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Welcome to lesson 6

Lesson goal:

  • Review of all the swords cards

This lesson focuses on the suit of Swords. As they represent the intellect, they often indicate stress and anxiety, and you will need to develop a sensitive and tactful way of communicating the meanings of these cards.


Lesson 6 – The Suit of Swords

The third suit of the Minor Arcana is the Swords.

Swords
A.K.A.: Blades, Athame’s
Symbolism: Thought, Challenge, Observation
Colors: Indigo
Seasons: Winter
Zodiac: Gemini, Libra, Aquarius
Elements: Tarot swords associate with air element
Air
Realm: Mind
Playing Card: Tarot swords associate with the playing card suit of spades
Spades
Gender: Male
Directions: North

This suit is associated with the element Air, representing light, intellect, and clear, rational thought. Therefore, their symbolism deals with matters of thought and mind.

  • Positive attitudes associated with this suit are justice, truth, ethical principles and decisiveness.
  • Negative attitudes associated with Swords are disharmony, conflict, animosity, unhappiness and sometimes illness.

As with all power, there are two sides to it – just as there are two blades to the sword. On the one hand we have the capacity for conceiving beautiful ideas, and solving intricate problems with our mind. On the other side, the mind can easily develop an appetite for destruction. (1)

Therein lies the common representation of challenges or obstacles when discussing Tarot sword symbolism. The mind, although a perfectly wondrous tool if used rightly, also holds the potential for sinister mutilation to self and others.

Some deeper symbolic meanings of the Tarot swords include:

  • Control
  • Clarity
  • Decisive
  • Analytical
  • Forthright
  • Intelligence
  • Assurance
  • Confidence
  • Uncertainty

 


Exercises

Take out from your deck the Sword Card and keep the remaining cards wrapped in your cloth.

Exercise 1

  • Like you did in previous lessons, focus on the first card, the Ace of Swords, and try to memorize some of the key words associated with the card.
  • Make notes of any words or symbols you get from the card before moving onto the next one.
  • Do this until you have done all sword cards

Exercise 2

Spend some time with these cards and think about how you would convey negative messages to someone without knocking their confidence.

How can you be truthful yet always convey hope and encouragement?

Exercise 3

  • Extract the Major Arcana from your deck and then add the Wands, Cups and Swords.
  • Shuffle well and pick 3 cards
  • Practice the reading with these extra cards, and again write your reading in your notebook.

The Sword Cards

The Minor Arcana represents your choices and actions throughout the realization of your destiny.

The Swords usually indicate a struggle or conflict, or a possible decision that you’ll make about separating from your past attachments. There is a desire to find the truth that will shed light on your situation, so you’ll act on it and find closure.

  
      
      
      

Ace of Swords

– Air
– positive: victory, mental clarity, necessary change

– negative: injustice, misuse of power, destruction

A hand issues from a cloud, grasping as word, the point of which is encircled by a crown.

Divinatory Meanings: Triumph, the excessive degree in everything, conquest, triumph of force. It is a card of great force, in love as well as in hatred. The crown may carry a much higher significance than comes usually within the sphere of fortune-telling.

Reversed: The same, but the results are disastrous; another account says–conception, childbirth, augmentation, multiplicity.

 

2 of Swords

– Peace restored

A hoodwinked female figure balances two swords upon her shoulders.

Divinatory Meanings: Conformity and the equipoise which it suggests, courage, friendship, concord in a state of arms; another reading gives tenderness, affection, intimacy. The suggestion of harmony and other favorable readings must be considered in a qualified manner, as Swords generally are not symbolical of beneficent forces in human affairs.

Reversed: Imposture, falsehood, duplicity, disloyalty.

Consider:

“Faced with two possible choices, you don’t know which to choose. Both seem as good as, or as bad as, the other. You find yourself feeling stuck, trapped, and in a place of inertia.”

Ask yourself, “What new information is available to me to make this decision?”

You may be surprised that by looking outside of the immediate situation that you already have your answer. Unblock your thoughts and let go of any resistance so that you can move forward.

