No matter how thin you cut a coin, it still has two sides.
Hello and welcome to TaoCraft Short Sip: Tarot contemplation for your day in the time it takes to sip from your coffee.
Today the emphasis is on short. As in a short week. I don’t want to do half-assed readings for you. I want to do the best Tarot reading I can for you be it here on the blog and podcast or be it in a private individual session. Usually I straight up take a couple of weeks off around this time of year. This year, I thought I could fit a little Tarot work in and around other things, but it isn’t quite working out that way. Like my new favorite internet meme says, I don’t have ducks, I don’t have rows, I have squirrels and they are hosting a rave. Long story short, E-mail Tarot readings are open, but the blog, podcast and social media will be on a short hiatus from now until June 27, 2022 and again over the weekend of July 4. After that it is right back to the usual squirrel rave playlist.
With that announcement out of my system, let’s get to today’s card, the two of swords.
Swords are associated with the mind, intellect and the element of air. They are a symbol of power and authority, society and culture too. Swords were the weapons of war for a broad swath of human history. If we take a more contemporary, relational point of view of the suit of swords they can symbolize our relationship with authority, and with the bigger definitions of society; your nationality, your ethnicity, your religion, your political affiliation. Sometimes swords carry a thread of Hierophant or Pope type energy. Social conventions are a minor background energy today.
More often than not, Tarot is intensely personal. It isn’t often that a spirit or energy message connects to society at large. Today’s card, however, is reminding us that we are never not connected to it. We are never not connected to anything. We are never not connected to everything.
The two aspects of this card are interesting. Two cards vary in theme from suit to suit. Two of pentacles is the essence of balance and has a similar vibe to Temperance in the major arcana. Two of cups is about committed one to one emotion, marriage and long term relationships. Two of wands is about watching, hope and preparation within an individual. The two of swords speaks to mental state, things like indecision, being of two minds about something, or somehow in an unwinnable situation with equal good and bad consequences…something that cuts like a double edged sword as the saying goes
In her book Magical Tarot, Mystical Tao, Diane Morgan interprets the two of swords as mystical unity.
However sharp or dull the edges of a sword may be, they are still a part of the same sword. Even if you split a sword down the middle, you get more edges, each connected to its mate.
We are three dimensional beings. There is no one side to anything. As strongly as the two of pentacles points a dynamic balancing dualities, the two of swords points to an inescapable unity. No matter how thin you slice a coin it always has two sides. You can’t deny the existence of the sword’s other edge, the coin’s other side – or your many sides either. Sometimes you just have to choose which edge you use, which side of the coin to show, and which facet of you to that you use to interface with the rest of culture or or your larger social groups. Whatever side you choose to show, the other sides of you, even the sides you may not like so much, still exist.
It is a dangerous thing to ignore one side of sword when all the edges apply.
One of those edges is feeling like it is useless to choose or stop caring about important decisions. Remember…whatever sad, angry, terrifying thing makes you want to give up, you are equally connected to happy, kind, supportive, comfortable things. Out there, somewhere in the universe, in there somewhere on a bone deep molecular level, there is a connection to love and support. You are star stuff, and many people love stars.
The edges may cut, but the center connects.
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For “Sunday Turnover” we turn the reading process around a little. Instead of picking the card that is right for you, as with the YouChoose interactive readings, this time I choose that card and you choose the meaning that most resonates with you.
Today’s card: Two of Swords
Classically it symbolizes a logical indecision, being “of two minds about something. I personally like Diane Morgan’s interpretation of “mystical unity.” The two, while it is related to balance, it also hints at dichotomy. Many cards, like the eight of swords or the seven of cups sometimes suggest using intuition and following your heart when logic and reason fail. The same is true here, especially on cards that follow Pamela Smith’s depiction of a blindfolded figure. The blindfold suggest a reliance on internal insight, intuition, the mysterious or divine. Either way, the two of swords suggests a need for decision, a way to decide, and an element of trust.
Key ideas for the Two of Swords :
Indecision, of two minds
Reliance on intuition and the mysterious
Mystical unity, connection to the esoteric as much as the physical
Discord between heart and mind
Time to decide – at a standstill because of indecision
Proper use of power (Ted Andrews)
As with the images on the cards, the trick in Tarot’s benefit is to apply it, not just memorize it.
