December 20, 2007 § 2 Comments

This morning I walked our dog in a winter wonderland. In the park near where we live, every tree, stone, and blade of grass was coated in sparkling white frost. It was beautiful and still and very, very cold. As I walked, I was reminded of the Haindl 2 of Swords:

Haindl 2 of Swords

The keyword for this card is Peace. The I Ching Hexagram is made equally of dark (broken) lines and light (unbroken) lines. As the lines in a hexagram are seen to be moving, this hexagram is seen as a perfect moment of stillness and balance. It is usually associated with the Spring equinox, when the hours of light and darkness are equal. The idea is that the peace won’t last: the light will grow stronger and the darkness will recede. In the park this morning, I experienced the same sort of peace for a few moments.

The 2 of Swords is one of my favourite tarot cards in any deck. We live in a noisy, busy, demanding world; finding that perfect moment of stillness is a rare thing. In Haindl’s card, the two swords hang in the air between two rock formations. The image is like the space between breaths – which can seem like an eternity if you listen for it – or the hanging pause between slow ticking seconds. We are granted an inordinate amount of time, yet most of it passes by unchecked.

While I was walking this morning, it began to snow. For a moment, before the first flakes spiralled to the ground, everything fell silent, as though the earth was holding its breath. In Mary Oliver’s latest book, Thirst, there is a poem called ‘Walking Home from Oak-Head’ which contains these lines:

“or wander on slowly
like the still unhurried wind,
as for a gift,

for the snow to begin
which it does
at first casually,
then, irrepressibly.”

In a few days it will be Christmas, but it’s New Year that I look forward to the most. If I could wish for anything in 2008, it would be for more 2 of Swords moments like this.

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