I wrote during the 2016 Gemini Full Moon about how Sleeping Beauty can relate to the Swords Suit. At the Gemini New Moon of 2017, I’d thought I’d revisit the topic.
The most virtuous dimension of Swords/Air is Integrity. All the other suits are redeemed by it. The Swords themselves are burden by it. This burden creates a shadow of sado-machochist illusions. When you *know* you are right, you can be cold, cruel and unforgiving. Or, you project those qualities inward accepting the *cold hard facts* as an inescapable reality. Are you being maleficent or beautiful; chaotic or harmonious?
Maleficent is an agent of evil aka darkness aka chaos. Aurora, the Morning Star aka Venus aka Beauty, is an agent of light, order, and harmony. These are the two paths of Swords.
Ace of Swords:
All Aces are blessings. The Sword is a symbol of clarified Truth and Integrity–a new philosophy. Reversed, it hints at denial and delusion.
Beauty is born and a hex initiated. A promise for the future and an intention to prevent the inevitable. Remember: truth will out regardless of intentions, wake up!
Two of Swords:
A choice. A conflict between opposing sides.
Will the vain Queen gracefully accept her role in this world as an uninvited guest or will she conspire to preserve her entitlement delusion? Will Beauty be blinded by romantic ideals or make practical choices? Do you believe you are entitled to a kingdom without embodying a harmonious ideal to inspire the people?
Right side up, the card suggests a blind choice. This appears to be Air’s comfort zone since it is emotionless. Beauty was unhappy in her choice for duty which allowed her to be cursed, suspending her in time. However, Maleficent went to the reverse side–the more chaotic side–and consciously strategized her first move. She acted on her initial ace. She intents to exact revenge on harmonious beauty for her perceived slight.
Three of Swords:
In short, Truth Hurts.
Maleficent’s actions cause mourning to the kingdom. Aurora is heartbroken when she learns she *cannot* marry the handsome prince she loved at first sight due to her arranged marriage (integrity).
Reversed, the Truth Heals. When Maleficent cannot stop the inevitable, the kingdom recovers and becomes more abundant.
Four of Swords:
This card refers to the curse itself. Beauty is in a state of suspended animation while the Queen is thriving on borrowed time. This is similar to Snow White with her Step Mother and Narnia with the White Witch. “Buying Time” is a great phrase to associate with this card.
When Time catches up, the shadow self will be brought down while the ones that maintained their integrity will be abundantly rewarded. Nevertheless, the card refers to a period of self-protection. Are you protecting your truth or lies?
Reversed, this is the True Love Kiss. The Awakening.
Five of Swords:
The ultimate card of Sado-Masochism. Fives are always difficult. There is no escaping reality in Fives. The element will be compromised. With Swords, there will be a winner and a loser. Do you enjoying winning? Do you enjoy being petty? Do you avoid conflict?
The right side up is the more dominate, direct expression of this card. This is when Maleficent tricks Aurora into cursing herself. It is consciously and actively forcing someone to do something that is against their own interest for personal gain. The querent can, also, be allowing oneself to be tricked into a losing situation.
Reversed, I have read conflicting interpretations, but I personally see it similar to the Two of Swords–a difficult choice, but finding the middle ground. The Judgement of Solomon and Sophie’s Choice come to mind. It is a plea for moderation and relates to the Hierophant and Temperance which I wrote about here.
Six of Swords:
Sailor Moon, which I often post about, corresponds to Sleeping Beauty. It is made explicit in both anime series. The most interesting point being when Neo-Queen Serenity (the future incarnation of Sailor Moon) puts herself in a crystal cocoon allowing everyone else to fight for her. There was nothing she could do until the others met her in the center of the labyrinth so she made the choice to suspend herself to actively heal and preserve her strength for when the time has come to be of use.
I associate this card with doing what you have to to get by. This may be a series of choices that are neither good nor bad but necessary. It is a difficult time because any false move can be disastrous or life-threatening. This is the three kind-hearted fairies preserving the kingdom for Aurora’s awakening. This is the Sailor Guardians protecting the planet for Serenity. The everyday example would be someone using substances to get through the day. This is a fair and valid action when necessary, but can easily become a problem when left unchecked.
