Some people don't realize a good thing until it's gone.
ACE OF SWORDS
The Ace of Swords is a symbol of possibility in the area of intelligence, reason, justice, truth, clarity and fortitude. In readings, it shows that a seed of clear understanding has been planted in your life although you may not yet recognize it. When the seed sprouts, it could take almost any form. It might be a compelling idea, desire for the truth, call to justice, or a need to be honest. On the outside, it could be an offer, gift, opportunity, encounter or synchronistic event. Sometimes this Ace stands for a challenge that will test you in some way. Life never goes smoothly for long. Sooner or later a hurdle shows up, and the Ace of Swords can tell you when one is coming. This card is also a reminder to you to face your challenge, whatever it is, with courage, honesty and a firm resolve. In every challenge, there is opportunity. When you see the Ace of Swords, examine your life to see how its clean, sharp energy could work for you. Think about your problem objectively. Look for situations that are unjust or confusing and resolve to set them right. Above all else, commit to being honest and ethical. This card tells you that you do have the inner resources to overcome all obstacles and find the truth of your situation. That is the promise of the Ace of Swords.
TWO OF SWORDS
On the Two of Swords, we see a young woman who has put a barrier of swords across her heart. Her rigid posture tells us of her struggle to keep her feelings under control. She is fending off any approach from the outside. "Nothing comes in, and nothing goes out," she seems to say. The Two of Swords is about the barriers we put up between ourselves and others and those we create within ourselves. Internally, we block off emotions and refuse to feel them. We avoid looking at the truth and pretend that everything's OK. We think one way, but feel another. In countless ways, we divide off parts of ourselves and try to maintain them even when we know they need to be reconciled. In readings, the Two of Swords often appears when you are not willing to accept some truth about yourself or the situation. What are you really feeling? Are you resisting tender feelings because you might be hurt? Are you furious even though you're smiling? What are you refusing to look at? Notice the blindfold on this woman. She can't look at the truth or even acknowledge that there is trouble. The most common barrier is a closed heart. When we cut ourselves off emotionally, we sever the connection that allows our love to flow outward. Sometimes this action is necessary, but it always comes at a great price. Every time we close off our heart, we find it more difficult to open again. Another barrier between people is a deadlocked situation. When two parties are set in their positions - cut off from each other - there is a stalemate. To break it, the "opponents" must come out from behind their swords and listen to each other. The lesson of the Two of Swords is that barriers are not the answer. We must stay open if we are to find peace and wholeness.
THREE OF SWORDS
You open the door to find your partner in the arms of someone else. You overhear your best friend laughing at you behind your back. You find out your business partner has been cheating you for years. All of a sudden your world is turned upside-down. You're stunned, disbelieving and finally heartbroken. The image on the 3 of Swords clearly describes this sudden pain. You literally feel as if someone has taken a sharp object and jabbed it through your heart. Even something as minor as a snippy remark can feel this way. Notice how this contains just a heart and three swords. When your heart is breaking, you feel as if that is all you are - an open wound. In readings, the Three of Swords often represents the nasty little curve balls that life can throw sometimes. Betrayal, abandonment, rejection, separation, a reversal of fortune. These hurts are painful because they hit you when you least expect them. If you have drawn this card, you may know what it refers to, but if not, the Three of Swords is a valuable warning. It is likely there is something amiss in your life that you are unaware of or unwilling to acknowledge. Curve balls hit us when we're looking the other way. Examine your situation carefully. Talk to the people in your life. Don't take anything for granted. Listen to your inner voice; it will help you locate the problem. It is also possible that you are contemplating hurting someone else. With this card I think it is important to remember that each of us is capable of cruelty. We're all human, and we all make mistakes, sometimes serious ones. In the end, all we can do is trust in the goodness of life and try to live up to that ideal. When you slip, forgive yourself, and try to forgive others in turn, but, even better, head off trouble before it arrives.
FOUR OF SWORDS
The Swords cards all stand for trials of some kind, but the Four suggests feelings of peace and stillness. Why is this card different? Because it represents the challenge to be quiet! Sometimes resting and doing nothing is the ultimate challenge. Activity can be a habit that is very difficult to break. There is always so much to do, and modern society beguiles us with its attractions and distractions. The result is we forget to stop and be still. The Four of Swords also represents taking the time to think things over without hurry. It is important to step back and gain perspective. This is especially true when you are facing an ordeal or big event. You need quiet preparation time to gather your strength and center your energy.
