No discussion of misunderstood cards can be complete without including the Suit of Swords. Swords are weapons, no one is going to argue that and some of the scenes on the Swords cards can be quite graphic in their depiction of violence (really depends on what deck you have how graphic it is), sadness and loss. When a Sword card is drawn people often think that doom, pain and/or suffering is coming their way. That the Swords are a harbinger for all things horrible in the world.
This is the problem with literal interpretations of the Tarot. People believe that the Death Card means someone is / you are going to die, Devil means you are possessed or the Devil is after you, and the Tower is a sign of utter destruction in your life. Just look at those pictures! What else could they mean? We already discussed in past blogs that Death equals Change (not a physical death), Devil equals Ego and the Tower calls people out on their bull shit or limited thinking.
The Swords are a part of the Minor Arcana, and each suit has it’s own topic of discussion. Pentacles talks about Physical Concerns (Job, Finances, Mortgage etc.), Cups talks about Emotional/Psychic Concerns and Wands about Spiritual Concerns - and Swords deals with Mental Concerns. This doesn’t not have to be mental health, although it can be. Swords talks to us about how we use our mind, our most powerful spiritual tool, to our benefit and detriment. Huh? How would we use our minds to hurt ourselves? That sounds ridiculous! What sane person would ever do that?
Well hang on a second. Do you talk to yourself critically? Tell yourself you ‘should do this’ or ‘shouldn’t do that’? Be guilted into something that you know is a bad idea but do it anyway? Call yourself names? Torture yourself by reliving painful memories over and over again (this has nothing to do with reliving serious traumas or having PTSD as that is a completely different ball of wax) and beating yourself up over your action or inaction?
These situations are using our minds to our detriment, we actively hurt ourselves and energetically seek out negative experiences to punish ourselves or to reinforce our negative beliefs. Humans naturally need reinforcement for their beliefs - which is why some people will ignore cold hard facts because it doesn’t fit into their belief system, which has given birth to such extreme cases such as the Sandy Hook Conspiracy Theory and the Holocaust Deniers.
The Swords want to teach us how to properly use our minds in a positive, life affirming way instead of the harmful ways many of us have been taught to use our minds. Each card has a specific lesson about how to do this and what to watch out for in your thinking patterns.
Ok, so if the Swords are supposed to be so helpful then why are the cards so graphic?
They want to get your attention and show you how badly you are hurting yourself. Having a card with puppies and flowers that says ‘Hey, your negative thought patterns are sabotaging your current attempt to manifest’ would have a less impact than the multiple swords sticking out of someone’s back laying in a pool of blood. It’s shock value, ‘hey pay attention to me because this is serious shit happening’ type of imagery.
It stays with you after the reading is finished. It calls to you, not to frighten you, but instead to take hold of the hilt of the Sword and to cut yourself free from the mental bull shit you put yourself through and set yourself free. The goal of Tarot overall is to set you free from your limiting beliefs or limited concept of reality - it is a tool the Divine gave to us to aid us in accomplishing that goal. With that thought in mind, comment below with how you have or would like to use Tarot to live a more authentic life? I look forward to your comments.
So I have been getting some feedback about #LetsTalkTarot and have been asked to do a series on each card in the Tarot, with a short meditation. Next week we will start with The Fool and go through the Major Arcana first. If you missed last week’s post check it out here.