Today’s card draw from The Wild Unknown Tarot is the Father of Swords of Discovering the Wild Unknown.
I want to start off by providing an important notice, which will be included in all of this series. However, other things that will be included that you can skip to are:
- Card Description
- Considering the Card, where I look at how I would interpret certain imagery used
- Traditional Rider-Waite definition
I only include the latter as a comparison, to show how wandering down your own understanding of images and symbols can bring you to a similar meaning, though along a different path with different experiences. This is to help expand knowledge of the card.
I will not, however, be including the definitions from the guidebook, as that is not the point of this. Also, I don’t have rights to that material.
I started this series because I had read that people struggled with the deck purely because the definitions in the Little White Book were very Rider-Waite-based, and that there wasn’t much wisdom regarding the animals and symbolism chosen.
This series is to help you to decipher the meanings yourselves. I am by no means saying what I have to say about the cards are correct for anyone outside myself. However, I am providing my daily journal entries regarding the deck to act as a guide so that you can begin your own journey.
When I started tarot, I had no idea what to write in my journal, and thus didn’t. Instead I obsessively read and re-read the Little White Book belonging to the Spiral Tarot (which is why today I can completely quote the book). I didn’t trust myself to know the cards, even when I could recite the definitions. I was afraid to put the book down.
To this fear of lack of knowledge, the creator of The Wild Unknown writes:
You do know enough. You’ve been a person on earth every day since you were born. You’ve experienced all the emotions and situations these cards depict. Quiet the naysayer…don’t let it prevent you from sitting down with a friend (or yourself) and using these cards to help talk about what’s going on in your life. It will be positive. It will be radical. You’ll find things start to reveal themselves through the cards that have been hidden away, covered with dust.pp. 10-11, The Wild Unknown Guidebook
Description of the Card
The Father of Swords shows a horned owl, looking wide-eyed at the reader. A Sword leans against the chest of the owl, with the blade pointing up. The blade is rainbow-colored from tip to the ened of the handle. The owl holds the Sword up-right with its talongs grasping the hilt.
Traditional Card Meaning
The Traditional version of the Father of Swords is the King of Swords, who depicts a grounding of thought and idea. This is an individual who knows how to ground their thinking, knows when to act, and when they do, can be witty and sharp.
Figuratively, this card can represent knowing what battles are worth fighting. Sometimes a response is not always necessary, and this card is about knowing when to keep quiet, and bide your time.
What I derive from the Card itself
The Son of Swords and the Daughter of Swords both see value in the blade, choosing this to be where they hold it. But the horned owl father-figure knows better.
This owl holds on to the hilt, knowing where to sufficiently hold on to. He looks at the Reader with a stern expression. There almost seems to be a display of knowledge of the Sword, and thus, a threat that he owl gives to the reader. ‘I know what I’m doing with this thing, so don’t try anything funny.’
The Sword itself is rainbow and rests against the owl’s chest. The rainbow, I think, indicates the many aspects of life and experience which gives the owl a mastery of thought and understanding. If the owl has experienced love, has experienced passion, has experienced earthly and material things, then the owl has seen different perspectives, and thus has a greater mastery of mind.
That he is not in flight perfectly indicates the steadiness of him. He might have wit on his side, but he has no need to show it off without provocation. The Sword is a warning, and his intelligence is that which he holds most dear.
Because the Sword is pointed upright, there is the impression that this is also a card of higher thinking and maturity to act only when appropriate. He must know just what he’s doing if he wants to reposition the Sword to strike, and being an owl, that might not be an easy feat. Thus, it must be worth it when the time does come to do so.
About the Deck
The Wild Unknown Tarot is a 2016 Harper One publication, created by Kim Krans. The deck is widely available at most bookstores who carry Tarot cards, but also on Amazon. Kim Krans always wrote The Wild Unknown Guidebook.