Saturday, July 31, 2010

5 swords

Losing the fight.
The swords cards are a hard lot to bear. We look at this card and see not only loss, but the humiliation of defeat. Notice the victor with his strange grin; he may have won, but it wasn’t a clean victory, there was something sneaky about it.

I love the image of the female boxer with the bruised eye, the loser in the fight, but also feeling lost herself. When you get this card it means you are embroiled in a no-win situation, look for another solution, because fighting won’t get you what you want.

In the Inner Child version, the boy from the previous card (the 4 of swords) has lost his companions. He has escaped, alone, to the beach, and is trying to lose himself in playing with the sea creatures, but he knows that sooner or later he has to go back on his raft and face his situation, and the longer he waits, the worse it will feel.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Four of Swords

No one in New York wants to take a time out, but everyone needs one from time to time. The 4 of swords is a period of retreat to quietness. Things may have been too hectic lately, take some time and meditate about it. After the dramatic 3 of swords, the stress and pain there, this card gives you some peace and quiet and a chance to regroup.

It can also mean that the situation is more passive than you want it to be. I saw it recently in the spread of someone anxiously looking for work and I said, you need to give the job seeking a break for minute and really check with yourself what kind of work you are looking for and why, because what you are doing is not giving you the results that you want. Sometimes the cards tell you to push harder, but this is a card telling you to retreat.

The Inner Child cards don’t always reflect the Rider Waite interpretations and here their 4 of swords is very different – this card is much more active, 4 people on a raft together. Depending on how you feel, this card can be positive (support on the journey!) or negative (have to share space, can’t only do what I want!) What is clear is that they are on a journey together and they can’t independently charter these waters, they have to rely on each other. So here it is a retreat from the individual drive, to fit with the needs of the group.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Three of Swords

No one likes getting this card and everyone immediately understands what it means – it’s a knife to the heart. I see it when relationships have ended badly, when love has gone wrong.

The image of the blood in the bath is even more powerful, showing the darkest side of suicidal impulses after a really great sadness.

The card showing the sinking ship also speaks to me, sometimes it just feels too hard to stay afloat.

The loss of something of real value to us is always hard to accept, and the 3 of sword shows the struggle with that pain, rage and sadness.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Two of Swords

Here sits a woman, eyes bound, holding 2 swords across her body. I often ask people who draw this card to cross their arms like she is doing, and see how tight they feel, how difficult it is to breathe. This is a woman whose defenses have become part of her problem, and are tragically making her more vulnerable than she would be if she just put the swords down.

The two of swords symbolizes a person or situation where truth or reality is denied, where people are kept at arm’s length. Instead we hide our distress and become defensive. The woman in this image is avoiding the truth, refusing to look at facts and pretending everything's fine. She feels afraid to act and she’s stuck.

But I always assure the person drawing the card that the situation is not irrevocable. If the woman is willing to lower her defenses a little, put the swords down, take the blindfold off, she may well find that there is no imminent attack, instead she’s so used to protecting herself that she was pushed all her support away, but now that the swords are down she can welcome them back.

The Inner child cards have more movement, at least there are 2 people engaging here, but they are both protecting tiny piles of rock from which no life can grow. So sometimes the battle is not worth winning, and we have to look at the situation closely to see what it is we are protecting and if it worth our time and energy.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Ace of Swords

Like a breath of fresh air, the Ace of swords cuts through the mists of confusion. It gives you clarity, focus, vision.

I think the Ace cuts to the heart of the matter. I often see it when relationships are complicated; the Ace of swords tells you when you need to cut yourself free. Of course if the Ace is cutting through illusions/delusions, some of those illusions may belong to us! As I always say with swords, swords learn through pain, so if you are the one having trouble letting go of the relationship, the Ace cuts through your false dreams - which may hurt in the short term, but will heal in the long term…

I like the Inner Child version, of Excalibur being pulled free, giving you the strength, luck and magic to do what needs to be done.

Monday, July 12, 2010

And now for the swords...

We leave the water based cups and now move on to the swords, cutting through the air. When I think of swords, I think of cutting through complications, sharp edged and smart. The swords deal with the mind, both rational and irrational. The swords are intellectual and want to learn but emotionally they often learn through pain. I associate Swords with strength, defenses, conflict, anxiety, and ambition, but above all, swords seek the truth, and how valuable that makes them!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

King of Cups

Charming, charismatic, outgoing, the King of Cups is all of these and more. He is creative and interesting and likes conversation about art and style. He is often quick witted and clever. He can be empathic and in touch with his feelings.

The Inner child version shows a female, showing this card can refer to either a man or woman, and she is calling for friends/aid. What I like about that is that often when things are stormy, people can retreat into themselves and not ask for the help they need, but the Guardian of Hearts is wise and sufficiently sure of herself to call with an open heart and get the assistance s/he needs.

The shadow side of this card is someone who is too passive, watching the world but not getting up and changing things. Or the card can represent someone emotionally manipulative, seeing and understanding and then twisting things to fit his/her own agenda. The common flaw I find with the reversed king of cups is that when his back is to the wall, he melts away. The King likes charm and light and if the situation is difficult he can find himself backing away and leaving you flat.

I actually find this card, as with all the court cards, really complex. I’ve given very different interpretations of this card to people, depending on their situation.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Queen of Cups

The Queen of cups gazes into the fantastical cup she has created. She has all the beautiful cups qualities we’ve met before – she is loving, nurturing and empathic. But she can also have the cups frailties: she can be hypersensitive, volatile, needy. Often a healer, counselor or psychic, this is a woman who seems to know what's wrong even before you open your mouth. I read somewhere that Princes Diana was a perfect Queen of Cups, and that really crystallized this card for me.

I always tell people when they get this card that this woman needs to look up and see what is going on around her, rather than gazing so raptly into the cup of her own making. She is capable of great emotional depth but has to be careful not to fall into her own fantasties.

The Inner Child cards show the Queen of Cups as the witch Glinda the Good from the Wizard of Oz. I read her more as a fairy godmother – incredibly, magically helpful, but also with strange controlling limitations (why did Cinderella’s carriage turn back into a pumpkin at midnight, why couldn’t it have retained its form for the entire night? You can see I’ve given way too much thought to that fairy tale, but the limitations of the fairy godmother always interest me… )