Thursday, 15 June 2017

Gemini in the Minor Arcana: The Ten of Swords

The Ten of Swords, in the astrological correspondence system I follow, is linked to the Sun in Gemini – and to the final ten days in this sign.   The Sun brings out the creativity in Gemini, inspiring new ways of thinking, of acquiring information.  The Sun in Gemini radiates mutability and mental energy – it’s talkative, happily making connections and contacts that allow complete self-expression.  The downside of this is that it may become hard to concentrate of any one thing at a time, as it will be attracted to so many different things!

Ten of Swords (trimmed):
© Universal Waite Tarot
But how does this fit with the Ten of Swords? Again, as with the Eight and Nine of Swords, it’s not easy to see the astrological associations.  This card is often linked to the ending of a phase or stage, and with the Swords being the most challenging of the four suits, the ending is perhaps not easy.  I’ve heard this card called ‘the drama queen’ – that figure lying on the ground with ten swords in his back does have the touch of the melodramatic about it!  But whatever’s ending is ending because it needs to – the situation is untenable and needs to change. The figure lies face down because we don’t want to see that this change is needed, that we want to hold on to our illusions and not admit that things have to move on. This is where I see the connection with the Sun; dawn is breaking – it’s a new day, a new start.  The rising of the sun brings hope and optimism, helping us to let go of the illusions that all’s well with the status quo, and that we have an opportunity to start afresh.

Ten of Swords (trimmed):
© Shadowscapes Tarot
The Shadowscapes' version of this card gives us that same sense of 'melodrama'; as she falls, the ravens hover above and around her like vultures, waiting for death. Not very Sun-like! The very first time I saw this card, though, I saw her being swept upwards by the red cape-like swirl, as if to show that there's a way up and out of the apparent drama. What do you think?

Ten of Swords (trimmed):
© Thoth Tarot
In the Thoth Tarot, both the Sun and Moon in Gemini are linked to this card.  The card carries the word ‘ruin’, meaning that negative thoughts can have a devastating, destructive effect.  The Moon represents a fear of going insane – destructiveness in the extreme – while the Sun symbolizes the need to shine a light on those thoughts and fears. We need to bring them into the light of day in order to defeat them.

Shadowscapes Tarot created by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law and Barbara Moore, published by Llewellyn

Thoth Tarot created by Aleister Crowley, illustrated by Lady Frieda Harris. Published by US Games Systems Inc.

Universal Waite Tarot created by Mary Hanson-Roberts & Pamela Colman-Smith, published by US Games Systems, Inc.

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