Which brings me to the reversed, this is letting emotions get in the way of sound judgement–delusions trumping truth. This is when that glass of wine to unwind becomes a bottle, or two. This is Maleficent luxuriating in her vanity fueling the Prince’s determination to break the curse which I’m sure is her opposite intention.
Seven of Swords:
Seven is a lot like six, but more sustainable. This isn’t about fixing a leak before the ship sinks, or survival mode; it is risk and strategy. What needs to be done to push the plot forward.
The three fairies release the Prince. It is sneaky, but necessary.
Reversed, this is Maleficent’s last stand. Maleficent transforms into a dragon which is a symbol of primal, chaotic energy. It is mismanaged Kundalini energy which is brought down by the Ace of Truth. Her plotting could not be sustained; therefore , it is overpowered. Swords loose their power when they have no integrity. It is the backbone of the suit. The scheme is unsustainable.
Eight of Swords:
The Illusion of being bound. Beauty was never going to stay asleep forever. She was destined to awaken. But the awareness of reality is lost when you’re waist deep in thorns, especially, when going through the turmoil and pain is the only choice. You can get caught up in “if only.” There is only right here, right now with the integrity you hold dear.
This is true for the Prince and the Sailor Guardians. They are proud to fight for their Princess/Future Queen. This is the reversed meaning. It is realizing that all the integrity that has been cultivated was to step into one’s power and defend one’s values–to fight for Love and Justice.
Nine of Swords:
Nine of Swords also relates to Beauty’s sleep but a different dimension. Remember Beauty’s choice back at Two? Will she choose blindly or practically? She choose to be practical and remain in her integrity. She then allowed herself to fall victim to the illusion of chaos.
In reality, the fairy spell does not (usually) play itself out in a literal coma. It is a period of choicelessness. From the moment Beauty was victimized in the Compromise of Five, she was without choice and at the mercy of those around her–her nemesis, her guardians, her beloved. Life is not dreamless and this victimization can torment the mind. This is the card of PTSD. The choices we make or the illusions we fall victim to impact us and usually not until after the fact when the decks are about to be cleared for a new journey. The querent is awake, but in pain over what is now known.
Upright or Reversed, this card is painful because you are integrating a series of choices which were hard to make in the first place. The querent is tormented by their naiveté. Upright is is more mental where reversed, the depression is more physically dominate. It is no surprise this point of consciousness is ignored in the narrative completely.
Looking back to the original Briar Rose tale, and similar stories, this card relates to the Lovers. I explain this association here, here, and here. In short, the Lovers orginally represented the choice between duty and devotion as an act of individuation. This is an extremely painful experience and explains the rational fear of devotional love. At a time where love-based partnership was a genuine threat to social standing, stepping out of the protection of family could radically change your life for the worse. You can become a pariah. Love outside of marriage was forbidden and marriage was not based on love.
The kind-hearted and compassionate fairies made Beauty and her kingdom’s sleep dreamless because we inituivitly understand that the amount of time she would be under the spell without any movement would drive any mundane human into depression or madness fueled by shame and regret.
My favorite archetype for this card would be Miss Havisham from Great Expectations choosing to freeze herself in time because the pain of coping with the way her plans have unfolded are too unbearable to integrate. All Nines relate to integration. (You can read on the numerology on 9 via Britney Spears here.)
Ten of Swords:
The card is usually depicted as a man laying down in a dark desert with ten swords sticking out of his back. The scene is violent and bloody. It reminds me of the Ides of March when Julius Caesar was assassinated which relates to the Full Moon and the 13th (or 15th) day. This is interesting because a) the Full Moon represents the Harvest b) the 13th also represents when the Knights Templar were assassinated. What fitting associations (which remind me of the Death card which you can read about here)!
The choices you make will serve you in the end. Maleficent’s choice to lack integrity killed her where Aurora’s saved her and her kingdom. Caesar was an accomplished military leader and political reformer which lead him to a series of choices that led to his demise.
Caesar was titled dictator in perpetuity which is a false title to begin with; this entire suit so far has painfully expressed why that is. Time can only be suspended when no choices are being made. To be a dictator is to make all the choices which is to set time. It is no coincidence that our modern calendar was created by this man.
The situation with Caesar and the Senate became stagnant and intolerable over time since neither side would budge. This caused chaotic forces to dominate the course of action. Conspiracies were made, shadows gathered, the harvest was ready for reaping.
