Card of the Day: Two of Swords

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Today’s card is the Two of Swords from the Happy Tarot.

This is one of the least ‘happy’ cards in the Happy Tarot at first glance.  The card depicts a IMG_0454blindfolded woman in a chair, carrying two crossed swords.  It’s the middle of the night and only a crescent moon casts a dim and hazy light over the scene.  She sits with her back to a rushing river.

Her entire posture seems to be one of a stubborn refusal to acknowledge or accept something.  It could be that she’s trying to keep out of a deeply emotional situation that she’s feeling overwhelmed by (which could be what the river represents).

She holds those swords closely over her chest, almost like she’s struggling to balance them or brandishing them at unseen enemies.  Cats look on with curiosity and perhaps a little wariness.

Looking more closely at the card you can see that she isn’t tied to her spot, she could at any point, set down the swords and remove her own blindfold.  This card isn’t one about being held down by external forces.  It’s talking about being in a situation and choosing not to deal with what’s going on.

The other thing to consider is the way she’s got the swords crossed over her heart.  Literally protecting it with weapons.  I think it’s important to recognize that this card isn’t saying that the woman has made a bad or unreasonable choice here.  Sometimes situations force you to cut yourself off from things or people that are harmful to you, and it’s always okay to take steps to take care of yourself.  The message here is to be careful of closing yourself off completely to everything.  The more we close off from everyone and everything around us, the further away we get from those things that can help us.  It’s kind of (pardon the semi-pun) a double-edged sword (get it, two of swords? Okay, I’m done, I promise).

Ignoring a problem isn’t going to solve it in most cases.  It’s okay to take a break and gather yourself before you try to face down a giant beast, but try not to let it get the best of you so you don’t end up blindfolded on a chair.

Card of the Day: Six of Swords

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Today’s card is the Six of Swords from the Prisma Visions Tarot

This is a beautiful depiction of the Six of Swords.  It shows a bridge of swords, spanning an endless dark IMG_0706chasm.  The bridge is crafted from the blades of swords.  It’s midwinter and everything is covered in snow, the wind is blowing hard, and it’s deep in the middle of a moonless and cloudy night.  The only light comes from the stars.  Crossing a bridge of swords under these conditions would be extremely dangerous.

This card represents a difficult journey, a transition from something bad enough to make you prepared to flee even when the travelling is through such bad conditions.

This card traditionally represents a listless and depressed person or period of life.  In the RWS card a man struggles to propel a boatful of swords along.  Here we’re missing the boat, but a long difficult trek can be imagined through the snow.

The butterflies give us hope though.  Not only are they completely out of place in the dead of winter, indicating that the warmth of summer (and thereby a relief from the depressing winter) must be somewhere near, they also symbolize transformation.

There are few more potent and powerful examples of transformation that that of a caterpillar becoming a butterfly.  They wrap themselves up, dissolve into goo, and then become an entirely new creature!

Another interesting note for this card, the bending tree on the right side of the card almost looks like it has the face of an old man.  He looks tired and grumpy as he looks back into the past.  The butterflies are looking to the future, towards summer, and towards a way out of this slump.

When you see the Six of Swords take hold of hope.  It’s showing you that the end is in sight.  You can find a way out, but you do have some hard travelling to get there.

Card of the Day: Three of Swords

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Today’s card is the Three of Swords, and this particular representation is from the Welcome to Night Vale Tarot deck by Hannah Holloway.  I’m a huge WTNV fan so when I heard they were coming out with a tarot deck, I jumped at it.  I bought it literally the moment I knew it existed.  I hadn’t even seen the card designs and I didn’t know the artists.  I just HAD to have it.

I haven’t actually done any readings with it yet, because although it is visually lovely, it didn’t come with ANY interpretation at all.  And even though I love a deck that forces me to rely on my intuition, there are more than a few cards that depict scenes and characters I can’t immediately recognize, which is a challenge.  My initial thought was that I would just try to work with it and it would tell me more about itself.  But, I’m a librarian, and I couldn’t leave well enough alone.  I did some searching and found that Hannah posted a ‘Little White Book’ to accompany the cards on her tumblr.

img_0543So then, we come to the Three of Swords, represented here by the Trophy that Cecil wanted to give to Carlos in the ending episodes of season one.  The three of swords is a tough card to see: it stands for heartbreak, loneliness, and betrayal.  And the Trophy represents that so well here.  Carlos doesn’t show up in that episode because he’s busy trying to save Night Vale, which is a recurring theme for Carlos and Cecil.  Cecil’s emotions really run the gamut of those three aspects of this card during the episode.  He is lonely and so he invites Carlos to be on the show, then he feels betrayed that Carlos has gone off to do something else, and finally he feels heartbreak when he hears about what has become of his beloved scientist.  Adding one more layer to this card is the fact that the trophy is also a cup, the suit of water and of emotions.  These three are pretty powerful emotions.

Cecil’s three-fold experience is a fantastic way to look at this card.  There’s no getting around that this is a painful card.  The more traditional Rider-Waite-Smith interpretation shows a heart being literally stabbed by three swords.  Sounds pretty bleak, doesn’t it?  One thing to consider, especially with the Night Vale Three of Swords, was that everything turned out all right, even when it seemed so very dire.  So when you see the Three of Swords, ask yourself if it’s just the way you’re looking at the situation.  Is there a different way to approach the situation?  Perhaps by stepping outside of yourself and getting a fresh pair of eyes on it, you might be able to see a way through the pain of the situation.

Maybe you too can end up watching the lights above the Arby’s with your favorite scientist.  Apologies for anyone not familiar with WTNV.  If you’ve not heard this wonderfully quirky, racially diverse, queer-affirming podcast, I urge you to go and give it a try.  It’s terrifyingly delightful.