Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Reflections on Swords in the Negative - 8 of Swords

"You are truly in prison if you lock yourself up"

Keywords for this card are:

  • Imprisonment
  • Confusion
  • Blindness
  • Restriction
  • Lost
  • Being victimised
  • Self-hate
  • Passivity
  • Isolation
Now this is the accepted Rider-Waite image, many decks are based on this, and I have been sticking with the traditional meaning. In depth though, and in the negative, I would say that I have always felt that this is a card about self sabotaging. 
You are really your worst enemy.
You can see that the Swords are not completely around her, that the bandages are loose, but rather than taking a risk, breaking the bandages and running off, she chooses not to see this and play victim.
Yes, I said that, play victim. Because, beside the original cause for this "hiccup", "delay", "obstacle", there is absolutely no reason for her not to escape. Except that either she is unwilling to or is waiting for someone else to do it for her.
If you also think that after the 8, the 9 of Swords is even more of a "oh please pity me" card, this sets you up nicely.
This is self imposed isolation, hoping that the solution would drop on her lap (or bandages). Which is not going to happen until this state of mind reaches its peak with the 10 of Swords. Bottom is reached, up you go and buy some plasters on the way.
In a mental state term I would say that this would not correspond with being depressed. But being self loathing, having low self esteem, being passive rather than active. The self harm here is not physical, it is in the mind. Believing that there is no way out, when there is a door open, but of course it's not open, she cannot see it because of the blindfold, which she would not be wearing if she took the time to loosen her bandages.
And so it is a vicious circle of cause and effect. Doing nothing produces nothing. By the time one reaches the 9 then depression and self deprecation sets in. However, things move forward even if we do not, so eventually she won't have 8 Swords around and a way out if she takes it, but 10 Swords through her back.
Really it is all about choice.
What choices we make and actions we take will always produce a counteractive effect.
Antidote for this? Well, it depends from the reading of course. It could be a temporary state of things or it could be that this person may need some counselling to help perhaps. Especially with the 9 of  Swords.
But of course I am talking about the card only here, the meanings and shades can be infinite depending on the reading. But the underlying energy is one of passivity, victim mode, fear and self loathing.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Reflections on Swords in the Negative: 7 of Swords - DECEIT

One of the trickiest Swords minors I find, most people see this card and think deceit and betrayal and yes it can be that but oh so much more too. And I found this out by seeing it come out in readings where the usual meaning really did not apply. Let's look at some of the most common keywords:

  • Sneaking
  • Deceiving
  • Stealing
  • Avoidance
  • Lying
  • Being alone
  • Betrayal

This card affects others in different ways. Looking at the mental state of the 7 of Swords we have someone that is highly intelligent but uses this as a tool to manipulate and deceive others. Depending on the reading if this is representing a person then it could be someone close that is cheating on you, has stolen from you or has not very good intentions towards you.  
In love this could be someone having an affair, doing something behind your back or a two sided personality.
In career it could be a partner deceiving you or a colleague bad mouthing you.
In yes or no questions it is always a NO.
This is someone that will avoid dealing with a problem and would rather run away than face it, even if it means others may be hurt or worse off because of their behaviour. As a person it could also represent someone self centered and egotistical. 
There is no pain or mental anguish here, except for the one that is inflicted by the 7 of Swords. It is an intentional, non depressive kind of pain. And they are very well aware of it. 
Counteracting a 7 of Swords situation would mean opening your eyes and see things for what they really are. If you think or feel something is not quite right, then it probably isn't. 
You would want to take action before this person runs away with the Swords, leaving you empty. It can be painful but in the end it is going to get rid of something that is negative. 
If you get this card as an outcome or it keeps coming out repeatedly and you are not sure why, I would suggest you draw more cards to get clarity. Some examples of what you could ask:

- What do I need to get rid of?
- Who is the 7 of Swords?
- How do I deal with the situation?
- What can help me with this?

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Reflections on Swords in the Negative: 10 of Swords - erm...F**k it...

I am saving my favourites for when I am really and truly "in the mood". Ha.
Image wise I love the Anna K Tarot, best 10 of Swords ever, as you can see the figure walking away from the Swords and the blood, he's wounded but the first time I saw this card I thought it looked like he was saying: sod it am going anwyay.

This card can be a mini (or not so mini) Tower moment. Let's look at this in terms of keywords, these I am penning down myself from the "feeling" and meaning of the card:

  • Breakdown (mental or literal)
  • Ending
  • Collapse
  • Anguish
  • Pain (again mental or physical)
  • Exhaustion
  • Hitting rock bottom
  • Restart
  • Self destruction (as in self harm or related self destructive behaviours)
Yes of course it is a 10 so there is a new beginning ahead, but what? And how? Since I am looking at these also from a psychological point of view, I'd say that this would be the darkest side of depression (as if it isn't dark enough), the point reached where "f**k it" could mean going in either direction: beginning or end.
I have seen this card come out to represent someone in spirit that passed by means of suicide (the client told me afterwards), and I would say that this is very much a turning point card. Since it cannot get any worse (really?) where do I go from here? Well the choice would be mine or yours to make. In a spread of course you would have to look at the surrounding cards for the whole story.
Drawing this card as an outcome for a love reading could be an ending or a complete (and not pleasant) rehaul. For career an ending and if you were to look at physical or health matters then this could be indicative of the person being overwhelmed and exhausted. But there are so many combinations that it is difficult to try and be general.

