I’ve always loved it. I love the symmetry in the card, the balance of the swords and of the calmness of the woman at the centre. I’m drawn towards the still sea behind her and the quiet night sky. To me, the card suggests balance, preparation, a ‘calm before the storm’ moment, meditation, stillness of heart and mind, focus. She deliberately closes herself off from the distractions of the everyday world in order to centre herself and align her thoughts and feelings. Her feet are square on the ground, she sits straight up. She is getting ready. She has a choice to make. The swords look heavy, but she shows no sign of strain. She gives both sides equal consideration.
Later, I do some reading, and I find the popular connotations are that she is closed off emotionally: rather than risk pain, she keeps her eyes and her heart shut. She won’t trust anyone, she won’t speak to anyone, in some ways like yesterday’s miserly Four of Pentacles, except in this card, surely she is aware of what she is doing. The swords are pointing upwards and held very consciously; she chooses this over the risks of sharing her heart with someone else, or being open to the love of others. In Stephanie Law’s illustration below, s/he willfully ignores the gifts offered by the swans. “I can’t be hurt if I don’t give anything of myself.” Particularly in this illustration, I see these meanings in the Two of Swords.
I’m no big Madonna fan, but the song Frozen came into my head as I sat daydreaming on this card at my desk:
You are the key
Now there’s no point in placing the blame
And you should know I’d suffer the same
If I lose you, my heart would be broken
Love is a bird, she needs to fly
Let all the hurt inside you die
You’re frozen when your heart’s not open
Can there be dual interpretations of a card? I mean – can one reader find dual interpretations? Or is that just confusing? It’s kind of a relief, isn’t it, to know there is more than one way of reading a situation?
Both interpretations suggest strength…and this strength from the same source in each. Withdrawal from everyday distractions, refusal to engage in matters of the heart, can give you strength – whether as a way of life (which I think would be a sad one!) or momentary, while preparing for…a decision? A battle? Some difficult trial?
I’m leaning towards enjoying the duality of the Two of Swords. I tuck both interpretations away in my mind. In readings, I’ll ask the querent for their initial reaction to this card, and take things from there.
Two of Swords from the Shadowscapes Tarot by Stephanie Piu-Mun Law