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

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Knight Of Swords

I launched a thousand ships, you know
with steel shells and war to bring
with fifteen-inch guns, by fury borne
and with the sword; I live by it
I draw the sword; I die by it.

My ships becalmed, I draw the sword
Give the moon's-bow her due, in blood.

And steel masks my face, my life
One eye shines red; I walk one path
Through cloud, through stone; through laws and borders
I live the sword; I kill by it.

...And I'm the goddamn Batman.

Conway's vision of this card is ominous, even among Knights of Swords. Many of her figures are abstract, but this one's a shapeless pillar of steel, cloaked, face completely masked, its warships massed in the background. Yes, the seemingly calm sea made me think of Agamemnon, who sacrificed his daughter to Artemis because he wanted to make the seas carry him to Troy.

Knights of Swords do not do half measures; they do not do compromise; many do not do mercy. They do not prance or rear; they charge. They have singlemindedly directed their horse to do exactly what it wants to do (and if the horse is the ego, well...) They are probably obsessed with something or other and they do not give a flying fuck what you think.

They have a pretty strong concept of fairness, but you are not 100% likely to agree with them about it.

I'm pretty fond of the blighters, but it's best to stay out of their way if you're not in agreement with their aims. Can one take the reins from their hands, guide them or turn them aside? By all means, try it, but be ready for what you're getting into there.

Images of the Knight of Swords

From the Intuitive Tarot. It is possible that all Knights of Swords will remind me of Batman from now on.

If you know what the hell deck this is from, please tell me, because I haven't a clue; I saved it on a random googletrawl, while the site that hosted whatever text related to it was down for maintenance. The pose is very similar to that in the RWS: charging full tilt. What intrigued me was the blocky clouds above his head; it looks like he's cutting Europe into pieces, and that reminded me of Truce, that fantastic breakup song by the Dresden Dolls:
We can split Germany right down the middle,
You'd hate it there anyway -
- take Berlin and we'll call it even.

...But more of that when I write about The Tower.

Scapini is upfront about the downsides here, as a twisted horse tramples on the skulls of the dead.

When M was first thumbing through the Amano Tarot, he immediately fell for this card and the Queen of Swords because he thought they were the only people in the entire deck who looked like they were having any fun. One possible spin on this image; especially thinking of Agamemnon and becalmed seas, now it's putting me in mind of Amano's fantastic genderqueer pirate, Faris. Y/n?


Penny said...

hiya, the image 'this' links to might be from lo scarabeo, an Italian publisher. i'll try to find the exact deck.

thene said...

Thanks very much for letting me know that, Penny - I'll see if I can look at a copy of that deck sometime.

Penny said...

You are entirely welcome, thene. But. Lo scarabeo have at least 21 decks according to info from my Art Nouveau deck. The website is I couldn't find your particular Knight, - the artwork just looked like something they would publish.

Beat The Casino said...

Yes you talent :)