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(For a list of all card articles, open March 2008 on the sidebar).

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Five Of Swords

one is under, one is over
one has power, one has none
one is secret, one is naked
one is stooping, one is tall.

one has all, and one has nothing
one is dark, and one is bright
one is cloud, and one is ocean
one will rise, and one will fall.

The Five of Swords - Air in the sands of time - is, maybe, the place the deck comes closest to Geburah. It's a card that brings up the bad stuff you have to do to keep the good stuff going; it's no more avoidable than the last card I pulled, the Three of Cups. The Five of Swords is a tough lover; it says yes, live, endure, but know that there are hard parts. And above all, know about power. Know how to have enough of it to scrape by.

The Intuitive card makes that pretty explicit, but it does one thing that Fives of Swords usually don't; it focuses on the loser. The victor who's holding all the knives is completely cowled. (Which could be an indication that both are the same person, Jung-stylee). It's a different take on the usual situation, which shows the defeated only in the background, but I think the same undercurrent exists; they'll be back, because they are still alive. (And not even angry. Hit me.) I've never seen blood on a Five of Swords, just defeat and bruises - and this isn't the Six of Wands; if you win, no one's going to throw you a parade.

Above all, this card is a reminder that life is a zero-sum game; you will find places where a situation cannot be resolved in a way that makes everyone happy. There will be losses, yieldings, ugly wins, graceful surrenders to sorrow, and beatings that no one wants to talk about. But you can get up, and go down to the sea - and from there you can pick up the sword and go back to the fight, or you can keep walking.

Images of the Five of Swords:

Here's the Intuitive card - honestly? I'm half-tempted to call D/s here. There's no sign of harm done, only of power and implicit threats that don't seem to fit any possible real situation, only a figurative one. Clearly I just have a dirty mind. There's also the clear hint that the barely-there background character - someone completely out of focus and dehumanised - isn't real, but merely projected.

The Scapini is similarly focused on the person at the bottom, but there's no one on top of the pyramid. Envy, maybe?

The RWS pic, just so's you know.

Comparison, the Osho Zen image, makes that whole power dynamic vivid; how can the bamboo compare to the old treetrunk? It can't. But they can both win; that's ecosystems for you.

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