Tarotka Minor Arcana: Ace of Swords

So now we’ve started on the suit of Swords. Remember what I said before: Swords are the suit of intellect, thought, authority, and reason. They are concerned with justice, truth and ethical principles. Swords are associated with the element Air. This suit can also be associated with states that lead to disharmony and misery. Intellect is a valuable asset, but it does not necessarily bring happiness.

Ace of Swords
Recall how I said the ace is the “root” of all the themes of the suit? Swords represent intellect and authority, so the Ace of Swords is considered to be the “start” of everything related intellect and authority. In this way, the Ace of Swords is sometimes considered to mean an idea, and is also sometimes considered to mean divine right – after all, all things related to reason come from ideas, and all manner of earthly authority (by the old timey justification, anyway) comes from divine authority.

The Sword here in the suit of swords is a metaphor… well, duh, but the purpose here is to point out the sword is neither good nor evil by itself – whether it works for good or works for ill depends on who uses it. But at the same time, this is not a kindly instrument, and it’s still made to be a weapon of war. The Sword can be picked up and wielded by any who are strong enough, but it is a double edged blade, and it can cut its wielder just as easily as it can cut its foes. It’s a powerful tool, but not one that always brings happiness. Remember the old saying “heavy is the head that wears the crown”. Remember also “those who live by the sword, die by it.”

The Ace of Sword is a powerful sign, and a positive one, but it can kind of be a nebulous one. That’s because this is a symbol, which can mean a whole lot of things. It embodies the potential for all the things it represents, a start, a concept, but it hasn’t really sprung full-fledged into a form that we can point to and easily define.

Inverse
So, we have a symbol that represents all these nebulous concepts. When ill-aligned, it represents… the bad side of these concepts. Helpful, no? Well, in more practical terms, that would mean bad ideas, bad authority, intellect turned towards bad ends, and authority turned towards bad ends. So, summed up – Tyranny, Conflict, Instability, Stress, and just a general sign you shouldn’t be starting whatever you’re starting, because it’s a bad idea. This is also a sign that the “double-edged sword” up in the metaphor above might have turned against you.

We can usually guess what authority turned to bad ends means, but there’s more to bad intellect than just “using your smarts to do evil”. If you’ve ever completely destroyed your own enjoyment of something by nitpicking it to death, you understand what I mean (or worse yet, had some obnoxious nitpicker do it for you). If you don’t keep control of your thoughts, you can second-guess or criticize yourself into oblivion. You should probably sort your thoughts out before forging ahead.

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