Six of Swords

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Synthetic Meaning

            To achieve the equilibrium of the two ternaries[1], one spiritual and the other material, as well as the activity resulting from their polarization, the Six of Swords is represented entirely by six stylized swords, symbolizing, consequently, the every more subtle currents of the subconscious. They surround a flowering branch whose five petals of yellow color with a red flower rest on a white base. This signifies an attempt to bring mind into balance with the material world through a state of internal consciousness which has already evolved.

Analytic Meaning

            In a circle, the center is regarded as an abstract point, because it is only understood as the convergence of equal rays, while the circumference is visible and in contact with the exterior of the circle. It follows that the elements destined for the interior of the circle will be especially more subtle as they get closer to the center and all the more concrete when they are situated on the periphery.

            This is why the black swords signify the currents of mental activity, in the depths or on the surface of the subconscious, depending on whether they are on the interior or not.

            That which is described above essentially applies to the branch which occupies the center.

            The comparison of this branch with the one which is depicted at the center of the Four of Swords shows the work which is accomplished between that card and this one; this is more complete, contains elements less disparate, less elementary, such as the two yellow leaves of the Four of Swords and, on the other hand, the small black fruit, which represent the necessity of selection and of elimination. It is closer to the Cup, which indicates a less complete suppresion.

            But the most important thing is the white support beneath the petals. As the black color characterizes invisibility, that which is in obscurity, the white indicates that which cannot be seen because it is indistinguishable from its surroundings. Put more generally, the white light, as a synthesis of colors and a simple of spiritual purity or of higher states. This white support indicates, therefore, the orientation of the flowery elements towards a higher state by the support which they have been given.

            In the Four of Swords, the red blossom (blooming in material activities) is separated from the sevel yellow petals by a blue corolla, while in the Six of Swords, the petals are five in number and the corolla which separates them is red; psychicsm (blue), found necessary in the Four of Swords to permit the transition between the mental (yellow) and the blossom, disappears since a white support (of a higher order) is added to the task of development of the branch and allows direct contact between the mental (the blooming of the yellow petals) and the surge into matter symbolized by the red blossom. The flower on the card represents a psychic power, one that is internal but conscious of itself; the blossom indicates the effect of this power which is red, blue, or yellow.

            The red cut of the stem has the same significance as it does in the Four of Swords. 

            The four exterior flowers are the branch’s emanations which are manifested outwardly.

            The semi-circular swords have the same meaning as they do on the Four of Swords, as do the hilts and and handles.

Meanings As They Relate To The Three Planes

            MENTAL. Creative ideas, the conception of undertakings to pursue, implementation of innovative ideas.

            ANIMISTIC. Comforting, effective protection. Useful relationships among people.

            PHYSICAL. Gestation, maternity, with the hope of success. In the case of a business matter: balanced development. Harmony. Security.

            INVERTED. Mental disorders. Torments in business. One’s hopes diminished or lost An affinity for evil or disharmony.

*

            In its elementary sense, the Six of Swords indicates the mental activity of Man directed by him in order to bring about organizing and conciliating material forces.  

            [1] See “Generalities on the Numbers from 1 to 10,” no. 6.

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Five of Swords

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Synthetic Meaning

            By representing four stylized swords across which passes the accurate image of a large sword, flesh colored, the Five of Swords symbolizes breaking through the thick layer of the material 4 through forceful mental activity which draws its power from the vital energies and giving access to a state of being on a higher plane.

Analytic Meaning

            As indicated in the previous card, the “Self” was interior, and the Five of Swords manifests it on the exterior. In effect, the branch has disappeared and nothing remains but the four exterior flowers (now a little more open), indicating contibutions from the card, directed outwards and offering mitigations, hopes.

            The point of the sword, passing through the circle formed by the stylized swords, after having been enclosed in their interior, marks the transition from the quarternary plane to another plane. From a psychological point of view, it shows the phase where the Sword, redirecting its activity outward, takes on a clearer design by comparison with the exterior; in other words, the Five of Swords symbolizes an awareness, through Being, of its own individuality, through communication with the Universal.

            The blade and the hilt of the central sword, flesh-colored, indicating as in the Three of Swords, its activity and the fact that it is firmly grounded in the physical; the yellow guard shows that an intelligent Will presides over its action in the material world in order to direct it towards the spirit, and the red hilt indicates that the mental activity of the Five of Swords draws its reserves from an already-refined matter.

            The shape of the pommel and the swords in semicircle have the same meaning as they do in the Three of Swords, and the same meaning for the guards andhiltsas for the Two of Swords.

