The time for war is over. In case you didn’t get it before it’s pretty clear now that no one truly wins in a battle. There are always consequences for both sides–the victor and the defeated. The defeated have lain down their swords and turn away. The victor looks over to them, holding two swords upright in one hand and one sword for support as a kind of staff in the other. The sky is dark and foreboding with sharp clouds zig-zagging in an uneasy motion. In its upright position this card points to the hollow nature of victories when won by the harsh violence of actual swords or words (swords being the suit of thoughts and communication). We feel that the reversal here enhances the message, as in a strong directive to turn away from battles and come around towards forgiveness and peaceful conflict resolution.
To me this is the card of hollow victories. The fellow holds three swords and the other two turn their backs in defeat having laid down their swords. Ok. But the storm clouds still fly in the sky and there is a feeling of ambivalence. Swords in tarot are double-edged–their power can be used constructively or destructively. That’s where choice comes into play. And swords referring to the element of air in tarot we know we are not only speaking literally here; we are dealing with the instruments of communication. Words can pierce or they can soothe. We can fight our battles and win our skirmishes but at what cost? What comes after the battle? Will there be reparations, a pardon, some reconciliation? How will you handle your power once you have won? These are important questions and the answers will establish your moral code of responsibility.
This week the tarot instructs us to be mindful of our negative thoughts that keep us trapped in a web of negativity. This beautiful woman in her gorgeous red dress is blindfolded and bound within a cage of eight swords. She stands suspended above a landscape of water and earth. She is neither grounded or connected inwards to her intuition. She is stuck, trapped, perhaps of her own making. Have you ever been told, “You’re overthinking things…” When the thoughts are negative they feed a victim mindset and one can feel helpless and hopeless. But look closely at this picture and observe more closely. What if the woman loosened the binding (it doesn’t seem too tight around her body) and then took off the blindfold. She would see the path of water in front of her and quite possibly the castle on the hill behind her and quite possibly the connection between the two. Looking for solutions rather than dwelling on the problems you will naturally be drawn to the light and all will be revealed.
The Queen of Swords sits on her throne gazing into the future. A beam of light hits the hilt of the sword that she holds in her right hand. Another beam finds it’s way to the butterfly carving on the legs of her throne. This queen is all about tough love. She see things clearly and makes fair judgments. If you are on the receiving side of one such judgment, know that although it might come with the bluntness of a double-edged sword, you must remember it is for your own good. This queen is an instrument of transformation as witnessed by the number of butterflies alighting the landscape.
If, during the week, you find yourself in the position of queen with judgements and rulings to make, heed the words of Shakespeare’s Portia, as you make those pronouncements: “The quality of mercy is not strained; it droppeth as the gentle main from heaven upon the place beneath.”
Transitions. Change. Saying goodbye. This week we are on a boat moving from rough waters to smooth waters. What are those swords blocking our way forward. Manifestations of mind . We thought we needed them for protection. But they are barriers to the great wide future. It’s time now to release the attitudes, behaviors, and thoughts that hold us back. Yes, it’s sad to bid farewell. But honestly, are our attachments ever really our friends?