Tarot Card Comparisons: The Thoth Prince of Swords & The Babylonian Tarot-Prince of Arrows- Erra
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Thoth Tarot & comparisons

Tarot Card Comparisons: The Thoth Prince of Swords & The Babylonian Tarot-Prince of Arrows- Erra

The Tarot of EliThe Thoth-THE PRINCE OF SWORDS:

In the zodiac, the Prince of Swords rules from 21 degrees Capricorn to 20 degrees Aquarius.
This card represents Air of Air, Specific Air of Primal Air, (personal consciousness/mind, linked with Primal conscious/mind) which shows an active mind that swirls all over the place. The three fairy like beings pulling this chariot are symbols of the capricious nature of the mind which can be pulled into any direction.

The Prince of Swords has both the long sharp sword of rational that invokes and creates, while in the left hand he carries the sickle of destruction that immediately destroys what is created.
Since this is a card of the Mind, there is significant Moon (Yesod) symbolism here which brings its own illusion.
To reiterate, the Princes are the personified Elemental Forces, of those 4 elements that are brought into balance in Tiphareth.

THE PRINCE OF SWORDS, is mental element of ideas that can be constructive or destructive.
The Prince of Swords is also called the Chariot of the Winds, Prince and emperor of the Sylphs and Sylphides.
Zodiacally, he is the last Decan of Capricorn and the first two Decans of Aquarius. 
He is Specific Air of Primal Air. The Element Air, is Mind, so this one  is like the mind itself, which can love thought alone, and not care what it does.
The Golden dawn card, had two fairies pulling the chariot but in the, Thoth Tarot card of the Prince of Swords. these fairies are shown as spheres of light in front of  the Chariot, accompanied by three winged children who are pulling it. Implying that, this chariot may be pulled capriciously and/or mischievously in any direction, imitating the Mind itself. Also there is significant Yesod-Moon symbolism here to suggest this is a card of mental illusion.

In the right hand, the Prince is swinging the Sword of invocation and creation and in his left is a sickle which immediately destroys that which is created. With child like innocence, the Prince of Swords wields his Sword of Geburah. The logical mental processes of the Prince has reduced the Air (mind) into geometric symbols that represent no real plan, but are demonstrative power of undefined purpose.

In Mythology, the Prince of Swords represents Tyr, the  Norse god of battle and also Mars, the Roman god of war. Both of these personifications, represent destruction, pestilence, daring and death.The Prince of Swords is representative of the Archetypical Tyrant- Personality who is charismatic, dominating and so impersonal that they have a great power to harm. Sharp wit but assertive to a fault, this card cautions the Querent about over -rationalization.

The Babylonian Tarot-Prince of Arrows/ Erra,
depicts a son of Ellil, who was also the god of hunting, war, pestilence and scorching heat of the sun. As with most of the deities of the Mesopotamian region, each dynasty seemed to rename the god of war, therefore, he was also known as Nergal and Engidudu ("lord who prowls at night).  His other name of Erragal or Erakal ("Erra the Great") were considered phonetic pronunciation of Nergal.  Many scholars think that the Greek Herakles
originated from this Mesopotamian deity. As time passed, Erra and Nergal merged into one deity, losing their individual characteristics.
Nergal, was considered the husband of Ereshkigal, Goddess of the Underworld and therefore Erra/Nergal was considered a god of the underworld.

The story of Nergal and Ereshkigal, states that a great banquet was held by the gods, but since Ereshkigal could never leave the underworld, a messenger, Namtar was allowed to be sent in her place. When Namtar arrived, all the gods stood in respect to Namtar's mistress... all except Nergal. The gods promptly ordered Nergal to go down into the underworld, to be punished for his disrespect to the Goddess of Death/Ereshkigal. Ea, the "top god", advised Nergal to eat and drink nothing that was offered, nor to fall under the spell of Ereshkigal's charms, of which there were many. 

Her seductive charms won the day, and Nergal became her "sex slave" for six days.  On the seventh day the Goddess let him return to the upper world, but soon missed his touch. So she threatened the end the world, cleansing it of all fertility and life, if Nergal didn't return to her.
Upon his return, Nergal grabbed her by the hair, pulling Ereshkigal off of her throne in a passionate embrace. After another six days of ecstatic intimacy, the couple married and Nergal became king of the underworld.  It seems that Nergal was quite the stud.