Meanings As They Relate To The Three Planes

            MENTAL. Willed, clear thought. Decision. Comprehensive understanding of events.

            ANIMISTIC. This card is less animistic, because it addresses the intellectual aspect of a psychic question. If it is a matter, for example, of a union, there will be a marriage based on reason and not out of impulse, because the activity of this card, coming as it does after the Four of Swords, implies an effort alongside a passivity which leads to a sacrifice of the animistic.

            PHYSICAL. On the road to success. On a path towards results. Power of action over accessions.

            INVERTED.  Obstinacy, heaviness, obstacle, because the point enters into the ground and finds itself stuck. Matters difficult to negotiate. Very serious halting.

*

            In its Elementary Sense, the Five of Cups represents the decision which Man makes to plough through the difficulties which are presented to him through his crystallization in the world of the elements.

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Four of Swords

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Synthetic Meaning

By enclosing within their oval a branch with with a complete set of elements (stem, leaves, buds, flower, etc.), the four stylized swords symbolize the constructive energy of 4, ordering and consolidating things in order to give them security in their future development; they are still enclosed, but the branch which represents them has been cut and is ready to use when the oval will be unwoven; in fact it will have disappeared with the split that takes place in the Five of Swords.

Analytic Meaning

            The number 4 indicates here the quarternary forces brought together, the “ego” is inside, its work, represented by the cut branch, all being ready for use, potentiated, and it will require the next card to be externalized.

            The central flower, with its blue corolla, its red pistol, its yellow petals and its flesh-colored twig, synthesizes the four elements, and, as it is in its budding state, shields them but also presents them ready to be be born.

            The two blue-and-yellow leaves are ramifications, the means of communication and expansion of these forces or fluids, they indicate a realization.

            The small yellow leaves are the beginnings of activity, they are folded and unite at their base to suggest the idea of an inchoate polarity, a potential of activity. The small black fruit above them indicates matter as it evolves, as well as the necessity of selection and elimination.

            The red interior of the cut twig represents the life current or the blood, the force of the physical plane.

            The significance of the swords in a semi-circle is the same as that for the Two and the Three of Swords, but one will note here, as well as on the following Sword cards, that at their junction above and below and midway, the blue and yellow parts of the swords are colored in blocks. This is to mark the fact that, together, the currents of activity represented by the swords have contact with the impersonal and represent a relaxing of strength, while still being distinct in their individual courses.

            This relaxation, always blue above and below, and yellow on the left and right, indicates that mental activity is developed in its spiritual form on the higher planes and in a physical form on the lower planes, while while being dressed in mentality in the work of the interior Self and in its contact with exterior forces (the “Self” is situated on the left side of the card, and the “Not Self” on the right side).

            The four exterior flowers, smaller on this card than they are on the preceding ones, represent dispersions caused by the animistic activity of construction. [?]

Meanings As They Relate To The Three Planes

            MENTAL. Fluid richness.

            ANIMISTIC. Feelings which are certain and deep, union without disturbance.

            PHYSICAL. Creation, organization with a great potential permitting a realization of a project, whatever it is. Matters very rich in spirituality.

            INVERTED.. If the flower is aimed downward, the card indicates grief, depression, sorrow, a feeling which tarnishes and persists.

*

            In its Elementary Sense, the Four of Swords represents joy,  the internal ardor of Man, created by effort and constructive activity.

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Three of Swords

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Synthetic Meaning

            The 3 indicates, by 2 + 1, the disjunction of two forces neutralized by the intervention of the dynamism of a different nature. The Three of Swords underscores this meaning by having a third sword with an exact, concrete form, flesh-colored, cross through the ellipse formed by the two stylized swords, and from which two yellow laurel branches emerge, thus indicating the will for overcoming inertia and for setting free pent-up forces, through action derived from the vitality of the physical world, and whose decisions and effects generate mental gains.

Analytic Meaning

            The successive cards of the suit of Swords are going to depict an action which is moving progressively towards a fullness. Already, as a result of the Two of Swords, the Three of Swords enters directly into activity through its central, concrete sword, disjoining the two stylized swords and creating a separation. This disjunction activates the polarity of the swords in semi-circle which had only been potential.

            The blade and the pommel of the central sword, flesh-colored, indicate its firmness in the physical world; its red hilt indicates that the state which it represents is still only barely material. The yellow hilt guard accentuates this idea by showing that this card must remain in a half-physical plane, there is a mental break between the instinctive life, designated by the red color, and the physical life, represented by the flesh color.