In readings, the Four of Swords is often a sign that you need to slow down and get some rest. If you are recovering from an illness, allow yourself quiet time to heal. Even if you feel completely healthy, you are risking getting sick if you don't take a break. Sometimes the Four of Swords implies that you are or could be shifting focus from the external to the internal. When we are silent, we can more easily go within. The knight in the picture appears to be praying or meditating deeply. Actually, he appears to be dead! For those who are addicted to activity, rest and quiet can seem like death, but that is certainly not the case. Stillness holds its own rewards, but they must be recognized and sought.
FIVE OF SWORDS
The Five of Swords is about self-interest. Society tells us to think of others, yet we resist. How we can ignore our own concerns and still survive? This dilemma comes from our definition of self. If we view our self as our personality/body, our interests become those that relate to that self. We may expand our concern to those we love, but, then, how can we stop there? We are connected to everyone in the long run. In truth, our self is the world. What we do to that world, we do to ourselves. This understanding is so basic, but so infuriatingly easy to forget day-to-day.
In readings, the Five of Swords can mean that you or someone else is forgetting this larger view of self. You are defining your interests too narrowly. If you try to get ahead in isolation, your actions will come back to haunt you later, one way or the other. Sometimes this card implies a need to put your own interests first. If you are being abused or taken advantage of, you must get free. If you are worn out by demands, take care of yourself. If it is your turn, step forward and claim your due. Just be aware that if you hurt others in the process, your victory will not feel complete. The Five of Swords also represents hostility - from a cross word to warfare. When the cords that bind us are broken, we experience dis-cord. This card can signify dishonors that are fairly open. Cheats, lies, tricks, deceits, even crimes. You may be on the receiving end, or be the perpetrator. Either way, hold to a larger view of who you are. Find the solution that is best for everyone...including yourself.
SIX OF SWORDS
This card represents a dull, listless state. Nothing is seriously wrong, but nothing is really right either. You're getting by, but not thriving. In the picture the figures in the boat seem sad and disengaged. Life is indeed uninteresting when we feel the blues. In a more positive vein, the Six of Swords can indicate recovery. This is especially true when you have just experienced a tough time or psychological blow. During the crisis, you felt numb and disconnected; nothing mattered at all. Now you are beginning to heal and pick up the pieces of your life. The travelers in our boat are at least moving forward. They are headed toward a new place, even if they are not yet ready to eagerly embrace those shores. In fact, the Six of Swords can indicate travel and moves of all kinds. This could mean an actual change of scene, relocation or trip, but not necessarily. A journey can also take place on the inner planes as we move from one frame of mind to another. Although the Six of Swords does not promise great joy, it also avoids the depths of despair. A slough is not a bottomless pit, but simply a hollow or depression. When you see this card, know that even though the situation is not ideal, you are moving toward a more positive place. Change is in the air, and new, more hopeful conditions lie ahead.
SEVEN OF SWORDS
THE LONE WOLF
The Seven of Swords is tied to the Five of Swords because both cards involve separation from others. On the Seven we see a man tiptoeing away from society (the colorful pavilions). He's taken some swords and seems rather pleased with his successful heist. He gives the impression of having secret, solitary plans. This card sometimes represents the "lone-wolf" style - the desire to run lone and free. In films, the lone-wolf hero always acts totally on his own. He discovers, investigates and solves every problem using only his own wits and resources. He believes he's successful because he ignores the fumbling efforts of ordinary people. In readings, the Seven of Swords can be a sign that you or someone else wants to be a lone wolf. You feel that you will be more effective and comfortable on your own. This approach is useful when you need to bypass an ineffectual group or assert your independence, but it can also be troubling. We cannot be happy and productive for long without some commitment to others. If you feel inclined to act alone, be sure this isolation is really working for you. The Seven of Swords means that you are running from something - commitment, responsibility, hard work, love. You may be procrastinating, letting problems slip because you don't want to deal with them. Sometimes we just have to face what has to be faced. The Seven of Swords lets you know when you might be making things worse for yourself and others by running away. The Seven of Swords can also indicate a hidden dishonor - a choice you or another has made that does not do justice to the highest. We all make wrong choices that we want to hide. Some of these are minor, some serious. Your inner voice will tell you when this is happening. When you see the Seven of Swords, take a good look at what you're doing because hidden dishonors will eat away at your happiness and self-respect.