 

3 of Swords

Three swords piercing a heart; cloud and rain behind. Divinatory Meanings: Removal, absence, delay, division, rupture, dispersion, and all that the design signifies naturally, being too simple and obvious to call for specific enumeration. Reversed: Mental alienation, error, loss, distraction, disorder, confusion.

– Sorrow
– positive: new beginnings
– negative: heartache, discord, acrimony

 

4 of SwordsThe Four of Swords

The effigy of a knight in the attitude of prayer, at full length upon his tomb.

Divinatory Meanings: Vigilance, retreat, solitude, hermit’s repose, exile, tomb and coffin. It is these last that have suggested the design.

Reversed: Wise administration, circumspection, economy, avarice, precaution, testament.

– Rest from Strife
– positive: healing peace, withdrawal
– negative: exile, isolation, depression

Read more….

 

5 of Swords

A disdainful man looks after two retreating and dejected figures. Their swords lie upon the ground. He carries two others on his left shoulder, and a third sword is in his right hand, point to earth. He is the master in possession of the field. Divinatory Meanings: Degradation, destruction, revocation, infamy, dishonour, loss, with the variants and analogues of these. Reversed: The same; burial and obsequies.

– Defeat
– positive: acceptance
– negative: treachery, spite, deceit

6 of Swords

A ferryman carrying passengers in his punt to the further shore. The course is smooth, and seeing that the freight is light, it may be noted that the work is not beyond his strength. Divinatory Meanings: journey by water, route, way, envoy, commissionary, expedient. Reversed: Declaration, confession, publicity; one account says that it is a proposal of love.

– Earned Success
– positive: brighter future, respite, a journey
– negative: procrastination, failure to face up to problems

7 of Swords

A man in the act of carrying away five swords rapidly; the two others of the card remain stuck in the ground. A camp is close at hand. Divinatory Meanings: Design, attempt, wish, hope, confidence; also quarrelling, a plan that may fail, annoyance. The design is uncertain in its import, because the significations are widely at variance with each other. Reversed: Good advice, counsel, instruction, slander, babbling.

– Unstable effort
– positive: diligence
– negative: lack of nerve, indecision, confusion

8 of Swords

A woman, bound and hoodwinked, with the swords of the card about her. Yet it is rather a card of temporary durance than of irretrievable bondage. Divinatory Meanings: Bad news, violent chagrin, crisis, censure, power in trammels, conflict, calumny; also sickness. Reversed: Disquiet, difficulty, opposition, accident, treachery; what is unforeseen; fatality.

– Shortened Force
– positive: patience
– negative: depression, hard work with little reward, restriction

9 of Swords

One seated on her couch in lamentation, with the swords over her. She is as one who knows no sorrow which is like unto hers. It is a card of utter desolation. Divinatory Meanings: Death, failure, miscarriage, delay, deception, disappointment, despair. Reversed: Imprisonment, suspicion, doubt, reasonable fear, shame.

– Despair & anxiety
– positive: none
– negative: deception, disappointment, misery, isolation

10 of Swords

“A prostrate figure, pierced by all the swords belonging to the card. Divinatory Meanings: Whatsoever is intimated by the design; also pain, affliction, tears, sadness, desolation. It is not especially a card of violent death. Reversed: Advantage, profit, success, favour, but none of these are permanent; also power and authority.”

– Ruin
– positive: none
– negative: desolation, ruin, continued suffering


The Sword Court Cards

The Court Cards represent significant people who will enter your life. The Court Card personalities are more complex because they’re two-sided (positive or negative).

The Minor Arcana represents your choices and actions throughout the realization of your destiny.

The Swords represent your personal outlook and your tendency to think with your head rather than with your heart.

 

Page of Swords

A lithe, active figure holds a sword upright in both hands, while in the act of swift walking. He is passing over rugged land, and about his way the clouds are collocated wildly. He is alert and lithe, looking this way and that, as if an expected enemy might appear at any moment.

Divinatory Meanings: Authority, overseeing, secret service, vigilance, spying, examination, and the qualities thereto belonging.

Reversed: More evil side of these qualities; what is unforeseen, unprepared state; sickness is also intimated.

Messages of a fact-finding nature. Young, intelligent individual. A flair for secrets and spying. Individual with an impressive network that can relay information.