            The lotus-flower shape of the pommel, ending with a little ball, indicates that the will to succeed must find its basis in wisdom and that it will act in the physical world.

            The yellow laurel leaves crossing under the central sword show that achievement must be crowned by success, they are a physical support for activity; the affirmation of the noble purpose of this symbolized by the two white stems, a symbol of purity and showing honor to the active principle.

            The two swords in a half-circle have the same significance as in the Two of Swords; only the intervention of the yellow and red bars, above and below[1], differentiates them, as is the case with all the cards in the suite of Swords bearing a concrete sword, without making any changes to the meaning of the card.

            The same meaning applies equally to the four outer flowers, but with more force, as they increase with each number of the card.

Meanings As They Relate To The Three Planes

            MENTAL. Decision, cutting through one’s hesitations.

            ANIMISTIC. Emanation, enlightenment about one’s feelings, the clear perception of things.

            PHYSICAL. Support, a supply of energy. Clear and skillful progress in one’s affairs. Very good health.

            INVERTED. This card is interpreted as inverted when the point of the sword is directed downward. Directed upward, it indicates a conformation for every questioning of an orientation and assures that it is a good one because the sword point, directed upward, is using and receiving the currents.

            Downward, it implies a realization, it confirms that the things will go well, because thus directed, it activates matter.

            This card is never negative, except when the question has to do with some sickness, because the point aimed downwards, separating matter with effort, identifies the obstacle, the thing resisting, and thus a delay to healing.

*

            In its Elementary Sense, the Three of Swords represents a working of the active consciousness making determinations about specific actions.

[1]  Three, Five, Seven, Nine, because of the active power of the odd numbers; but Two, Four, and Six, due to the passivity of the even numbers.

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Two of Swords

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Synthetic Meaning

            In conformity with the significance of the number 2 which represents a balanced stability containing a potential gestation, the Two of Swords manifested, on the one hand, by the color black and the schematic shape of the swords as well as by their arrangement quaternaries, the complete and subtle work of the subconscious preparing an act of will, the primal element of all mental activity; on the other hand, the leafy diamond with three colors enclosed by the swords illustrates the possibilities of gestation.

Analytic Meaning

            By itself, the 2 is composed of two forces which, not manifesting by virtue of their composition, would leave the 2 inert, if they were not forced to develop, by virtue of the activity which is the province of the Sword.

            As a result of this activity, each unit of the 2 (the one passive, the other active) is reflected in the other, which is to say, that the active is charged with the passive and vice-versa.

            In concrete terms, one may say that the passive sword resists and the active sword penetrates; this results in a quaternary.

            The assets and liabilities alone are exteriorized and are indicated by the two half-circles crisscrossing the Two of Swords, while the second duality, due to the reflection, remaining internal, is represented by the two swords whose points are encased in sheathes.

            Generally, the quaternary represents an equilibrium in the deck of the material elements, but that which results fro the swords, that is, from primal forces, is a quaternary of principles, whereas the quaternary formed by the central blossoming  represents the balance of evolutionary forces embryonic in the number 2.

            This evolution is brought about by the fact that this quaternary doubles itself for form an octonary, that is, a higher equilibrium. All this shows that the potential gestation of the number 2 will evolve through the activities of the Sword towards the two equilibriums included among the 10 first numbers, and which are the 4 and the 8.

            The swords are, in general, represented in a schematic[2] manner to symbolize the characteristics and the factors of mental activity and not to underscore their concrete action. The currents symbolized by this design, by crossing each other constitute a softening within the spiritual and the material, within the I and the Not-I.

            This form is also meant to specify that their number does not signify a set of swords, as if on a panoply together; even less does the Two of Swords represent swords in a duel, but rather diverse impulses, different origins, which constitute an act of will.

            The black color with which they are drawn is the color of the Invisible, and this is to show that the act of will, which precedes mental action, bears within it something secret because it is self-activating. Its origins are not within our reach, we see their manifestation, but we are unaware of the profound forces behind them.

            The swords come from and end at the four corners of the card to indicate the universality of the currents entering into mental activity, and their ends are large to show the power and the mobility of the potential of the forces from which they emanate.

            The schematic design is also meant to indicate that all this aforementioned work for the formation of mental activity passes through the subconscious where it cannot yet have taken the exact forms which it will adopt in its ultimate manifestation.  

            The black and enlarged extremities of the swords are the guards representing defense and containment, through material actions or through intelligence, depending on whether they are red or yellow.

