Iduna´s Apples

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Rattling sabers and blindfolded ladies

The Tarot contains several cards which are usually seen as „negative“, the most prominent ones being Death, the Devil and the Tower. How “negative” they truly are will be the matter for another blog. What I want to rant about today and here is the negative bend that seems to permeate the cards in the suit of swords.  The Two, Three, Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine and Ten of Swords are all connected to problems, roadblocks , grief, fights and wounds that for the most part entail a long and difficult healing process.

Why is it that this particular suit has been so weighted down with terrible things?

For one thing it is surely connected to the symbol of the sword itself. Unlike the cups, pentacles and wands the sword is weapon and nothing else. A sword is not a tool. It is not a household applicant. Swords were forged for one purpose only and that is to kill or at the very least to maim and scar for life. Yes, wands can be used as weapons too but they can also serve as crutch or a torch. Wands are no weapons per se. Swords are.

Thankfully, this side of the Highlander we do not carry swords anymore as we live in civilized time.


Maybe it is not so clean cut if you forgive the bad wording.

In the Tarot the sword symbolizes the power of our thoughts, the intellect, the swift and decisive action and our communication. Have you ever heard o someone with a sharp mind or a razor tongue? Regarding that razor tongue in particular, how free of violence is our verbal communication today? Is it really true that we don´t carry swords or daggers around anymore? Is it a coincidence that the tongue with its tips vaguely resembles a sword blade?

I would propose the thought that we are still armed, literally to the teeth.

Today the words propelled by our thoughts are our weapons and like the medieval swords they can cut write into our hearts. I´m guilty as charged here. I have my own barbwire tongue and had to learn to control it for the sake of a greater good. Wars fought with words can be as devastating as wars fought with swords. Or they can start them. The idea of non-violent communication was not developed because there is not enough violent communication. Words can cause immense damage.

The Knight of Swords from the Rider-Waite Tarot that charges into battle with his sword held high and his face full of grim determination is for me personally the least sympathetic of all the knights. He is the one who brings his ideas into the world but without regard for anyone else. Did you ever meet an extremely dynamic young manager or entrepreneur? Even assuming they have anything but their own best interest in mind they can create a lot of collateral damage in pursuit of their ideas.

Considering the above it makes sense that the suit of swords is weighted down by so many “negative” implications. Our thoughts, our words and the actions that follow them are potentially our greatest and most destructive weapons and need to be wielded with care and responsibility.

But luckily the sword blades always have two edges and thus can cut both ways. Our intellect is capable of deciding how and when we use our weapons. And then all of sudden it isn´t all that negative anymore. For more of swords and other baddies check out my following blogs.

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