tarot of the week--ace of swords

Swords hold the energy of the element of Air--communication, perception, listening. Swords also swing or defend for justice. Swords symbolize courtrooms and lawyers and power. The last idea, this concept of power, is something we don't often talk about with Swords. Personally, I focus on the idea of Swords as representations of our perceptions--either false, or self-serving. So many of the Swords have difficult images of defeat and suffering, and these are often borne of our wrong perception, or our symbolic defeat by wrong-thinking. But Power is a theme of the Swords, it has to be. Think of the quote, "He would holds the Sword holds the power." The underlying theme, however, remains true power is in one's objective perception. The Swords call for your clarity of mind, your fair judgment, your articulate understanding, and your sound resolution.


So, why all this talk of Swords? Because Aces hold the most pure representation of the suit. You can read more about Aces in this post. The Ace of Sword is adorned with symbols of Victory and Power. The mountainous background always suggests obstacles overcome and strength. The crown represents the victory over those obstacles and the power that comes with conquest. The palm represents triumph, while the olive branch represents peace. It is part of the gift of the Ace of Swords to recognize when to choose peace and when to choose war.

Aces have the same symbols on the front, a hand coming from the sky, handing you the symbol of the suit. In this case, the Sword adorned. This card is seen as a gift. And by that, I mean, the gift is the energy, the universal movement, behind your own action and will. I often see this as God or Spirit pushing you forward, making all the lights green on your roadtrip to your victory, or drafting you, if you are into bicycle racing. They represent the cliche, God will move mountains, but you need to bring a shovel. This is God saying, "I'm opening all the doors for you, give you some good breaks, now take them."

As I mentioned, so much of the Swords energy is mental. It resides in logic, rationale, and measured actions. If there is plotting! Intrigue! Cunning! It is a Sword. So, when we talk about all this Swords with the Ace, we talk about a new start in terms of communication, logic, or justice. I often see this when someone has begun speaking their truth, or recognize their own power and strength.  We see someone getting honest with themselves, ready to see things exactly as they are, and own up to their part in situations. Perception is a powerful ally. And often, the Ace may not mark a physical new beginning, like a new job, or new situation, but rather your perception of an on-going situation is new. You have new optimism, or you are able to really see the potential, where you once didn't. 

I've been reading and listening to Brene Brown's work on Vulnerability lately. So much of what she talks about with vulnerability and shame is really about the courage to own one's fears, perceptions, and limitations. And then do things in spite of one's fears, or wrongful self-perceptions. She equates vulnerability with courage. And the courage to move through fear, rather than let it make your decisions. One quote I love from her is, "If you are not doing vulnerability, then vulnerability is doing you." So much of the Swords show vulnerability doing the Seeker--the Three, the Five, the Seven, the Eight, the Nine, even the Ten. 

For the Ace of Swords reversed, you will see the Ace pointed into the ground--useless, ineffectual. It is not a victory card. This differs in much of the Aces, because they often ask you to align your intentions with the Highest Good of all, rather than self-serving motivations. The Ace of Swords, however, turns the Sword on himself. Then Vulnerability is really doing the Seeker. He is certainly feeling attacked, but much of that is in his head. It is not reality. So, all the justice, clear-thinking and balance is turned upside down. In this case, I always tell someone to consult a mentor, therapist, a sponsor, if they are in a recovery program, someone to "check in" with. We cannot let our crazy run us, we need to run our crazy. The Ace of Swords reversed means the logic needs to be realigned.

With most reversed cards, the energy of the upright card is there, ready to be righted. I always tell my clients this, because it is vitally important. The reversal of this card is just another perception. The energy of the Swords is there, the power of the Ace, but it is misdirected. Pause. Check in. Right it. There is power in checking yourself.