            The red and yellow bars are the forces which constitute the boundaries and the necessity of imposing limits in order to curb and regulate the mélange of currents created by the swords coming into contact.

            The internal functioning of the swords, blue at top and bottom, indicates that it is of a psychic order; the color yellow of the perpendicular sections which, thereby, correspond to an interior job, introspective and assimilative, is of a mental order.

            The figure between the swords, has a central white core from which emanates a yellow and red cross encased in another blue cross. The double bloom of its leaves in the four directions and the meeting of their points in the form of a diamond or an oval represents a synthesis of evolutionary forms which take mental action in the course of its development in the following cards. The seven black stripes on each leaf indicate that this activity must have as its purpose a successful realization.

            The four flowers on the exterior represent the connections of this card with the four planes or the four states, and they emerge as seeds ready to sprout. If you examine the process of their formation, you will note that they are composed of a corolla of 5 blue petals and a red bud enclosed in a yellow chalice.

            As the number 5 indicates a transition, the 5 petals define a radiance onto a plane different from that of the Two of Swords. This transition gives rise to a birth on the physical plane, as is indicated by the red color of the bud, protected by an intelligent activity.

Meanings As They Relate To The Three Planes

MENTAL. Static balance. The absence of activity.

            ANIMISTIC. Wealth of potential feelings.

            PHYSICAL. consumption without efficacy, restraint, increased weight.  Plethoric condition, slowed circulation.

            INVERTED. This card, being symmetrical, cannot be read as a reversal.

*

            In its Elementary Sense, the Two of Swords represents the halting of a concrete action in view of further enrichment intended to bring this action to fruition.  

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Ace of Swords

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Synthetic Meaning

            The Sword signifies Power, the Will.

            Conforming to the analogous meaning of unity, the Ace of Swords synthesizes the significance of the nine Sword cards of which it is the origin.

            The mighty blue sword, held upright and with its point lost in the crown, signifies the spiritual, evolutionary impetus of Man towards that The Above, expressing also that which is best in it, and affirming it with a word or an action whose manifestation is indicated by the red flower surmounting the sword’s point.

            The result of this state is reveled to Man by the flourish enveloping the point of the sword, that is, by the crown on the mental plane, and by the palm branch, a symbol of sacrifice, on the psychic plane, and by the oak leaf, a symbol of triumphant energy, on the physical plane.

Analytic Meaning

            The Sword, which signifies a projection, has been selected to make a mental act concrete. Its shape, in a straight line, suggests the idea of a progression which thought extends with its point to infinity. The lightning, thrown forth from the steel of the sword when we wield it, symbolizes the sudden inspiration which finds a way, assisted by the point which draws on spiritual currents.

            It is a right hand which holds the sword, the right signifying will and command. The wrist is turned to the left (with a meaning opposite to that of the hand which holds the Ace of Batons); activity, indicated by the Sword, being complex and having to assume a passive stance, that is to say, of matter, in order to prepare itself.  As active intelligence is not able to become manifest without an intermediary, showing the back of the hand indicates that the interior must remain hidden for the same reason: the manifestation of force, symbolized by the Sword, only becomes visible in its external manifestation, and its action must be indirect and reigned in by passivity.

            The Ace of Swords, formed by two distinct planes, exhibits a spiritual significance in its upper part and a material significance in its lower part.

            Held in a hand, this sword shows that it is still up to the man to seek out spiritual victory, as this is not able to be obtained in any way except through relentless efforts; this sword has the shape of a blue triangle, the search for victories to be achieved through spirituality and balanced by the ternary.

            The arm is in a circular sleeve with piping, the colors of flesh and blue, indicating the act in a universe of physical vitality, traversed by psychic waves.

            The red cuff, bordered with blue, indicates that the union of the two planes–the psychic and the material–is necessary for action.

            The red hilt, with its yellow hilt-guard and pommel, shows that that the will of Man, supported and protected by his intelligence, is exercised in material actions.

            The falling flames of different colors show the effective role of energy in the material world, as they represent the fertile germs from which all things are impregnated. They also indicate that the victories which come forth from the energy are never ego-based and that they always spread forth as beneficial rain. The variety of colors shows that their action extends into all three states.

            The flowers of the crown, three red and two blue, specify that its domain is both the spiritual and material planes with, however, more power in the later, as that is where efforts must be exercised.

            On the rim of the crown are depicted nine ornamental shapes; this set of nine, too complicated to be worked out here, represents the work of perfection which Being, in its radiance arises from the inspiration of the Divine, must perform in order to attain material quintessence, represented by the points of the crown, truncated diamonds.

