The Page of Swords. Interesting card! I’m kinda in the middle of a mapping exercise to help me learn more about the personalities of the sixteen court cards, and thought I’d have a little moment with this character.
Page of Swords, Silver Era Tarot by Aunia Khan and Russel J Moon
We typically think of Pages as being the eager students of their suits. They’re eager and willing to learn, and unlike the Knights, they don’t tend to think they know it all already. So what does that give us in terms of the Swords? The Page of Swords is on a quest for truth and justice, and is looking for good ways to resolve a conflict. She is unafraid of scrutinizing herself and those around her. As Stephanie Law writes in the Shadowscapes Companion, ‘her mind is analytical and agile, and she uses that to guide her sense of purpose and assess situations. She stretches her perceptions to try to make room for the new and unknown.’ There is also a feeling with this card that some work or training has already been done – we have already spent time doing this scrutinizing or analysing, and are ready to put our newly-gained knowledge into action – and it’s nice to be given a prod to acknowledge that and congratulate ourselves on reaching this stage.
Page of Arrows, from the Wildwood Tarot, illustrated by Will Worthington
Study and application brings wisdom and understanding which can be applied to most situations. Your youth and determination will carry you forward and your nascent skills bring you to a dynamic realisation.
Mark Ryan and John Matthews, Wildwood Tarot
So far, so Page-like. As messengers, pages bring us information – so in this case that would be some useful knowledge. But as I root around in the established Tarot wisdom, I find another perception of this character – one which shows a less pleasant side to her quest for knowledge. Gossip and heresay can be associated with this card – as in someone who’s relentlessly trying to find out everything about a situation in order to spread rumours…or perhaps to promote their own interests. So the Page of Swords might indicate that we should doubt someone’s sincerity and question their motivations.
Another characteristic in this card can be detachment. In 78 Degrees of Wisdom, Rachel Pollack writes that ‘rather than change [elements of conflict], he finds it sufficient to simply get above them, to find the high ground. Instead of solving conflicts or meeting oppositio he detaches himself.‘ Pollack points out that this detachment is a difficult stance to maintain – keeping people at arms length means constant vigilance, ‘making sure that people or situations don’t get too close‘.
So maybe the Page of Swords is kinda aloof. Maybe they’ve got their own thing going on, and whilst they’re busying themselves finding out all sorts of things about you and your situation, perhaps you shouldn’t spend too much time trusting them. Why are they asking me that? So they can pass it on to someone else? So they can undermine me? Or do they truly care about me? It’s tricky, because gathering together all of the different ideas about this card, we end up with a message that someone could be really harmful in a situation…or really harmful!
Because on the other hand, maybe in a reading they signify a person (even yourself) who’s going to come marching in and cut right to the heart of the matter, giving it to you straight, offering you some clear options for resolution. When I see this card in a reading, I’m thinking first of all ‘great!’, and then I’m thinking ‘hang on, let’s just check out what’s really happening here’. It’s a warning to check that person’s motivations, and a message that someone could be holding the key you seek.
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