July 8th is the first International Tarot day, which is a day to celebrate the beauty of the Tarot and to recognise the Tarot as a tool of spiritual development that goes way beyond its media portrayed fortune telling image (such as in James Bond’s Live and let die, when he encounters Solitaire and her Tarot of the Witches)!
It is a day for the Tarot community to showcase what a wonderful tool the Tarot can be to empower us in our everyday lives.
To celebrate such a wonderful day, full of events and activities, many of us Tarot lovers will be participating in a fun project by writing a blog on a specific card.
I was assigned a complex card (as complex as our human psyche), the card in question is the Two of Swords 🙂
Let’s go and rock and roll and demystify the Two of Swords!
Traditionally, the card depicts a woman wearing a blindfold, holding two swords crossed over her chest (the heart chakra, centre of feeling and emotions) and sitting on a stone.
The card above is from the Druidcraft Tarot and encompasses perfectly the dilemma of making a decision to go in one direction or another (being stuck between a rock and a hard place type of thing). We all have been there.
Notice that the woman is semi-naked, which means she is innocent, naïve, vulnerable and pure. She probably feels the coldness of the metal from the swords on her heart chakra (cooling down her emotions).
Swords are a symbol of absolute truth and belong to the realm of air.
The woman tries to calm her internal storm without the chattering of the external world (hence why she has blindfolded herself). However, her red cape indicates that her consciousness is more instinctive and emotional (passion) and requires action. She tries to keep the status quo (notice her almost perfect stillness). Here we have the eternal conflict mind versus heart!
She sits in front of a tree (perhaps an oak tree, symbol of wisdom) almost like she wants to feel the tree, to feel its wisdom. Presumably she could be asking the tree for its support and counsel.
After all, she cannot see, but she can hear the whispers of the leaves in the trees, she can feel the air around her and maybe the coldness of the swords against her skin. She can feel her connection to the land. When one of the five senses is not working, the others tend to compensate. In other words, she feels all the emotions related to her situation.
Perhaps by sensing the trees around her and by visualising each possible path available to her, together with their possibilities and pitfalls, will she know which path to choose.
However, one cannot stay forever in between. As time progresses, she will presumably grow tired and the weight of the swords will soon become too heavy for her to maintain her perfect stillness. She will need to make a move by going one way or another, in other words, by reaching a decision and sticking to it (end of procrastination…hooray).
Often in a reading, this card implies that the querent (the person receiving a reading) has to make a decision and sometimes there can be two alternatives. Which can confuse the querent even more, leading them to a standstill.
Negotiation and compromise is also another meaning of this card. Facing fear and withdrawal from life is yet another theme. The Two of Swords may depict a situation when one is caught in the middle of a dispute and one is asked to take sides, leading to emotional conflict for the mediator.
Withdrawing in order to reach a conclusion is the help this card offers. Calming the storm of conflictual thoughts by going inwards (using meditation and/or visualisation) is what can help reach a level of peace of mind and spirit.
Numerology is an ancient system that attributes numbers to meanings and connections to the spiritual realms. Ancient civilisations used Numerology thousands of years ago and it is still in use in today.
The Tarot has 78 cards divided into 22 major arcana (22 is considered as a master number in Numerology which means it is almost a mythical number linked to the cosmos) and 56 minor arcana. All cards are numbered in the Major and Minor arcana apart from the Court cards found in the four suits of the Minor Arcana (Cups/Water, Wands/Fire, Earth/Pentacles and Swords/Air).
The High Priestess bears the number 2 in the Major Arcana. The High Priestess influences all the twos in the Tarot (2 of Cups, 2 of Wands, 2 of Pentacles and 2 of Swords).
Number 2 is a feminine number and it is linked to the Moon. Two is the number of duality; opposite and relationship, interaction with each other and receptivity and sensibility.
Certainly the opposites of life are clearly shown with the High Priestess (the traditional black and white pillars). The Moon is also traditionally depicted with the High Priestess for the emotions and the feminine.
As we have seen, the Two of Swords is a card for internal conflict of life and certainly the conflict of emotions (feminine) and the mind (masculine).
The essence of the number 2 is to bring opposites together and to create harmony through creativity and receptivity which is why in the Two of Swords the internal conflict has to be resolved in order to integrate opposites in life, to bring harmony and peace of mind.
