There are two popular interpretations of this Minor Arcana card. Naturally, they flat-out contradict each other. Which is a good thing. There’s no one right way to read Tarot, and no one right way to use it for writing.
Let’s look at the card first. The figure is probably a woman. She’s seated outside, on a stone bench, with the moon above her and the sea behind her. The sea is neither peaceful nor stormy—it’s rippled somewhere in between. And, oh yeah. She’s blindfolded and she’s balancing two swords by crossing her arms over her chest.
A lot depends on how you view that blindfold. One thing seems clear: she can remove it if she wants to. Her hands aren’t bound. There’s no reason she can’t put the swords down and untie that handkerchief. So why doesn’t she?
Is she willfully blinding herself to some painful situation? (Look at the way she seems to be protecting her heart.) Is she closing her eyes to two bad choices, each represented by one of those swords? Is that blindfold an emblem or her indecision? Is she paralyzed over this?
It’s a reasonable interpretation. We know that Swords (in this deck) represent the element of air, and therefore the mind. And the mind can get all caught up in itself. Indecision is one of many dark places it can take us.
But that’s not the way I see this card. I don’t think she covered her eyes to avoid seeing something or as a way of burying her head in the sand. Instead, I think it’s like one of the lessons that Obi-Wan taught Luke. (My young nieces have just discovered Star Wars. In a big way! There’s a lot of running through the house with light sabers going on, which is awesome.)
“Your eyes can deceive you. Don’t trust them.” I think that’s what’s going on here—and that’s more in line with the other popular interpretation.
This woman isn’t torn or indecisive. She put on that blindfold to avoid the distractions of her mind, to help turn her thoughts inward. To me, this is a card of meditation, of taming and balancing her thoughts the same way she’s taming and balancing those swords.
She may be honoring her intuition as well—hence the moon above her. And that fits well with the way Luke needs to ‘stretch out with his feelings’ and rely on his instincts.
How do you see this card? Does one of these two popular interpretations work for you? Does this card remind you of a particular fictional character—your own or someone else’s?
I don’t have a particular character in mind, but I associate it more with someone who’s in training—like Luke before he became a full-fledged Jedi—than with someone who has mastered meditation like Obi-Wan or Yoda. That’s partly because of the ripples still in the water, and partly because Twos come early in the suit. There’s a ways to go in Swords yet!
Let me know your thoughts. And if this card inspires a story, poem, or meta of your own, please leave a link in the comments.
Okay, we need a card for next week: The Emperor. (Back to the Major Arcana.)