This really reminds me of the Hades /Persephone myth of the Greeks. For as a symbol of  the destructive power of the sun, Nergal/Erra's journey into the underworld represents the sun's passage through the Land of Death at night. Have fun looking these myths up.

Erra, was also called "lord of justice", "the lord of limits', and the "god of destiny".  Often seen as a necessary but harsh force, he has the virtues of a "steely eyed" warrior with great strength and determination. Justice is dealt out by him without hesitation but always according to law.
On the Babylonian Tarot card we see Erra, armed for battle, in battle pose, with arrow drawn.

As a person,The Prince of Swords/Prince of Arrows personality is purely intellectual.
  1. Overflowing with ideas that tumble over each other in a mass unrelated to practical effort.
  2. This is a brain that won't quiet itself down long enough to focus well on one thing.
  3. Intensely clever, admirably rational, with high degrees of thought, yet unstable of purpose.
  4. There is in this Prince of mind personality, an indifference to their own thought, as any idea is worth exploring, but not for too long!
  5. By reducing every thought to ratiocination, this personality has removed all substance from thoughts, making them formal and fantastical, as they no longer relate to any facts; even those upon which the thoughts are individually based. Thus, this person is completely free from settled principles and is capable of conceiving and putting out any conceivable argument with out the clutter of remorse or regret.
  6. This is a mind so glib, that it is able to forget the contrary argument it produced minutes before and go sallying forth with a new argument.
  7. These people often become faddists, cultists and devotees of drink, drugs, theologies, humanitarianism or music and religion, but without stability.
When either card is thrown during a reading:
  •  The querent: feels the need to release creative and intuitive thought while cutting through any barrier to this release.
  • There is a tendency to think too fast so slowing down the thought process is advised if success is to be achieved.
  •  The querent is showing the tendency to be overly rational, missing the subtle emotional points that would heed success in communication.
If the querent is able or has achieved the ability to focus their thought:
  • They are committed to acting out their ideals and philosophy in their own lives; not really caring about how others do it, as they put incredible energy into supporting or examining particular beliefs.
  • They often present a magnetic personality that is extravagant, careless and excessive.
  • Ruthlessly brilliant, they can have good business judgment.
  • There is a combative nature here, that is courageous, turbulent and skilled in the war of wits.

When signified as a personality archetype, both these cards represents:
  •   A young person of a turbulent  combative nature.
  • Not only is this person's mind enthusiastic, changeable with rapid switching of logic, they are also often argumentative.
  •  A very active and imaginative mind that reduces all ideas to and ideal world of ratiocination  and formality, which as such,  is without relation to known facts.
  • Usually prefers "pure mind" over emotions.
  • Esoterically,  this is the Knower, ( one who knows and hears not derision)and shows mastery of synthesis and delusion. A kind of farsighted mental view and expansion into cosmic awareness without proper empathy.
  • For the Querent, this is a card of communication.
  • The Querent has decided to be deeply committed to  acting out their own philosophical ideas in a daily lifestyle.
  • Speaking out courageously but showing a tendency to be head strong and assertive. This is where the sickle destroys the attractiveness of the created logic. 

 Thank you for your interest, comments and supportive donations. May you live long and prosper.

2 Comments to Tarot Card Comparisons: The Thoth Prince of Swords & The Babylonian Tarot-Prince of Arrows- Erra:

Comments RSS
Tim on Monday, May 16, 2016 4:16 PM
What is the significant yesod-moon symbolism in this card? Robert Wang says the exact same thing but also doesn't elaborate. Are the faeries as spheres of light a reflection of the Son (Sun) just as the Moon is a reflection?
Reply to comment
Eli on Tuesday, May 17, 2016 7:17 AM
Hi Tim. Yes, the imagery is subtle. Yet the moon is represented as a downward pointing triangle, which is the "reflection" of the upward pointing triangle. Plus there is the One main Solar circle of the Chariot, and the many moons around it, suggesting "will to form", which is Binah/Moon. Fairies are also considered "creatures of the Moon". The sickle is also a crescent moon. The Green Prince suggests Venus, another Goddess image. All in all, the Divine feminine is cleverly shown with this Prince of Mind. Just as consciousness is always united with Unconsciousness. The Divine marriage goes on and on. Thank you for your interest and taking the time to write your interesting insights. May you live long and prosper!

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