was in New York City giving readings at a two-day private party.  I gave readings from 11 am to 6 pm. Then, at 7, I was scheduled to lead a ritual of gratitude, manifestation and release for a group of twenty women, many of whom had sat with me for a reading during the day.

No matter how much planning I put into ritual, I find that the people and the spirit present at the moment will always co-create the ceremony. Never had this been more true than on Saturday evening.

My hostess and I had set the theme of gratitude, manifestation and release, months prior to the event.

During the many readings I conducted that day, almost every person received the same card, and often, in the same position.

These people were not co-workers, each dealing with the same stressful situation. Nor were they family members facing a particular crisis.

The readings I did that day, and the people for whom I read, had virtually nothing in common other than their gender, their city, and the Three of Swords they received.

For many of these clients, the Three of Swords presented as the crossing card – that is, the card representing the biggest problem or challenge.

When planning the ritual, I had included some magick to release that which no longer serves, but I had not anticipated how dire the need for that release would be, nor had I anticipated that the Universe would hand me the tool for creating such release.

As I changed out of my reading clothes and in to my priestess garb, I grabbed my deck and took out the Three of Swords, placing it with the rest of my tools and notes.

When it came time in the ritual to do the work of release, I explained to the group the nature of the Three of Swords, and the fact that it had made such a strong presence during the course of readings that day.

I was using the Waite-Smith image, so the picture of the heart pierced by three swords really spoke volumes to those who had seen it earlier in the day, and to those who had not.

To begin our release, I held the Three of Swords over my head and declared, “I release fear!”.

“So mote it be!” The group responded.

I passed the card to the woman on my left, who held the card high and released what no longer served her.

Each statement of release was supported by the group. The energy of healing and support was palpable.

“I release my mother!”

“I release not having my own back!”

“I release responsibility!”

“I release the belief that I am not good enough!”

I’ll remember this ceremony for many things. I’ll remember the women’s willingness to join me in dance and song. I’ll remember the power of the chakra-clearing meditation.

Mostly poignantly, though, I will remember the way the Three of Swords became our tool for healing and release.