Ace of Swords

bring forward your ideas; speak your truth

Aces are offerings or opportunities of the highest potential of the suit.

Swords deal with the mental realm of air, and our belief systems. Where the Cups dwelled in our unconscious, the Swords reveal our conscious mind. Here, we’re dealing with ideas, words, communication, thought, reason, perspectives, principles, study, ethics, information, truth, insight, clarity of mind. Historically, Swords / Spades represented soldiers and warriors and the conflicts we face, which seems to have evolved in Air as thoughts and interpretations creating strife in our lives.

As such, there is much conflict in the shadows of the Swords. Their reason and strategy may help the lawyer presenting an argument in court, but we must also guard against being argumentative, self-righteous, seeing issues in black & white. While Swords can help Cups in understanding their emotions, they do so rationally and so they can be unfeeling, cold. They’re also prone to overthinking, allowing brain chemistry to run amok in worry and anxiety.

Historically, the four suits were associated with the four classes of society, and — as mentioned above — spades or Swords represented the warriors or knights. In modern classist or Marxist tarot, this translates to govt (including the military), police, as well as institutions of higher learning (academia).

If we consider the four humours of the body and temperament as in Galen’s time, air correlates with blood and was therefore sanguine — energetic and courageous (but may be impulsive and unpredictable). As Jung’s cognitive functions go, the suit of Swords corresponds to Thinking, which is where we strive to understand and discern so that we may make decisions.

from the Medieval Scapini Tarot

And so, the Ace of Swords offers an opportunity to bring forward whatever it is that needs to be expressed through us. There may be a challenge to our belief system, perhaps new info or a choice (note that the sword is often double-edged); but the mind is open and we have the clarity to express our ideas and speak our truth.

In resistance, we may not feel ready to articulate. We may be confused or foggy, or don’t have all of the information, yet.

In excess, we may be overthinking.

Questions that we may be prompted to ask when this card comes up include:

  • What keeps you from expressing your ideas? Is there a part that holds you back from realizing your potential? Why?
  • What holds your tongue from speaking your truth? Where did these limiting beliefs come from?

But of course that’s just a beginning. How do you see this card? How has it come up for you? What is your favorite depiction of the Ace of Swords, and how are its shadow aspects portrayed?

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