For this sketch I spent some time meditating on the energy behind this card. In the Rider Waite deck it shows a man hard at work, bent over a large pentacle that he is engraving. Seven other pentacles that he has already completed hang around him. You also see in the background the walls of a distant town. Normally I associate this card with hard work, diligence, skill and the rewards that come from it.
However there’s another side to it that I wanted to show in my sketch. This card has reminded me from time to time of an artist friend who goes through long periods of withdrawal from society in order to dedicate herself to her work. She can spend days in her studio, barely seeing anyone else, working away well into the early hours. She becomes single mindedly focused on her project, neglects her friends and family all for the sake of whatever project she is working on.
In my sketch I wanted to show this side of it. The work has become bigger than the craftsman, who is alone, all he can see is the work before him and his own face reflected in it.
In The Garden Of Earthly Delights
A woman is shown within a flowering, verdant, garden. All of her material needs are met, she wants for nothing. But her eyes are closed and there’s no way out of her garden. Has material success come at the cost of freedom?
You’ve overcome the emotional hurdles you’ve had to jump, have gotten in touch with your inner self, faced your fears and are able to face the world with an open heart and compassion. You radiate wholeness, happiness, and abundance. One thing remains…to come down off this pinnacle and put it all into practice in the real world. You have much to give and are capable of living a life of love .
I couldn’t really see anything other than the traditional image of this card, but felt it should be darker. The swords crossing and protecting the heart were important too. Because I’ve often felt that self protection is an important element in this card.
She’s sitting in front of a sea of emotion but doesn’t dare look. She’s at a stalemate between the rational and the emotional. She can either dive into the sea or cut out her heart with the swords and move forward into that Swords Energy of thinking, mental processes, rationality, logic.
Swords Energy resides in the head and can give clarity, truth, fair judgements, good decisions. But thought patterns determine our emotions and if we don’t allow and nurture that heart energy (cups) then we can easily get stuck in negative thought-patterns, wrong judgements, coldness, cruelty etc.
The Queen’s cool demeanor is maintained by a mask covering her face. She holds her sword in front of her hiding half her face. The background shows a clear blue sky with white clouds racing.
Swords are associated with air and therefore with thought processes, rationality, logic, mental abilities etc. As the Queen of this suit I imagine her to be cold and unemotional but fair and just. She doesn’t show emotions and lives behind a mask of coldness. She can be ruthless, but also fair and will protect you if she’s on your side. She let’s her sword do the talking. She is blunt and to the point and is not concerned with diplomacy or treading carefully around someone’s feelings. Cuts to the point. Brutally honest.
I also have the sense that The Queen of Swords knows what suffering is all about. She’s been there many times and lived to tell the tale. But she’s is no drama queen. You’ll never hear her complaining, never see her shed a tear, never find her raising her voice in anger. She’s too calm and collected for any of that.
A Blast Of Cold Air
Ace Of Swords – Breath Of Life
Forgive me if I’ve gone a bit Eye of Sauron here. When I closed my eyes and tuned into today’s card my initial feelings were of a blast of fresh air, being blown by some unseen force. The words breath of life came to mind and I was able to tune into this sense of life force like a breeze blowing against my skin and through me so I both felt this wave of air and was part of it.
The eye indicates clear vision, a clear mind, the ability to see beyond your present circumstances free of emotional hang-ups, physical ailments.
Other words that came to mind were: decisiveness, clarity, impartiality, the beginning, consciousness. My felt sense of The Ace of Swords is coldness, freshness, cleanness, like the air at the top of a snowy mountain, being very focussed and having no distractions.
A few notes on The Breath Of Life:
1. Pneuma (an ancient Greek word for Breath) is the form of circulating air necessary for the systemic functioning of vital organs. It is the material that sustains consciousness in a body. It mediates between the heart (seat of consciousness) and the brain.
2. In Stoic philosophy Pneuma (the breath of life) is the generative principle that organizes both the individual and the cosmos.
3. “Breath of Life,” is a song from the The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, sung in an Elvish language.
4. In cranial osteopathy and craniosacral therapy, the breath of life is seen as an expression of health in the human body producing various rhythms and motions that the therapist uses to assess the state of overall health.
5. Here’s a quote from The Breath of Life by Florence and The Machines:
I was looking for a breath of a life
For a little touch of heavenly light
But all the choirs in my head sang no oh oh oh
The first word that came to mind for today’s sketch was creativity. I found myself drawn to particular colours which I then realised corresponded with chakras and really got carried away with the repetitive swirling pattern outlining the body. This is a creativity that requires and results in a state of wholeness in mind, body and soul. This particular drawing indicates that today I was more concerned with the realm of physical, emotional and spiritual health than earthly comforts (also associated with the pentacles)