EIGHT OF SWORDS
The woman on the Eight of Swords is lost and alone. She can't see because she is blindfolded. She can't reach out because she is bound. She can't move freely because she is caught in a prison of swords. It seems she has wandered far from home - her place of security far away on the hill. How can she get back? She doesn't even know which way to go. The Eight of Swords stands for those times when we feel lost, confused and powerless. Help and relief seems very far away. Sometimes we feel restricted by circumstances. We wake up one day in an impossible situation. A dead end job. A troubled relationship. Mountains of debt. How did this happen? We have no idea. Even little problems can make us feel trapped. There just doesn't seem to be a way out. Sometimes life seems fine - on the surface. "I have everything I want. I should be happy, so what's the problem?" We just don't know. We're confused and unsure. In readings, the Eight of Swords is often a sign that you are heading toward (or already in) a situation in which you will feel a lack of freedom and choice. Such situations are tricky because the more you get into them, the more restricted you feel. At each step, your options seem to narrow until you feel completely stuck. When you see this card, remember that you do have choices, and you do have power. No matter how trapped you feel, you can find a way out if you believe it is possible. The young girl in the picture could free herself. She could wriggle free, tear off the blindfold, and kick down those swords. Solutions are not always easy, but they exist. Find your clarity of thought and purpose (the Swords ideal) and use them to take that first step toward home.
NINE OF SWORDS
It makes sense that the figure on the Nine of Swords is in bed because it is during the night that our griefs and regrets come to mind most intensely. The quiet darkness strips away the distractions of the day, leaving us alone with our thoughts. Who has not lain awake at 4 A.M. filled with worries that refuse to go away? The Nine of Swords represents this unhappiness which can strike us at any time. Unlike the pain of the Three of Swords which seems to come from without, the Nine of Swords represents the pain that we generate from within. What tortures we put ourselves through when our fears and doubts overwhelm us. Worry is probably the most common. Have I done enough? Will everything work out OK? What am I going to do? The thoughts go round and round - impossible to turn off.
Guilt is another source of pain. When we have done something that we feel is wrong or hurtful - or failed to do something we think we should have - the distress can be very real. It is worse when nothing we do relieves the bad feelings or makes them go away. Finally, there is just pure anguish. Sometimes the pain of life is so total that all we feel like doing is crying into our hands. Needless to say, the Nine of Swords is not the most pleasant of cards, but it doesn't always indicate major distress. Often it is just a sign of some element of unhappiness or trouble - a vulnerable spot in your life. This card is often a warning from your Inner Guide that the path you are going down may be a difficult one. If you approach the Nine of Swords in this spirit - as a caution sign - you will be able to use it constructively. Examine your situation carefully to be sure you are making the best choices. Even a small change can make all the difference.
TEN OF SWORDS
HITTING ROCK BOTTOM
FEELING LIKE A VICTIM
The Ten of Swords appears to be a card of terrible misfortune, but surprisingly, it often represents troubles that are more melodramatic than real. The man on this card has quite a few swords in his back. Wouldn't one be enough? Isn't ten a little excessive? Perhaps this gentleman's suffering - though sincere - is exaggerated as well. One meaning of the Ten of Swords is hitting rock bottom. When one disaster follows another, we feel devastated at first, but eventually we throw up our hands and laugh. It's so bad, it's funny! In films, the hero says, "What else could possibly go wrong?" and we know that's a signal for the bucket of water to fall on his head. When you see the Ten of Swords, know that the last bucket has fallen, and you can expect a turn for the better. This card can also show when you're in victim mentality. You're certain that the whole world is picking on you just to make your life difficult. I picture the man lifting his head and saying, Being a martyr is also a favorite Ten of Swords activity. In this case, the man would say with a weak wave of his hand, "No...you go on. Have fun. Don't think about me. I'll just stay here with these swords in my back...but I want you to enjoy yourself." Being a martyr in this sense is not the same as making a sacrifice for another with no strings attached. With the Ten of Swords, either is possible, but doing a good turn for someone else is more satisfying without the strings. Most of the time the Ten of Swords has a lighter side. It is as if your Inner Guide is gently kidding you about how you are handling your own personal tale of woe. When you see the Ten of Swords, check your attitude and know you've reached the point where things will definitely begin to look up.