The card showing in a reading validates any feelings of indecision that brought you to the reading. It can spur you to mental action in letting you know that it is time to decide, not to put it off. If logic doesn’t provide answers right now, look to intuition and vice versa
Swords symbolize the element of air. They can denote action. Historically they are sometimes associated with negative things because swords were at one time the primary weapon of war. It would be like trying to find spiritual guidance from a card with a machine gun on it.
Today, the energy is lying with the air, mentality and intellect side of the card. A classic meaning for the card is being of two minds about something. Logic and reason are – or at least should be – our first go-to for making major life decisions. Sometimes, however, intellect fails.
Emotion seldom makes the best decision. But neither does cold hard logic and intellect when it is used in isolation, with no emotion or compassion at all.
The figure on the card is blindfolded. That signals the indecision that is part of the card’s meaning, while it also hints that following emotion or intuition might seem like a blind leap of irrational faith to the outside observer. Only the person with their hands on the swords, the person who knows both their logical rationale.
The figure on the card is also seated in front of water, the classic symbol for emotions, wisdom and intuition that we so often see on cards from the suit of cups. That’s not surprising, because people are more than one thing. People are complex. Ideas and experiences have a great deal of overlap as do the card’s symbolism and meanings. Water – emotion and heart – has the person’s back so to speak.
When logic is blinded, heart and compassion supports. When you can’t see the answer, resting in a place of compassion is enough.
Try this if you can. I’m guessing that professional readers do this all the time. I do. If you are a Tarot fan, a comparative study of card meanings is a satisfying deep dive.
In the two of swords is today’s case in point. Every reference gives a range of meanings or keywords. As always, use your intuition. I like to take the top level meaning that stands out to instinct and most captures my attention whenever I do one of these comparisons.
Diane Morgan in Magical Tarot, Mystical Tao is one of my favorites with “mystical unity.” Ellen Dugan, in the Witches Tarot points out conflict or incongruities between heart and mind. Ted Andrews, in Animal Wise Tarot, points out the balancing of heart and mind for “right use of power.” In the same vein as this proper use of power, Thom Pham includes impartiality in his Heart of Stars Tarot. In my mind this connects to all the other interpretations in that it hints at disengaging both heart and mind and bringing impartiality to difficult decisions where indecision otherwise reigns.
Although they all have different points of view, artistic styles, themes and philosophical backgrounds, none of the interpretations conflict or are wide outliers. They all fall on a spectrum of meaning and energy. Tarot cards are far more than one meaning. That’s why intuition is important in readings, coequal with memorizing card meanings. Each card has an entire sliding scale spectrum of meanings, connotations and emotions. Memorization isn’t enough. If you think of the card in terms of visual light, then learning Tarot is like learning all the colors of 78 rainbows. Mental effort isn’t enough.
The Two of Swords is the perfect card for today. It shows us the unity along a spectrum that multiple tarot readers can have. They may dial into one color or another, but we all dial into the same spectrum of energy and beauty.
The card reminds us of mind and heart, intellect and intuition, balanced in mystical unity to give us wise, impartial decisions and lead us to the right use of power.
I bring every bit of knowledge and professionalism that I have to everything I write and every reading that I do. I got my first deck, Carson & James’ Medicine Cards, in 1991. To celebrate, seven card Tarot readings by email are $1 for each year of care reading experience until September 20, 2021 when it returns to the usual $40 (why that day? It’s the last full day of summer. I have other stuff planned for the equinox and after.) Get ’em while they are summer hot!
Of the different meanings for the Two of Swords, “of two minds” comes to mind. A lot of times when we think of that, it means that two options are equal, and there is no obvious, logical, good way to decide between the two. There is six of one and half dozen of the other as they saying goes.
So what do you do when you are of two minds and both options are equal: equally bad that is? What do you do when you don’t know what to do at all? What do you do when you are of two minds and neither one of them knows what to do?
It’s ok not to know. It’s ok for some things to be unknowable. And it’s ok to try and find out. If you don’t know, ask. If you don’t know, learn. If you don’t know, welcome to the universe. It is like that sometimes. We haven’t figured it all out, and that’s OK too.
“I’d rather have questions that can’t be answered than answers that can’t be questioned.”
Striking a balance requires that decisions be made.
