Tarot Talk


page of swords

(Page of Swords Tarot Card from the artist Ciro Marchetti http://www.ciromarchetti.com/)**


Let’s cement what we learned last month when we talked about the King of Swords, by examining another Tarot “royal” of the suit of Swords, the Page of Swords. This will be the first time we talk about the Pages, so first a review of some basic information.

A Tarot deck has 78 cards. There are 22 Major Arcana cards, with numbers from 0 to 21; the Majors usually deal with broader and more far-reaching life experience issues, archetypes that are easy for us to identify with and connect with at some point in our lives. There are 56 Minor Arcana cards that are customarily grouped into four categories or suits that represent the four elements (sometimes called “Pips” or “Pip Cards”), with numbers from Ace to 10; the Minors usually deal with day-to-day issues.

The Court Cards are a part of the Minor Arcana that act as a representation of the family unit. Individually, the members of the Tarot Court represent particular personality traits, traits of people, places and events in our lives. These cards can also tell us about our own personality, and how it is perceived by others. I think of my Tarot cards as people, with each card having an individual personality. This is particularly appropriate for the Court Cards, as they are the most human of all the cards in a Tarot deck. Even the illustrations for the Court Cards usually show humans in the majority of Tarot decks. Generally speaking, there are three different ways that Court Cards can speak to us in a spread: they can indicate personality traits of our Seeker or someone affecting the Seeker; they can refer to actual individuals in the Seeker’s life, including the Seeker; and they can refer to the general aura or atmosphere of a place or situation.

Court cards offer us these descriptions of personality traits and of different ways of being or acting, so we can make use of these styles or avoid them, whichever is appropriate. Of course, the trick is to know which message is being given in a particular spread! One way to become more confident in determining this is to learn about the Court Cards themselves, and how the personality of each Court Card interacts with its particular suit. Many times if you break a particular Court Card down to its rank and correspondences, you will understand its message.

Instead of numbers, Court Cards have rank. The early creators and users of the Tarot lived within a culture that was layered according to rank. It makes sense, then, that the Tarot Court shows a progression from low to high. We don’t live in a feudal culture any more, however our culture has its own set of rules and ranks. The Tarot Court can help us to understand these roles: parent, teacher, manager, laborer, scientist, priest, and many others.

The lowest ranking Court Card is the Page, usually seen as the messenger or intern or apprentice (sometimes male and sometimes female, depending on the deck) who is still learning of life and living, but who is also good at dealing with the unexpected. Being the lowest in rank does not necessarily mean being the least important; something we should remember when thinking about our Page of Swords. Next comes the Knight, the representation of strong, focused and even excessive manifestations of his suit.

Both the Queen and the King represent mature adults. The Queen manifests her suit in a feminine or yin or inner way, and the King manifests his suit in a masculine or yang or outer way. This manifestation does not necessarily correspond to gender; a man can be represented by a Tarot Queen if he has a strong inner focus, and a woman can be represented by a Tarot King if she projects a strong sense of authority.

Since we are talking about the Page of Swords today, we already know that our Page will manifest her suit through an inquiring mind that enjoys challenges, learning, and experiencing new things. Our Page is not afraid of the fact that she is learning how to wield her intellect, and her willingness to learn will make her powerful some day.

The suit of Swords corresponds with the element of Air. The element of Air corresponds with truth, clarity, and our capacity to analyze or apply logic. Air is considered as hot and wet, and it both separates or expands, and adapts to the energies around it. The Swords cards indicate our mental state, the beliefs we have, and actions we take in response to effects around us. A Sword has two edges, a perfect metaphor for this suit, which can represent attacking or defending, logic or aggression.

The element of Air also represents the intelligence that clears away the fog of ignorance and allows us to understand what we are dealing with. Air is the medium of our voices, and it supports communications and sounds of all kinds, not without danger for words and communications are double-edged swords that can heal or hurt. Air allows both expression (out from within us) and hearing (in from outside of us) to happen, and the job of our Page of Swords is to encourage us to learn and to find new ways to manifest our ideas.

Air is not the only element that corresponds to our Page. In the Tarot Court, the suit of the card has an elemental correspondence, and the rank of the card has an elemental correspondence. Pages correspond with Earth, Knights correspond with either Air or Fire (depending on the deck), Queens correspond with Water, and Kings correspond with either Air or Fire (depending on the deck). Since we are talking about a Page today, we are also talking about the element of Earth.

In its natural state, the element of Earth is cool and dry. When amassed Earth has weight; it is able to bind together or shape the other elements. For example, Water and Earth bind together to make mud, and a lake is shaped by the Earth that supports it. Earth energies are tangible, stable, and practical, and they are slow to change.

