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Battle or Butchery? The Wisdom of Swords – 5/10/2020

A sword is not as ancient a tool as water or fire--though it feels strange and significant that you need both to make one. It is an emblem of sovereignty, of authority. It can cut for mercy, or justice, or tyranny and bloodlust.

I am much more in my element when dealing with Swords than with Cups. Give me a problem, and give me something I can use to solve it, and I am much happier shaving the complexities down to their essential root. This approach does not always work, and has in the past hurt people I love. When you're speaking on the vast and unfathomable ocean of our relationships with each other, a Sword is not always the best tool to use.

Sasha Graham's Wisdom of Swords spread speaks to this dichotomy, to recognizing the dual nature of a sword. It addresses both the ways a sword can empower, or oppress.

When I pulled cards for myself, I found my mind dwelling on the national quarantine we aren't under. My thoughts drifted to the countless threads on social media from retail, restaurant, and healthcare employees who all rage against this premature reopening. I thought of my own anxiety, of how every trip to the grocery store is a risk not only to myself, but to others. I try not to live in this fear, because that isn't helpful either. It follows me, nevertheless, as I'm sure it follows many of you.

It isn't always sunshine and rainbows, in tarot. There are shadows as well as light. Despair, as well as hope. The images on these 78 cards are reflections of our emotions and behaviors passed down and reinterpreted time and time again. It's my job to be honest--with myself, and with all of you.

Even here, though, these darker cards have a flipside. The 10 of Swords represents traumatic endings, of absolutely no hope of recovery. The 9 of Swords represents fears and anxieties, insomnia and being consumed by worry. But their positions in the spread ask questions that point to the other side of those coins. What can we do when our world collapses around us? We can choose to wait out the immediate hurt and danger, and then move forward with whatever we can salvage. What can we do when our fear so consumes us we can't sleep? We can choose to reach out, to seek any small joy we can. We don't have to face this alone.

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