It amazes me that humans have figured out how to teach robots to maintain physical balance. It is a surprisingly complex thing that the human brain does effortlessly, easily. Test the theory: stand on one foot. You don’t have to lift one foot very high off of the floor, but there you stand, on half the support ( more or less, I dunno, I’m not an engineer) that you had a moment ago.
The emotional, mental and spiritual balance that Tarot deals with is no less intricate. Temperance and the number two cards of the four minor suits all speak to different aspects of balance. The Two of Swords is classically associated with indecision, or being of two minds about something. Sometimes that is exactly the energy I get from it in a reading. Other times it is something different, something more. Diane Morgan interprets the card as “mystical unity.” This in a deeply essential way defines balance. A lever isn’t a lever without the fulcrum. Balance isn’t balance without the center spot where the opposites connect, around which balance does its adaptive dance.
For there to be balance, decisions must be made.
Swords are associated with air and intellect. Swords are associated with action. Think and choose.
Choose your balance point. What calls to you today? The balance of magic and mundane? Spiritual versus intellectual? Intellectual versus emotional? Choose where you want to be, and then make choices about what needs changed or shifted to achieve the balance-point that you want. OR change your balance point to suit the conditions that exists. Or some combination thereof.
In the earlier example, you had to choose which foot to stand on. Then you had to choose how high to lift the other one off the floor. You chose when to put it down. Your body automatically made an untold number of tiny muscle adjustments to make it all happen.
Choose, act and find balance. That balance, that being in harmony with the state of being that you happen to find yourself in is indeed a mystical unity where the mundane unites with the divine.
Clear your mind just for a moment. No one is asking you to stop thinking about things, or worrying about whatever – you can get back to that in a minute. But for now, just for a few seconds, set all of that aside. Take a deep breath, watch the first few seconds of the video and pick a card, left, center or right. Pause the video if you need more time, then restart to see the reveal. No need to over-think it. Just pick whatever card seems like the right one for you after that deep breath. Here we go.
Left: Six of Wands. A wreath is one of the most common symbols on this card, at least in RWS based decks. That circle shape reminds me of oneness, wholeness, a certain universality to everything. The six of wands is a harbinger of a peaceful time following some sort of conflict or challenge. Peace and war are, by definition, mutually exclusive. The reasons behind them are not necessarily so. What is the reason? Why? Why do you seek peace? Why do you act against your enemy? Love can, in some circumstances be the impetus for both. This reminds me of a favorite quote, attributed to G.K. Chesterson “A true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.” When hate is in front of you, a warriors stance is an act of love. Remember that the next time you see protesters chanting ‘no justice, no peace’ It isn’t a threat. It is prerequisite. Wands have to do with the inner world. The six of wands and the world today leave us with much to ponder.
Center: Two of Cups. All of the cards this week hint at looking for unity. This is the obvious one. This is THE card for everyone on the lookout for that special someone, symbolizing unity of purpose, a long term stable relationship. If you are in one…rejoice. Appreciate them, thank them. Now is a good time to pamper and treat them. The cozy intimate feeling that will come with the kindness will be nice for both of you. Love is love. Celebrate it anytime. No need to wait for anniversaries or February ‘hallmark holidays.
If you are still looking and hoping, think of biggest of big pictures. Look at the growing moon. You and your special someone are under this same big sky. When you connect to the universe, you connect with your soulmate, too, because they are an intimate and inseparable part of the greater whole just as you are.
Right: Two of Swords. Like the Six of Wands, the Two of Swords has a fairly consistent interpretation across various decks. In this case the interpretation by Diane Morgan, author of one of my all time favorite Tarot books “Magical Tarot, Mystical Tao” jumps to mind because it is both atypical and in keeping with the thread of unity that touches the other cards. In fact, she describes it as “mystical unity.” Most resources view the card as symbolizing indecision, or choosing between equal “six of one, half dozen of the other” options. Ellen Dugan puts it as choosing between heart and mind, emotions and logic. “Convergence” comes to mind here. If you find the overlap, or if you find the common background and greater unity behind the apparent duality, the need for deciding goes away. If you feel stuck between two equal choices, look for “both” or “all of the above” options. Failing that, why are you holding on to either one? Maybe the answer is ‘neither one.’
Finding the underpinning is important for everyone this week it seems. Looking to the bigger unifying view celebrates our human bonds, clarifies our choices, and asks us which way we face when we take a warriors stance.