Before his death, Caesar was suffering from dizzy spells–a mental/air/swords storm–and his wife suffered from foreboding nightmares–Nine of Swords–which were both seen as signs of grave danger. Brutus, who is now infamously understood as a Judas archetype, was the only one that convinced him to attend the meeting. Caesar listened to the voice that validated the truth he wanted rather than the signs of what was. His integrity was at odds with the Roman Republic’s which had already been corrupted and bastardized. His death assured the Republic would not reform or recover, assuring its fall into discord.
Julius Caesar was stabbed 71 times. Only one was fatal. The first coward exposed him by ripping his toga creating a vulnerability in Caesar which destabilized him. He died mainly from blood loss. In the end, he was left alone bleeding to death for an obscene amount time (sound/look familiar? *hint*hint*) while the Senate fled and the commoners remain hidden in their homes. Three slaves took pity on him. They collected his body and brought him home. A new order was on the horizon.
Now this is a long tangent away from Sleeping Beauty, but it is obviously so relevant. Reversed, this card relates to the benefits of holding out for integrity’s sake. Beauty remains hidden when chaos reigns, but when all is said in done, the resurrection will take place. The Lovers card is invoked and a Heaven on Earth is possible.
Page of Swords:
Pages represent the unripe qualities of the suit. It is the bridge between the Ace and Queen. They are also the Air element of the Court Cards so Page of Swords is in its most exalted position here. It thrives on ideals. It is the research phase, the planning period, the uninitiated monk, the novice solider. It craves experiences and knowledge. They are the idealist.
This is Aurora falling in love with the Prince at first sight before she understands her dharma, karma, and fate. This is Usagi/Sailor Moon discovering a talking cat. This card captures a moment in time with pure curiosity and is associated with The Fool for this reason. This intoxicating curiosity starts a new course which has untold consequences.
Reversed, the idealism becomes corrupted. A spoiled child. A petty brat. A precocious cynicism. It’s thinking you can win before seeing the whole picture. It’s Maleficent’s vanity causing her to act out.
Knight of Swords:
Knights represent the passion of the suit. It is a call to mature and individuate. In Swords, the knight is trying to master its expression of integrity. It is a double-edged sword and takes quite some skill to master. Air in Fire is quick to act and often slips into impulsivity.
Aurora was able to master this by choosing duty over love. The Prince did so by overcoming the chaotic energy of his own passions–lust, love, anger–to defeat the primal self and awaken his Divine Feminine.
Reversed, the card emphasizes the Fire influences of the card which validates unchecked violent. The integrity is lost. Words become weapons and are often insincere.
Queen of Swords:
Queens relate to the emotional realm. The embodied Divine Feminine of the suit. They are the Being and Allowing qualities. What would it mean to be in your integrity? How can you allow your integrity to hold space?
I always think of this card as allowing sadness to exist in your life. Melancholy is a natural attitude for Queen of Swords since she knows better than anyone the toll of ruthless compassion. It takes wisdom, experience and maturity to master this quality of being. It is extreme realism void of toxic cynicism. It correspondences to Justice and Virgo (more info on that here).
Reversed, the card is overburdened by doubt. It is cruel. It is cynical. It is hyperbolic. It is Maleficent cursing a new born babe out of spite. Negative emotions dominate decision-making.
King of Swords:
The King of Swords is interested in using his integrity with purpose. This is the Caesar wanting to reform the Republic. Kings correspond to order, management, control. In Swords, this manifests as strategy and morality. This is a man playing chess. He is a great organizer and absolute in his opinion. But experience has gifted him the wisdom to discern and bend to the realities of life. He is private. He is strict. He is solemn. He strikes when the time is right. This is Walt Disney delaying the production of Sleeping Beauty until the perfect voice actress was discovered.
Reversed, the king becomes merciless, ruthless, inhumane. It is separating ideals from humanity. Order becomes oppressive instead of up-lifting. Micromanaging external structures to avoid internal strife. This is Caesar being over-zealous/unreasonable in his reformations. This is King Arthur allowing his brutality to dominate him.
In conclusion, the choices you make shape your experiences. They create your karmic path. Choosing to be in harmony with your integrity will always serve you regardless of the illusions of grandeur that await you if you compromise. Integrity is the only weapon against false promises and delusional thinking. When you don’t see a choice that serves your morality, it is best to resist, to wait, to bide time. Timing is everything.