            On the left side, the branch of the laurel, with its flesh-colored stem, its yellow and blue leaves, its yellow and blue leaves, and the blue flower which issues from it, reinforce the meaning that victory cannot find its origin anywhere except in on the spiritual plane and it will only be acquired by force in its three aspects: mental, psychic, and vital.

            On the right side, the palm, yellow, blue, and flesh-colored, also issues from a blue flower, and indicates an analogous effort, with the difference that victory will come to an idea, without physical effect, but through sacrifice.

Meanings As They Relate To The Three Planes

            This Ace leads to one conclusion: whatever the difficulties, there will be the realization of something, since it is the synthesis of nine other activities and because of that the sword accomplishes its task with inflexibility and without deviating from it.

            MENTAL. Intellectual clarification, precision and clarity. The Ace of Swords strengthens all intellectual power, because it is issued by the mental will of the Being.

            ANIMISTIC. The absence of sentimentality. This card emphasizes faith, mysticism, or firm convictions.

            PHYSICAL. Health. Affirmation of complete progress. Assures that matters have a secure foundation. Repair of nerve impulses.

            INVERTED [1]: Mental laziness. Letting things go. Lack of energy, weakness. In certain caes: violence. Sudden cessation of life. Murder.

*

            In sum, in its Elemental Sense, the Ace of Swords represents the active force which Man deploys firmly and with understanding to achieve the triumph of his ideal.

[1.] The basic quality of the Minor Arcana suit of Swords is not altered when the card is inverted, but its forces are then aimed, as a more or less general rule, towards a negative meaning.

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General Observations About The Numbers 1 – 10 And Modalities By Which The Symbolism Of The Numbers Has Been Derived For Their Adaptation To the Minor Arcana

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1

            The Ace represents unity considered as a departure and as a synthesis summarizing the meanings of the 9 consecutive cards.

2

            The number 2 is the symbol of passivity, of polarity, and of the elements of gestation. Through passive polarity, it is without effect, but through gestation, it is the material of all things that develop.

3

            The number 3, through 2 + 1, introduces an activity in the passivity of 2, which gives directions to the gestation.

4.

            The number 4, produced by 2 x 2, contains a crystallization and, as the intermediary between 3 and 5, a transition. It represents therefore a relative state of stability and, consequently, things which are ordered and tend towards a consolidation of themselves, towards security.

5.

            The number 5 is a number of transition, the passage from one plane to another, because it is composed of 4 + 1, 4 being a complete number. to which is added a unity, which is to say, a beginning. The base 4, which is built up in order to engender the following number, gives it a sense of multiplicity and diffusion through influence.

6

            The number 6 represents a harmonious balance, as it is formed from 3 + 3, or two ternaries which are in opposition to each other, and from 2 x 3, implying a similarity between these two ternaries, and, consequently, their equilibrium. In its elementary sense, it signifies a latent power, a potential, which is to say, reserve on which we can draw.

7

            The number 7 = 6 + 1, indicate, through its union, force, action which uses the power contained in 6. It puts it in play, while maintaining its harmony, so that it indicates successful completion. It is a number of synthetic achievement.

8

            The number 8 = 4 + 4 brings unity to the combination of the cross and the square, which is to say, the stability of the material plane with the interior life of the divine plane. This is not an abstract equilibrium, as that of 6, but one which marks an end, because it has no need of being animated through other currents. It is the symbol of infinity, as it is formed of two adjacent circles which, tracing in one direction, develop each other indefinitely.

9

            The number 9 represents the orientation of the abstract towards the concrete. The previous 8 numbers indicate material animated by the divine; when taking 9, which is 8 + 1, one obliges 8, which is perfect, to take on one unit more, which is to say, an entree to action, thus to describe a new cycle,  one which implies a new penetration of force into matter, like the one which is accomplished when the universe, virtually conceived, is realized in matter to make its experience evolutionary.

10

            While 1 synthesized in their principles the numbers from which it began, 10 condenses them within itself, because it participates in each of them through its 0 which connects them in potential and directs them to a new cycle by the 1 which accompanies the 0. It is, furthermore, the number of reason and of calm, since, when it is with 9, the abstract was making contact with the concrete, by 10, it is now in equilibrium in the physical, since 10 = 2 x 5.

Conclusion

            The Minor cards stop at the number 10 because if they were to go beyond this number and arrive at 12, which is an outcome, they would no longer have a link to the physical and they would remain inaccessible to human understanding.

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