The Suit of Swords: Of genius and sorrow

Reaching the suit of swords, we enter the realm of intellect, and the element of air. In this suit we find everything that happens in the mind: vision, planning and strategy, communication. The essence of swords is like standing on top of a mountain on a crisp, clear day. You can see for miles, and it’s a great perspective. You can see where you’re going and where you’ve been. You communicate exactly what you want to say, and are understood.

Here, we find justice in its purest, most unequivocal form – think of how we often see a sword in the Justice card itself. Swords are sharp and cut through bullshit, pare away fluffy grey areas and get right to the heart of what is happening. This is real clarity, razor-sharp truth.

But as we all know, the human mind is often its worst enemy, and so within the swords we also find fear, insecurity, self-doubt, self-deception. The tricks that our minds play on us. The battles we do, body and soul against mind. Some of the tarot’s toughest cards appear in the suit of swords.

And there is sorrow here, too – the Secret Tarot calls this ‘the suit of sorrow’. Here, we find where the mind and the heart collide, and see heartbreak and sadness. We see moments of despair, but we also find the strength that can be gained from processing life’s tough lessons and growing wiser (especially in the Queen of Swords, who we’ll meet later).

The Ace of Swords

This card is the very essence of the element of air. A single sword, held aloft, like the other aces, this is bringing you an opportunity.

A new perspective is coming through. Perhaps you’re seeing things from a different angle, having big realisations, or feeling finally able to put into words that *thing* you’ve been wrestling for so long. It’s a moment of clarity, where you can finally see things as they are.

Bringing in the communication element of this card, the Ace of Swords can represent a new truth. Perhaps this is the moment when you finally find the strength to define, even speak, your truth. Maybe this truth is painful – to yourself, or to others. Go into that pain, try to figure it out.

Writing, blogging, journalling and letters are all implicit in the Ace of Swords, and this may be bringing you encouragement to think about how you’ll tell your story. Don’t be afraid to use your voice, your words.

Study, learning, and teaching too. The Ace of Swords may herald the beginning of a new stage for you in any of these areas. Is there an area of your life where you crave knowledge? Is there something you’d like to study? Or are you called to teach what you know? Now is the time to honour those urges.

This card encourages you to take a rational approach to your situation. Focus on what you know, and think things through, putting aside your emotions and desires for now. Focus on what is fair and just, what feels right, to you. It may help to look at your situation from new angles, seek out new information.

Finally, it may be that a strategy is needed – this is an auspicious card for planning, setting out clearly the path you wish to take. Honour this, and put aside space and time to do this work.