The world we live in today is the world of the Two of Swords; with conflicts seen in many countries, where unity and togetherness are nowhere to be seen and division and separateness are rampant.
Many cards in the Tarot are linked to Astrology, as planets and sun signs give extra information on the energies of the cards.
With the Two of Swords, the element attributed to it (and to the whole suit of swords) is the element of Air. The Celestial Tarot has assigned the Two of Swords with the constellation of Lupus. It was recognised as the constellation of Lupus, the Latin name for the wolf, around the 16th Century when the translation of Ptolemy’s work identified it with the wolf!
The myth of the wounded centaur (Chiron) offering a wolf as a sacrifice to Ara (the heavenly altar) is behind the name of the constellation.
Wolves have certainly been the subject of myths and attributes such as savagery, primitive and guttural feelings from time immemorial. The popular image of a wolf howling at the moon is part of many folklores around the world and of course, the image of a man becoming a wolf during a Full moon (lycanthropy) is an ancient myth which became popular with horror films and literature.
But wolves have also a more caring side and the myth of Romulus and Remus suckling a she-wolf became the legend behind the founding of Rome.
But what does all this have to do with the Two of Swords I hear you say?
As we know, the Two of Swords has a link with the High Priestess as we have seen with the numerological aspect of the card.
The High Priestess is ruled by the Moon (lo and behold, the Moon is heavily portrayed with the wolves in popular imagery as we have seen). The Moon has an influence on the wolf (constellation of Lupus), animal instinct/gut feeling/emotion versus logic/coldness/intellect. Anyone who knows anything about wolves will tell you that they are very intelligent creatures, with a strict social hierarchy and that they hunt together for more effectiveness for the good of all.
We have seen with the numerological connection of number 2, that togetherness and harmony is the best attribute of the number 2 and it is what needs to be achieved with the Two of Swords.
So the circle is completed, everything is intertwined, the Tarot, Numerology, myths and legends, and Astrology. 🙂
So to resume, the Two of Swords is a card of internal conflict: emotions (Moon) versus logic (Swords/Lupus Constellation), being stuck in no man’s land, immobilised with procrastination. A balance needs to be achieved.
Ta da! Balance is a powerful word in this example and it leads us to the realm of the Justice card (scales) often represented as a blindfolded woman holding a set of perfectly balanced scales.J Of course Justice is also linked to Libra in Astrology. Libra people are well known for their diplomacy, their listening skills, their sociability, and their dislike of conflicts, and sometimes their procrastination too.
Now you know where we are heading right?
We have seen that with the Two of Swords a need to resolve internal conflicts (or sometimes, external) has to be made. Justice holds an upright sword (the sword of truth) and asks us to see the truth as it is, to be strong and honest with ourselves.
Only by being truthful to ourselves (without ego in the picture) and finding the right balance, will we resolve our internal conflict/chattering and be able to move on with our lives and restore our internal harmony and peace. Phew!
But it is easier to say than to do…
However, there are a few things that we can do to help restore the balance and harmony within ourselves.
Let’s have a look at the help mother Nature can provide 🙂
The Herbal Tarot has associated the Two of Swords with Passionflower.
Passionflower is a well-known remedy that has been used for a very long time to help treat anxiety and nervous disorders amongst other ailments.
Its calming properties can soothe an over-active mind and even help with insomnia and depression, lifting spirits and rebalancing the mind, body and spirit.
If we find ourselves in the Two of Swords situation, the best would be to take some Passionflower Flower Essence to help rebalance our energies and achieve a peace of mind by removing tension (in the body as well).
Another great Flower Essence to take is Scleranthus, part of the 38 Bach Flower Remedies, widely available worldwide.
Scleranthus is a brilliant remedy that helps to restore the quality of balance and decisiveness that can be lacking when we are faced with the Two of Swords situation.
Sometimes faced with crippling indecision and emotionally going from one extreme to another whilst in the middle of an internal battle is not something we want to be stuck in. Scleranthus will help to restore our inner point of balance, helping us to connect to our soul and our own direction.
NB: please note that all flower essences are usually made without any chemicals, using natural methods and with no additives, colouring and other nasties.
Now that you are a little more acquainted with the Two of Swords, perhaps you would like to know more about the Ace of Sword and the Two of Swords and many of the other cards?
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