PAGE OF SWORDS
USE YOUR MIND
The Page of Swords is a messenger bringing you challenges. He suggests that an opportunity for growth may come your way in the guise of a problem or dilemma. These challenges may not be your favorites. In fact, you probably will want to say "Thanks...but no thanks." The Page of Swords asks you to embrace these difficult situations. Think of them as trials designed to test your mettle. If you accept and prevail, you will become stronger and more resilient. In meeting these challenges, you are encouraged to use the tools of the Swords suit - honest, reason, integrity and fortitude.
The Page of Swords can also stand for a child or young-at-heart adult whose interactions with you involve truthfulness, ethical behavior, discouragement or matters of the mind. This relationship is likely to be troubled or difficult in keeping with the challenges of the Swords suit. Sometimes the Page of Swords implies that your entire situation is one suffused with the spirit of learning, discovery, and mental activities of all kinds. At such times, use your mind and enjoy the delights of the intellect.
KNIGHT OF SWORDS
On the positive side, the Knight of Swords is a master of logic and reason. He has a keen intellect that grasps the fine points of any subject. He speaks clearly, directly and always with authority. His judgments are sure and free of emotion. Others rely on his lucid analyses of problems and solutions. On the negative side, this Knight is not a master of diplomacy. He can be downright tactless and rude. When he thinks you are wrong, you'll know it. He's convinced of his own superiority and has little tolerance for stupidity. He expects others to comply with his views. To him, feelings are irrelevant and illogical.
In readings, a Knight of Swords shows that his penetrating style is involved in the situation as an aspect of you, someone else or the atmosphere in general. you need to ask yourself, "Is this Knight's energy helping or hurting?" If his style is evident, then balance is needed. Are you always forcing your position on others? Do you get in trouble for saying what you think? Is your partner too cold and aloof? Do your colleagues tend to be critical rather than supportive? It may be time for a change. Trust your own authority. Are you afraid to offend? Speak your mind. Let the Knight of Swords introduce you to his world of reason and self-assurance.
QUEEN OF SWORDS
The personality of the Queen of Swords combines the positive air energy of the Swords suit with the inward focus of a Queen. You can always count on her to tell you exactly how it is. Above all else she admires honesty, and she lives by her commitment to being truthful. Lies, tricks and games are of no interest to her, but she's not easy to fool. She is experienced in the ways of the world, good and bad. The Queen of Swords can size up a situation quickly. She understands human folly, but doesn't condemn it. She knows when cow manure is being thrown around and simply finds clever ways around it. She prefers being straightforward and direct. Her observations are candid, but never hurtful. In fact, this Queen has a delightful sense of humor. She likes a good laugh and always has a witty comeback ready-to-hand. She knows that life isn't meant to be taken too seriously. The Queen of Swords is refreshing in her candor and lack of pretense. In readings, the Queen of Swords asks you to think and feel as she does. For example: Are you being completely honest? Do you see the humor in the situation? Are you getting right to the point? Have you figured out what's really going on? Are you letting yourself be fooled? This Queen can also represent a man or woman who is like her, or an atmosphere of honest, direct communication. In a reading, she tells you that her special energy has meaning for you at this time. Let yourself be inspired by this Queen in whatever form she appears in your life.
KING OF SWORDS
The personality of the King of Swords is a combination of the positive air energy of the Swords suit and the active, outward focus of a King. He is a man of intellect who can absorb and work with information of all kinds. As a master of reason and logic, he analyzes any problem with ease. He can work out solutions quickly and explain them lucidly to others. In a chaotic situation, he cuts through the confusion and provides the clarity needed to move forward. Others seek him out to present their case as he speaks with eloquence and insight. He is always truthful and can be relied on to handle any situation fairly and honorably. When a judgment is called for, he can render an impartial but just decision. He is incorruptible and lives by the highest ethical standards. He encourages those around him to do the same, and they often live up to his expectations.
In readings, the King of Swords asks you to take the kinds of actions he might take. For example: telling the truth, thinking up a solution, communicating well, or judging fairly. This King can also represent a man or woman who is acting as he does, or an atmosphere of reason, honesty and high standards. In a reading, he tells you that his special energy has meaning for you at this time. Let yourself be inspired by this King in whatever form he appears in your life.