Tarot cards are powerful tools for exploring your inner development, getting an insight about people and situations in your life, and critical thinking. Each card tells a story as an archetype; the cards are part of five journeys: the major arcana (22 cards in the deck) and the four suits of the minor arcana (14 cards in each suit).
This article is part of a five-article series that will take a journey through each of these five groups of cards; this fourth article will look at the suit of the swords in the minor arcana. The deck I have chosen to use is something fun, the Happy Tarot, which is based on the most commonly known tarot deck, the Rider-Waite Tarot. The swords, in this deck, are represented by a wooden sword.
- The Journey Through the Major Arcana
- The Journey Through the Cups of the Minor Arcana
- The Journey Through the Pentacles of the Minor Arcana
- The Journey Through the Wands of the Minor Arcana
The Fool’s Journey Through the Minor Arcana
Like the Fool, we all must pass through major events in our lives, captured in the archetypes of the major arcana cards. But most of life is spent dealing with mundane and minor matters; this energy is captured in the archetypical images of the four suits of minor arcana cards. Each suit represents a different aspect of our everyday journeys by way of elements and symbols.
Air represents our thoughts, how we reason, and how we communicate; the sword is the chosen symbol for air. Earth energy deals with the material world, our finances and health; the pentacle or coin is the earth’s symbol. Water is the element of our emotions and the cup or chalice has been chosen as the emotional symbol. And finally, fire represents our creativity and spirituality, and our call to action; the wand or rod is the symbol for fire in the tarot.
The minor arcana suits have fourteen cards, numbered 1 to 10, with four additional cards represented by figures from Renaissance nobility from the courts of old: the page, the knight, the queen, and the king. The aces initiate the energy and the subsequent cards show different expressions of the energy-based on common circumstances we navigate in life. The “court” cards are the personality “types” of each suit, with pages as an impressionable youth, knights as questing workers, queens as the managers, and kings as the leaders.
The Journey Through the Swords
The Fool begins his or her mental journey with the Ace of Swords, which represents a new thought and the excitement of new ideas. The 2 of Swords represents “peace of mind” regarding decisions, finding trust in the decision-making process. The 3 of Swords is sorrow, the knowledge we discover when our heart and mind do not align and we know something we want emotionally is not good for us intellectually. When the Fool arrives at the 4 of Swords, s/he knows acceptance and the truce we need when our heart catches up with what we know is right. The 5 of Swords (and all the number 5 cards) introduces difficulty. The keyword most often connected with this card is defeat (and how we will rethink ourselves after loss).
The 6 of Swords shows us how logical thinking and planning help us succeed in life. Next, the Fool will face a time when we must accept a situation that is futile and we need to re-direct our thoughts to new possibilities after a significant belief has been shattered. The 8 of Swords warns us that one of the most difficult interferences to overcome is our own negative thinking. In the 9 of Swords, we must figure out how to protect ourselves from the cruelty of others. The final card, the 10 of Swords, appears when we need to see the “writing on the wall” and make an adjustment before a situation goes into ruin.
The Court Cards
The final four cards of the suit are the page, the knight, the queen, and the king. When the Fool experiences the Page of Swords, s/he should be open-minded to new ways of “seeing” situations and people. The knight, on the other hand, has focus; s/he teaches how to pursue an idea and see it communicated; “I believe in this ideal”, the knight says. The knights always teach us to have goals; and with the swords, the goal is clarity of thought and single-mindedness.
Queens manage, and the Queen of Swords teaches us how to strategize. She is the chess player envisioning five moves ahead so she can achieve the outcome she wants. The Queen of Swords is never without a plan. Finally, the King of Swords leads with his judgment, not afraid to analyze situations and offer advice or decisions as a final arbitrator. We all encounter the lessons of the page, knight, queen, and king over and over again through our life journey, hoping to be wiser with each experience.
Swords in Your Reading
When you draw sword cards in a reading, then you need to address your thoughts and deal with the mental and communication aspects of your question or concern. This will apply regardless of whether your question is about relationship or work, family or spiritual growth. Suppose you have asked about your relationship with your brother and drew the Page of Swords; you need to look at him as if he were not your brother and ask, “would I want to hang out with person?”.
These cards represent the archetypical situations we find ourselves in that teach us our psychological lessons. The Fool wants to know all the facets of human life. And each card holds the energy of the previous card and the following card. The cards of the tarot are not static; they are dynamic. When sword cards appear, try to detach emotionally and look at your situation and concerns objectively and see what that observing framework teaches you.