Earth is about the physical, earthly world, our physical bodies, and everything we need in order to maintain those physical bodies, including health and exercise. The element of Earth represents fertility, prosperity, and the wealth that can bring both physical shelter and mental and emotional pleasure. Tarot cards connected to the element of Earth can show a possible outcome or end result of our efforts, the product of our labors; they can give information about material manifestations of all kinds. These cards can represent discipline and diligence, and an interest in quality rather than quantity, but they can also indicate the influence of greed and avarice, and the lack of an ability to access or be aware of resources.

All Pages represent the element of Earth, as well as the element corresponding to their suit; this means that our Page of Swords presents an Earthy version of Air. Earth and Air share no traits; Air is active, kinetic and has the power to create and destroy, and Earth is passive, conservative and stable; the two elements can weaken each other (and that can be positive or negative, depending on the situation and the other cards in the spread).

Like the other cards of the Tarot, Court Cards have astrological correspondences. Our Page of Swords corresponds with the season of Winter and the signs of Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces. Capricorn is stable, hard-working and practical, telling us our Page will diligently strive to attain her goal despite distractions or obstacles. Aquarius is an unconventional, progressive, idealistic and eccentric sign, telling us our Page will be able to look at the big picture despite her inexperience and will strive to attain the highest good for the group. Pisces is a sign of feelings of all kinds, strong intuition and a charming personality, telling us our Page cares about others more than herself (although Pisces deals with duality, too; something to remember).

Because they are Minor Arcana cards, Court Cards also correspond with a sephira on the Tree of Life. The Pages correspond with the sephira of Malkuth, along with the Tens of the Minor Arcana and the element of Earth. Malkuth is the bottom sephira on the Tree, corresponding with our physical world, and opposite of Kether at the top of the Tree, corresponding with the purest form of Deity, mostly unknowable by physical world beings. Malkuth is located at the bottom of the Pillar of Balance and is receptive in nature; it receives emanations from all the other sephiroth on the Tree. This sephira and the Tree itself show us that the physical world is created by traveling downward through the sephiroth of the Tree, and these two sephiroth can be seen as one representation of “as above, so below; as below, so above.”

The Page of Swords is a messenger and a student; she is alert and clever, daring and audacious. She likes mental challenges, puzzles, conspiracy theories, gossip and secrets, and she loves to be challenged. She can use her sharp wit as a weapon, and can be a bit too secretive at times. She can be an adrenaline addict, but she is very proficient when working with information, data, or communication.

Pages are often associated with the Ace of their suit; the Ace of Swords tells of the possibility to experience intellectual potential, the birth of ideas and concepts, and that feeling that occurs when lightning strikes and a new idea is formed. There is no guarantee the ideas will manifest in a good way, or manifest at all, but with a bit of luck, good things could happen. The same thing can be said of our Page of Swords; she strives to create these situations, or to bring you the message that these situations are important.

The Thoth Page of Swords is known as the Princess of Swords. She is seen as firm and aggressive, with practical wisdom and dexterity when handling complicated affairs. The Princess of Swords wears a medusa-headed helmet, and she indeed has the power to turn things to stone by calming the volatile or manifesting ideas.

The Page of Swords of the Shadowscapes Tarot embodies logic, honesty and truthfulness. Her mind is agile and analytical, and she readily assesses each situation and stretches her sense of Self in order to make room for new ideas.

The Llewellyn Welsh Page of Swords tells of secrets, hidden matters, plots and conspiracies, and the need for caution. Is there a reason to suspect foul play? Is a spy accessing private information? This Page can warn us of such things, or be the culprit who creates them.

The Legacy of the Divine Page of Swords is dressed in light blue and wears a hat adorned with white feathers and the alchemic symbol for the element of Air. This Page offers a pair of daggers, one silver and one gold, tools of honesty and logic, precision and discernment. Marchetti’s Gateway to the Divine Tarot companion book offers an interesting comparison between the Page of Swords and the Two of Swords. Both cards offer crossed Swords, and both cards can indicate balance and compromise, or duplicity and indecision.

Yes, these card descriptions are varied, but they all show that the Page of Swords is adaptable and light on her feet. She would make a great lawyer, an effective diplomat, and a formidable spy or secret agent. Her enjoyment of learning and stretching the limits means she would excel in risk-taking opportunities, such as sports and law enforcement as well as business and finance. The Page of Swords encourages us to connect with our own Inner Child, and to remember that while that relationship may be difficult or troubled at times, looking within without pre-judgment and with an enthusiastic acceptance of what we find, could be just the ticket!

**This year we will be featuring the art of Ciro Marchetti http://www.ciromarchetti.com/ as part of Tarot Talk.  You can view his work and Decks at http://www.ciromarchetti.com/.