Thoughts on the Ace of Swords
February 6, 2008 § 2 Comments
This post carries on from my Thoughts on the Ace of Cups.
In the Haindl, the suit of swords is associated with the South, Egypt and the element of Air. Rachel Pollack writes that this card depicts the Egyptian creation myth. The water represents the female Nun and the mound is the male Atum. According to my quite hefty Encyclopedia of World Mythology, Nun was the “personification of the watery abyss that existed at the beginning of time and which contained the potential for all life.” Strangely, there doesn’t seem to be an entry for Atum so either he wasn’t very popular or he didn’t really do anything except be a mound.
Rachel Pollack explains that Haindl’s addition of the sword represents “the divine mind activating nature, a scene similar to the Michelangelo painting in the Sistine Chapel, where a spark leaps from the fingertip of God to the finger of Adam.” So there is a strong link in this card to creation and animation, perhaps even fertilization.
The card shows a double-edged sword descending from the sky, amidst thick cloud and swirling waves. The tip of the sword connects with a small mound, a hill, which is clearly seen through a break in the waves. It is as if the sword has cleared the way.
Most decks I own depict the sword pointing up – a symbol of truth, righteousness and justice. In those decks the clean, pure element of air is emphasised. In the Haindl, the sword points down and connects with the earth. It is also surrounded by water. The element of the card is air but there is also water in the waves and earth in the mound. There is red around the base of the mound which could indicate fire. There is a sense of the water and the earth receiving the sword.
To me, there is something biblical about this image – a mighty sword descends from heaven and parts the waters, like the parting of the Red Sea. One word or command can make the impossible possible.
Some possible interpretations:
– Finding peace/stillness/clarity amongst noise/chaos
– Illumination, shining a light on something, highlighting
– Pinpoint precision, clarity
– Intelligence applied to some particular “earthly” situation
– Pure thought, higher ideals applied to daily life
– Rationality amidst confusion/illogic
– Mighty power, influence
– Cutting through/piercing/penetrating
– Activating something dormant, sparking off something new