The 10 of Swords is telling you that hey, you know this pain? It ain't going to go away, Not yet. Not unless, like in the Anna K Tarot deck,  you pick yourself up, buy some bandages and move on. Or you'll bleed to death if you choose to stay on the floor.

Be the flame, not the moth.
Giacomo Casanova

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Priestess Tarot - A helpful Tarot spread

I met Louise many years ago (gosh) through TABI (Tarot Association of the British Isles). Over the years and thanks to that wonderful thing that is social media, I got to know her even better and see what a caring, wonderful person she is and also a very accurate and compassionate Tarot reader (yes I can confirm this as she has read for me too!). We finally met in person a couple of years ago for the UK Tarot conference and planning another one this year, yay!
Below is her contribution to this blog for me, I have enclosed the link to her website at the end of this blog post should you wish to know more. I am very grateful for her contribution, love ya Louise ;). Enjoy!

When It Hurts : What To Do About It.
Love & life can hurt when it heads south in spectacular fashion. Even if it were done quietly, it’ll hurt.  Situations ending or people leaving our lives often lead us to wonder what the heck happened. We often turn to friends & family to lend us some insight, someone to talk to, verify our thoughts with.
Often, Tarot Readers are approached and often we’re asked: Will X come back? Often, the answer back from the Tarot isn’t the one that people want to hear.
Asking the Tarot such a closed question often isn’t great. The Tarot for me is the tool used to explore feelings, emotions and personal thoughts. 
I asked the Tarot: I’m hurting. What can I do about it?

 Note how the question is phrased: I state what / who I am, then ask what can *I* do about it.  Not what can YOU do about ME feeling bad, but what can *I* do about it. The power is mine to wield, I just need some direction as what are woods & what are the trees, so I can find my path & myself again.
So, the spread I created for this was simple:

1/ Where am I now? 5 of Cups
2/ What negative aspect do I need to explore & heal? Major 4 - Emperor
3/ What positive aspect can I take forwards? Knight of Swords

Where Am I Now? 5 of Cups:  Well, the cards say you’ve had enough emotional nonsense, bereavement & emotional turmoil to do you for quite some time. There’s still hope, you’ve not exhausted all the options before you, but you’ve probably exhausted all the ones that appealed to you.
What negative aspects do I need to explore & heal? The Emperor. One of the strongest cardinal cards in the deck comes out to say: You need to reset your boundaries & work on your control factors. Either you or the significant other got too controlling or took the other for granted. As you can tell, it wasn’t wise but hindsight is 20/20. This is something within you that you need to address. Your Emperor came out and he wasn’t very nice. It’s time to round off his sharp edges a little. Well, okay, a lot!
What positive aspect can I take forwards? Knight of Swords.  The positive thing you can take forwards here is that you can give yourself a good talking to, sort your head out & get on with it. You won’t wallow in the 5 of Cups situation for too long & your Emperor will shrink back with this Knight giving him a piece of his mind. That will work only because the Emperor knows (in this case) that the Knight is right. If you were to swap these two around, you’d have a slightly different interpretation.
Conclusion: The three of these basically suggest that that you build a bridge away from the hurt by addressing the over-controlling aspect that was on display. It’s time to redress the communication balance whilst keeping the Emperor on a short leash.  In a relationship, there has to be two people & the Knight must ensure that both get chance to be heard & listened to.


Saturday, 17 September 2016

Reflections on Swords in the Negative - 3 of Swords: SORROW

At first glance, in most traditional decks, this card is represented by 3 swords piercing through a heart. The imagery is very direct, although I have picked a different image here (from the Wild Unknown deck) as to me it represents better the energy of the 3 of Swords,
Most people go "argh" when seeing this because, let's face it, it is painful. But I have always given it  a bit of a positive spin. It's a 3 and so it is a stage that will resolve itself and heal. In this image the pain is so tight, there is the need for release.
The sorrow felt from the 3 of Swords is sudden and painful, and it is not a cut finger or a bad fall. Like most Swords it is about internal hurt, mental anguish and heartache (literally).
Look how tight those bonds are, what are we afraid to release? What would happen if we let go? Well, we would heal. But not until we have used an entire box of plasters, tons of painkillers and used 10 boxes of tissues from crying.
Release is the key for this card. Release in order to regenerate. Think of when you cut yourself, you bleed right? As soon as the cut is made your wonderful blood is going into survival mode and starts sending its own soldiers to the wound, and it starts to coagulate. In order to then form a scab that will stop the bleeding. Think of the scab as a shield.
The tight bond that is keeping the pain inside needs to be released, in order to form a shield that will allow us to restore our energies and heal.
In terms of a mental state this could be impulsive, like someone not wanting to release the pain, hence hurting themselves even more. The start of a depressive state, mood swings. But it will be temporary.

