This is the third installment of the Weekly Tarot Card. You can read the first two installments in the following links:
Hopefully by this point you’ve gained some additional understanding of the 2 of Swords, after having spent time observing the card and meditating on it.
On Wednesdays we spend some time grounding our understanding so far gained of the card by looking at the suit and its corresponding element, and to its number. The combination of these give the card it’s unique traits.
Swords and Air
The element of Air corresponds with the Swords, but also with communication and intelligence. It has to do with how we think, and how we speak. It corresponds to Mercury, because of his winged feet. He was the messenger, and carried the words of gods. Thus, the element of Air isn’t just verbal communication or education (though can be), but is also a reminder to listen to the higher levels of communication and messages coming to you.
As mentioned earlier in the Element of Air, the suit of Swords represents the intellect and communication. These are important things to help us navigate through life, as is the Sword in mediaeval times regarding survival. The Swords themselves could be used on the defence or on the offence, but either way were used as a means of protection. The wielding of it could be used to protect the self, or others, but might always result in someone getting hurt. Knowledge and words can be just as damaging, and with them comes the responsibility of how to use them. The Swords have two sharp edges as a constant reminder of the duality that they hold.
The number 2 has to do with unity, balance and harmony. In the terms of the Swords, the 2 reflects balance in order for reflection to occur. There is a focus on duality and evenly distributing the two so that neither Sword drops.
The number 1 is the first dot, the first point from which creation begins. It is the idea, the start that has to exist in order for all else to exist. To create the 2, another point must be made, and thus there are two 1’s. They are two ideas which are not the same for they are separate, but they are similar, and when put together begin creation. Between the two 1’s a line can be drawn, and that is the action put forth by the idea. This is what the 2 represents.
It is the union, harmony and balance between two 1’s, which bring forth action.
The number 2 corresponds to the High Priestess, which will be the Card of the Week in 4 weeks from writing this. She is the feminine counterpart to the Magician, and thus represents the passive energy of the Magician. The 2 then represents a passivity, a balance between the internal and external, the union of idea and action.
Given that the suit of Swords and the element of Air correspond to two features, communication and thought, and the number 2 corresponds to balance, the theme of the 2 of Swords is a balance between communication and thought.
When considering these two things, one is internal while the other external, thus they are somewhat conflicting. This is where the decision lies with the figure in the 2 of Swords. Does she speak, or does she keep what she knows to herself?
The Decks Used
The Aquarian Tarot in a Tin by Italian-born, American-raised David Palladini, was published originally in 1970 by U.S. Games Systems Inc, and then republished again in 2016 in a smaller size. Named after the Age of Aquarius, the Aquarian Tarot is a midieval depiction of the Rider-Waite Tarot system. The images are closer, and thus might give the impression of being more character-based rather than relying on symbolism. This intimate deck provides a stark reflection of the human condition in it’s journey through the tarot.
Faerie Tarot by Nathalie Hertz, published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc, 2008. Hertz is a French artist, and the creator of several other beautiful tarot decks. The Faerie Tarot was ‘inspired by the flora and fauna of the French countryside,’ and ‘invites you to see the world in a delightful new way…blending fantasy, whimsy, and nature.’
Impressionist Tarot by Arturo Picca (artist) and Corrine Kenner (author), published by Lo Scarabeo in 2015. This deck takes works of classic impressionist paintings and recreates them to fit the meanings of the tarot. It pulls from works of Edonard Manet, Claude Monet, Pierre Auguste Renoir, Edgar Degas, Vincent van Gough, and Paul Gauguin. A truly beautiful deck, especially for those who have interest in the art world.
Prisma Visions Tarot by James R. Eads, 3rd ed., published in 2016. The deck itself is beautiful, though perhaps not for the beginning tarot reader. The suits all fit together to create a master picture displaying the energy and progression of the suits. The figures and images flow from one card to the next, showing movement within the stationary cards.
Rider-Waite by A. E. Waite. The deck used in these photos is currently out of print. I won’t say much about this deck, as it is fairly standard and probably one of the most produced decks. It serves as a standard for many tarot readers and artists, depicting classic images relating in part to the original playing cards that tarot developed from.
The Spiral Tarot by Kay Steventon. With turn-of-the-20th-century style art, this deck takes from the classic Rider-Waite deck and brings it up to the late 1800-early 1900’s, a time of industry and contemplation for the western world as it moved forward into a more technological era. I am a little biased toward this deck as it’s been my main deck for 15 years. The cards are thick with additional symbolism that can be tricky to pick out of the traditional Rider-Waite, and adds layers of Greek myth throughout the Major Arcana.
Thoth Tarot by Aleister Crowley (designer and author) and Lady Frieda Harris (artist), published by U. S. Games Systems, Inc., in 1978. This deck takes from most esoteric imagery, and requires the reader of the deck to have deep, initiate knowledge of the symbolism used. There is nothing within the cards that is without meaning. However, on a more surface level, the deck draws from Egyptian symbolism and from the style of the Marseille Tarot (mostly seen within the Minor Arcana). For those looking for deeper understandings of the universe, I recommend this deck. I would caution that this deck is highly advanced, and might be avoided for the budding reader.
Vampire Tarot – by Nathalie Hertz, published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc. in 2000. As mentioned above in reference to the Faerie Tarot, Hertze is a French artist who gained her notability through the publication of her tarot decks. The Vampire Tarot was a bestselling deck upon its release, and plays on more gothic symbolism, providing more jarring interpretations to allow for the accepting of negative forces within the world to compliment the positive forces. The deck brings together myths and legends in the form of vampires, which ‘gives tarot readers a macabre passport’ into the world of divination.