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The Two of Swords is an interesting card. I’ve seen a wide variety of interpretations for it, all of which ring true at one time or another. The classic interpretation is to be of two minds about something, or to have difficulty choosing between two nearly identical options. Diane Morgan broadens that duality beyond the mundane to include the spirit realm. Here, the two of swords is more about identifying and connecting to subtly different realms of being rather than subtly different physical realm choices. Ted Andrews uses elements of both. He connects the physical and spiritual, but points out the choices we make as we integrate the spiritual into daily living. He puts it in terms of right use of power.
As I drew the card, I got a strong mental impression of the Colossus of Rhodes, the ancient wonder, a statue so large that is believed to have stood with a foot on either side of the entrance to the port at Rhodes in ancient Greece. Today, Brea Fisher spook of “a foot in two worlds” in her ever lovely and wise @quanyingongfu feed on Instagram. The interplay between the physical world and the spiritual world is asking for our attention.
We each live with a foot in both worlds You experience the solid, physical realm all of the time, but also have continuous access to the ethereal realm of thoughts, emotions, imagination and intuition.
The two of swords is reminding us to make wise choices about which foot we use and how. My attention is particularly drawn to the esoteric energy side of this and the old adage “Just because you can doesn’t mean that you should.”
Those who work with energy professionally bear the greatest responsibility in that respect. I don’t feel pushed to say that because I’ve seen anyone being irresponsible. “Psychic” scams have been around forever. Today, I feel pulled to mention this out of deep respect for everyone out here doing it right.
Today the Two of Swords is a bow of respect for those who act out of compassion. Yes, we advertise and post and tell everyone what we do so those who need us can find us. We ask for fair payment or donation in exchange for our expertise and skilled services, but we do so out of compassion for ourselves and our families. We communicate not out of ego but to build trust. Beware the shifting and shady. The trustworthy write the rules, expectations and boundaries for all to see.
Also a bow of respect to those who speak their truth but have the strength to speak their truth but then let go. Ego is needy in this line of work. A wise person can let others about their life and make all the mistakes they need to find wisdom for themselves.
There are many excellent teachers out there and I am so grateful to have found the words of so many of them: Ted Andrews, Carl Sagan & Ann Druyan, Christopher Penczak, Scott Cunningham, Brea Fisher, Nick Gracenin, Jose Johnson and many more.
We walk through life with a foot in two worlds. Sometimes physical circumstances carry the greater weight and demands our attention, as it has with the pandemic. But to keep moving forward, to keep living, the spiritual foot must move forward and have its day before the physical realm demands its due again.
My hunch is we are in a brief liminal time when things are shifting. The moment is twilight quiet, the eye of the hurricane. Personal power and inner spirituality must be used rightly. This isn’t the time for bluster and show, not a time for group-think, blind positivism or outward dogma. We’ve survived for the moment, so now is the time to turn quietly inward give our hearts and souls their turn even as we prepare to return our attention to the practical in times to come.
Pause the video to give yourself a chance to choose a card. You choose the pace. You can take a breath, relax and pick a card at your leasure, or just work from pure impulse and pick the first one that grabs your attention. The daily meditation style reading for each card is below.
Left: Four of Pentacles. Keep your eyes open for a pleasant surprise. Sometimes this card is associated with stinginess or is a reminder to mind your budget, but this has a much more playful energy today. Treat yourself a little. Today is a good day to enjoy any little sutprises that may cross your path. Keep an eye out for small treats on level of a favorite movie on tv, a song on the radio, finding a lost earring or something of that magnitude. You don’t have to win the lottery for something to brighten your day.
Center: Ace of Pentacles. The ace is the essence of the suit, in this case the physical realm and the element of earth. Today is about indulging the senses, like playing with putty, watching (or doing) acrylic pour art, light that scented candle. Today is a a good day to beautify your space and enjoy it.
Right: Two of Swords. This card is one of those that seems to have two tracks of meaning. One very classic interpretation has to do with a “this or that” or “of two minds” kind of decision. Of course, the boilerplate advice is to choose the path that offers the most balance over the long run. I tend to lean toward the other line of meaning, both for today and in general. Swords are associated with the element of air and the intellect. Two cards are in general concerned with balance, yes, but in this case it is the balance between thought and action, subtle and blunt, inner world and outer world, the spiritual and the physical. Today it feels strongly pointed toward the balance of our physical and spiritual being. Today is a good day to find the magic in the mundane.