"No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear."
(C.S Lewis)

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Reflections on Swords in the Negative - 5 of Swords - DEFEAT

Next card I am going to look at (I have decided I am not going to go in an orderly fashion, rules are meant to be broken...) is the 5 of Swords. The 5's in Tarot are notoriously "difficult", they are all various stages of conflict: Loss (Cups), Defeat (Swords), Misery (Pentacles), Aggression (Wands).
Keeping in mind that Swords are Air and that we look at conflict in the mind here, I always have found the 5 of Swords a bit of a difficult card.
The Lord of Defeat is a bit uncertain.
What to do? Are the Swords left, stolen or dropped?

Do I follow them? Kill them? Stab them in the back? Go off on my own merry way? Have they stabbed me in the back?
I find this card slightly neurotic. There is the aggressiveness of the main character, he does not trust people. But then he probably does not trust himself either.
This is the opposite of being depressed or self destructive. This is the want to fight and argue your way until you get the last word (or Sword) in. The mental confusion stems from not knowing which way to go and so just acting out of ego and anger.Not caring if you are acting honestly or dishonestly. You might get retaliation but hey, you got what you wanted right?
In readings (of course also depending on the other cards) it could point to a deceitful lover, a liar and a cheat. A partner in business that is perhaps being deceitful or stealing. A mugger or someone being aggressive.
This guy does not know what to do, stay or go, move or stay still. We know the 6 of Swords is then about moving forward but how do you get from this 5 to the 6?
Well, I tell you, you would have probably stolen the boat. But hey, you're getting on the other side right?
Oh, and be careful not to be so arrogant to let yourself be caught uh?

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Reflections on Swords in the Negative: 9 of Swords and clinical depression

So, what best to do on a cheerful sunny day than delve into the dark recesses of grief and pain.
Some keywords for the 9 of Swords:

- Stress
- Anxiety
- Despair
- Delusions
- Paranoia
- Anger issues
- Nastiness
- Mental Imbalance
- Depression
- Calculating and cold

Perhaps this is not a much touched on subject. At least from what I found while doing some research.Often it is said that many (or the majority of) Swords in a spread could signify that the person is going through untold amounts of stress or that there could be a mental imbalance.

Think of Air (the element of Swords) as being in a pressurised container. What would happen if there is no release valve? It blows up of course.
Obviously Swords embody both positive and negative qualities, but I am focusing on the negatives here. Someone presenting negative Swords aspects could be stressed, confused, almost neurotic, but also cold and often deceiving. By the way, in the Thoth deck, the 9 of Swords is known as "The Lord of Cruelty".
The following card, the 10 of Swords really isn't much better. While there is hope in the background, things cannot possibly be getting any worse.
In the 9 we can see someone starting a downward journey. Perhaps they have reached breaking point, perhaps they over think and have high anxiety. But there is no escape, unless this is recognised and addressed.
It could simply be realising and acknowledging that one needs help. And asking for it. Chances are that even with help, things will get worse before getting better. Charming eh?
We live in a culture of "I can do it". Where often recognising that one needs help is considered weak.
Let me tell you. It isn't.
The person emboding the 9 of Swords tends to internalise a lot, if not addressed though, see previous pressurised air example.
Acknowledging the 9 will bring forward a mini Tower experience in the form of the 10 of Swords.
A crisis, after the crisis, to solve the crisis.
What could be an antidote to the 9 in Tarot? I'd say perhaps the 3 of Swords. Emotional Healing. A long journey but possible.
Looking at the other suits, possibly all the 6's, moving forward after conflict and difficulties.
Recurring Swords cards in readings can signify underlying problems, very likely not addressed. Look for repeats and the surrounding cards. I know most readers do not generally read on health issues but, if a real red flag pops up, it could be the case for telling someone in a sensitive way to seek advice.
The 9 of Swords can also represent self-harm. The wish to mask unbearable pain with more pain. Often a very misunderstood (and dangerous) issue. ALL Swords cards in the right context can point to depression.
I would say that if you (or your client) get to the point of self-harm I strongly suggest to seek help and advice. Trust me, help is out there.

Also ask the Tarot for advice. You could, for example ask:
1) What is the main issue to address?
2) How do I address it?
3) What would help?
4) What action should I take
5) Advice

If you get the majority of Swords in the answers then you know it is internal and needs to be brought out and addressed.
And if you need outside help, or someone to talk to and are in the UK, the Samaritans are wonderful and you can call free on

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