Minor Cards: Swords

SWORDS

However regrettable, the sword is the epitome of an every person’s tool.  Human life is not all that distinguished from a competitive wildlife, without its extra blood and its tools, ideas and developments that seem to clothe and armor the sword.  In Classical times the wind was an invisible force that brushed along you, breathed hot and cold.  The air was, correctly guessed, full of material currents.  As an element, the Sword is associated with the human sphere of thought.  Each card is a meditation on the benefits and perils of human intellectual influence on the state of our cultures and environment.  The Tarot is a blend of flash cards for nobility, and for the Minors, a soldier’s game.  Before the royals, the court cards were generals, lieutenants and aides.  The swords suit reflects a military origin and colors the mental sphere with a usefully combative, tempestuous shade.

d06284d02sKKing of Swords

This king is driven by the need to control, of forces human and natural, of ideas, science, law, and conflict.  Some are drawn towards justice, the code and the staying of the sword, while most that make the sword their emblem, for these only speed and strength are valued.

In 18th Century France this card was called David, the wise King.

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Queen of Swords

This queen is master of the intellect.  Her perceptions are honed, her language is spare and precise, her emotions take a back seat to matters of deliberation.  The results of her efforts result in a penetrating wisdom, the ability to predict outcomes and read their significance.

In folklore, she was called Pallas (Athena), or Black Maria, both wise mothers of thrones.  In our deck, she is the Queen of Spades, holding a lily or lotus in her hand.

 

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Horseman of Swords

This noble is on a quest to conquer.  Whether it’s land, or sea, or hearts or minds, the objective is to seize by sheer force of will something that will gratify the sword’s thirst.  In his eyes, glory, fame and recognition are the minimum before one can return home and carry out a normal life.

In folklore this cards was named after Ogier the Dane, a legendary giant that was supposed to be one of Charlemagne’s knights.

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Page of Swords

This valet is the right hand of their master, truly a sword in service, and therefore more likely to do the dirty business of others.  Executing orders, and opposition, enforcing the will of others, and serving as a symbol of greater of authority are all traits of this familiar character.

 

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Ace of Swords

This glorious card is a contemplation on the element of Air, it represents the pinnacle of most human measures about what is important in life.  To the mind and its machinations go much of our awareness.  The hand grasping the tool, the tool is deadly, and by it the crown rules.  Whatever is crowned is ruled by the sword.

 

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Two of Swords
Peace

Two taught bows are drawn, level with the ground, waiting to be released and strike.  No arrows have flown, this is the moment of aim, a friendly competition, the eye and the breath rule here, the arrowhead has yet to strike.  Swords crossed, the gesture of civility before the contest.  This, the moment before action, the shadow of war, is the unfortunate hieroglyph of peace.

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Three of Swords
Sorrow

If opponents were parents, the three, denoting an offspring, will certainly give birth to sorrow.  Standing side by side with weapons at rest it is the hungering thought that boils their blood, fills their minds and threatens to part them, and this is what they produce together.

 

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Four of Swords
Alliance

The bonds that come from mutual interest and contractual obligation have a way of producing predictable results.  Alliances are not only necessary to navigate life, they are the most peaceful weapon humans have.  But they are sharp edged – what brings strength can include supporting things you don’t believe in.

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Five of Swords
Defeat

In the intellectual realm, probably the most important realm to most humans, conflict and competition expose us to considerable attack, where we risk injury or even defeat.  Just remember that we can only experience defeat when we are taking up arms for a concern that we intend to see win.

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Six of Swords
Science

Once we realize that it isn’t enough just to follow along with what’s around us, often the result of defeat and resulting incomprehension, we order our thoughts around making better judgements.  We evaluate the evidence, work together for truth rather than connection.

 

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Seven of Swords
Ignorance

No matter how organized one tries to be, something odd can just be thrust into the mix.  Especially when our language, as communication, is so inefficient at sharing ideas.  Even when sound methods are present, what we don’t know, and how we answer to what we don’t know, has led to all the greatest conflicts.

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Eight of Swords
Chaos

In a card that suggest humor, the highest stable numbered card (after the four and six, the other two tidy shapes) for the realm of thought is chaos.  In a complete gaze on the mind, one admits that alongside the plans and choices is a considerable amount of static, chaos is a factor of the human mind.

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Nine of Swords
Cruelty

With knowledge comes responsibility.  With a solid grasp on the workings of the mind, choices that can heal or manipulate come to the fore.  Human capacity for cruelty is terrible in the hands of a skilled mind, knowledge does not insure understanding.  For this, intellect alone is revealed as insufficient for a reasonable human.

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Ten of Swords
Ruin

Swords have a reputation, as weapons, and as the Tarot suit with the most dire cards.  As each element comes to completion in the ten, Swords climaxes in ruin.  The lesson is simple enough, it’s the inscription of Ozymandias.  All the civilizations of the Classic world had gone to ruin, their achievements known as remains.  It is also the fate of our thoughts.