– Astrological signs associated with this card are Gemini, Libra and Aquarius

– this card can represent a child – male or female
– appearance – fair hair, blue eyes
– positive characteristics – intelligent, loyal, truthful
– negative characteristics – devious, sarcastic, critical

possible event – changes and important decisions will be made by you or others, possible legal disputes, someone may have it in for you and you may be the victim of slander and malice

 

Knight of Swords

Message from the Knight of Swords: Knight of swords

“I crave continual motion, variety, new ideas, and can roll with the punches. I am lighthearted and carefree until I become focused on obtaining something I really want. In my quest to obtain what I desire, I have no regard for the needs and feelings of anyone else. I will not be tied down and I can sometimes be irresponsible.”

The swift coming and going of any matter. Fearless defender of justice.

– Astrological signs associated with this card are Gemini, Libra and Aquarius

– this card can represent a young man less than 35 years of age – appearance – dark hair, dark eyes
– positive characteristics – courageous, intelligent, witty
– negative characteristics – reckless, impetuous, headstrong

possible event – conflicts, whirlwind events that leave you confused and feeling everything and everyone seems to be unpredictable

This Knight could be a person with a magnetic personality who enters the seeker’s life or the seeker could have sudden, inspirational ideas that he or she may feel a need to immediately set in motion. The Knight of Swords is trustworthy and usually has good intentions.

To understand this archetypes intentions, the seeker needs to pull a clarifying card and cross the Knight of Swords to see if the energies are positive or negative. See note below.

Note: Crossing cards indicate energies that need resolution. (We will work more on advanced analysis in coming lessons).

  • Swords = conflicts and challenges,
  • Pentacles = growth and development,
  • Wands = taking action with what you desire to achieve,
  • Cups = love, feelings and emotions.

 

Queen of Swords

Her right hand raises the weapon vertically and the hilt rests on an arm of her royal chair the left hand is extended, the arm raised her countenance is severe but chastened; it suggests familiarity with sorrow. It does not represent mercy, and, her sword notwithstanding, she is scarcely a symbol of power.

Divinatory Meanings: Widowhood, female sadness and embarrassment, absence, sterility, mourning, privation, separation.

Reversed: Malice, bigotry, artifice, prudery, bale, deceit.

Loyal, decisive, business-minded woman. No funny business. Logical. Smart and intense. Sometimes lives alone, but not always. Aggressive, occasionally emotionally detached; sees through plots, cons, and other nefarious dealings. An excellent friend and unbeatable foe.

– Astrological signs associated with this card are Gemini, Libra and Aquarius

– this card can represent a woman of any age
– appearance – fair/brown hair, grey/green eyes
– positive characteristics – intelligent, independent, perceptive – negative characteristics – critical, devious, insincere

possible event – you will need to concentrate very hard on focusing on yor goals and objectives to overcome obstacles, if negative you’ll try and resort to manipulation which will back fire on you

 

King of Swords

“He sits in judgment, holding the unsheathed sign of his suit. He recalls, of course, the conventional Symbol of justice in the Trumps Major, and he may represent this virtue, but he is rather the power of life and death, in virtue of his office.

Divinatory Meanings: Whatsoever arises out of the idea of judgment and all its connexions-power, command, authority, militant intelligence, law, offices of the crown, and so forth.

Reversed: Cruelty, perversity, barbarity, perfidy, evil intention.”

Strong, powerful authority figure. Loyal, intelligent, often involved with law, the courts, the military service, or dangerous occupations such as police officer or EMT personnel. Good doctors and surgeons. An excellent friend and unbeatable foe.

– Astrological signs associated with this card are Gemini, Libra and Aquarius

– this card can represent a man aged 35 or over
– appearance – black/dark hair, dark eyes
– positive characteristics – rational, authoritative, wise
– negative characteristics – bullying, calculating, impersonal

possible event – you will find the ability to take charge of your life, if negative you will feel controlled by others

 

 

 

Sources:

  1. http://www.tarotteachings.com
  2. http://www.sacred-texts.com/tarot/pkt/pktwa03.htm
  3. Lotus tarot – http://www.free-tarot-reading.net/ap/8086

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