Thoughts on the Ace of Swords

February 6, 2008 § 2 Comments

Ace of Swords

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

§ 2 Responses to Thoughts on the Ace of Swords

  • archertarot says:

    After posting this last night, I had an interesting thought which reminded me of this card. I was thinking about how I am not very good at conveying my ideas through speech and how, whenever I want to communicate my thoughts, I have to write them down. It’s as if my brain needs that physical connection of pen to paper or fingers to keyboard in order for my thoughts to flow, like the needle on a record or a battery connection that allows electricity to flow. And that reminded me of this image, of the sword connecting with the mound activating the suit of air, the suit of thought. Without that connection to ground them, my thoughts are nothing, just random electrical impulses in my brain which spark and then disappear.

  • Tarot Dame says:

    What a beautiful card. I have to tell you that when I saw the card, the image of the Red Sea parting came to mind. Then I read your post to see you had written the same thing!! 🙂

    And your comment about being better at writing your thoughts than expressing them verbally was something I was thinking about yesterday. I’m the same exact way…always have been. Great connection to make to this card!

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