Tarot Card Comparisons: The Thoth Tarot-Ace of Swords & The Barbara Walker Tarot- Ace of Swords: Doom.
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Thoth Tarot & comparisons

Tarot Card Comparisons: The Thoth Tarot-Ace of Swords & The Barbara Walker Tarot- Ace of Swords: Doom.


The Ace of Swords card represents the influence of Kether (Crown), the first Sephiroth in the Astral world of fleeting forms known as Yetzirah. It is the symbol of force called upon, which is a force invoked to cause or compel change. This could be either good or ill willed or as a Qabalist would say, this force is both dynamic and erratic, having the potential to be applied at will to different situations. The Ace of Swords, has often been called the Sword of Whirling force and strength through trouble and/or Doom.

The Tarot Suit of Swords represent Air/Mind and the Sword of Air as depicted on this card, shows us the very nature of this force. Air is hidden currents of force applied, and can be fleeting in its influence. Sometimes air can be seen as calm, other times as destructive when it "blows" down your house. Mind/Air is the unseen force of Will that often creates situations seemingly out of no where! Therefore this card is known  as justice upholding Divine Authority; and it may become the Sword of Wrath, Punishment and Affliction. 

A Sword of will is also often called an Athamae, the knife/dagger/sword that is used in Wicca, and other types of invoking ritual magic, as a symbol of focused will by the magic practitioner.

As you may guess, to be able to focus this Force of Kether upon the Astral World of fleeting forms is to hold those forms in your abeyance and/ or to compel change in situations that you define.  However, Kether is the Original Will --Primal Will , that begins the Mental Process of Will-to-Force and this card is also often called the Sword of Good and Evil.
Good because as Will is properly used to expand and liberate life----it is of Good Will.
Bad if unknowingly or knowingly  used  to interrupt and /or reverse the motion of life expansion--such as a willfully closed mind rather than an willfully  open mind which is a mind in stagnation.

Will to Force must move, so if perverted, it does so in reverse or live spelled backward which is called evil. This reversal of force is detrimental to the form of the one who invokes for ill purposes.
So as we know, force can be applied well or ill... but Force is necessary to create form and must be applied to animate forms. The union of Force and Form is necessary for Life.  I often call it "movement" and "Form" or movement and repose. Kether is the underlying cause of Motion.

The Ace of Swords, represents , The mental world of thinking. The time of Fall and the space of West.

The Tarot Suit of Swords is representative of change, new ventures and ideas, the intellect, the mind, reasoning, analysis, planning, communication, logic, opinions, judgments, and all thought processes of conscious.

The clouds below the Thoth Ace of Swords, represent the confusion of the clouded mind, that the Ace of swords has scattered with its pure mind. Hence this sword is cutting edge mental clarity, creative thinking; the inspired and innovative mind.

The Crescent Moons, represent a receptive and balance mind (as above so below) and the two spheres are the Sun which symbolize  dynamic expression.

The serpent handle represents the and self-regenerating and renewing mind.

The radiant crown, is expanded awareness (enlightenment) that comes from the piercing mental clarity of the Ace of Swords. New insight, "a light bulb moment".

From a Tibetan Tantra's point of view, this is the "diamond consciousness" and also represents the life-phase of Moksha.

  1. (in Hinduism and Jainism) release from the cycle of rebirth impelled by the law of karma.
    • the transcendent state attained as a result of being released from the cycle of rebirth.
ORIGIN from Sanskrit mokṣa.
[Powered by Oxford Dictionaries · © Oxford University Press · Translation by Bing Translator]

The Ace of Swords is associated with the Air Sign months of Libra (September 21- October 21), Aquarius ( January 21- February 21),Gemini (May 21-June 21).

The Ace of Swords, is the application of Wisdom which flows down from Kether (Supreme conscious) to  the Sephiroth (state of conscious energy) #2- Chokma/Wisdom on the Qabalistic Tree of Life. This card is Air, and can become notably passive without the balanced application of Fire (wands) and Water (cups) which are the original parents of Air.

The Thoth Deck Ace of Swords, represents the Root of  the Element of Air which is also representative of the Seed of Consciousness. When lacking the Will that is Spirit, consciousness behaves like Air,  which blows which ever way of the common current. In nature, air lacks the concentrated will of fire to unite with water and it lacks a corresponding passion to unite with its twin, earth. Hence, air has no self-generated impulse, and is totally dependent on the heat or cold of the moment.  But when set in motion by its Father-Fire and its Mother-Water, it magnifies their power into something horrific, such as tornadoes or hurricanes, or the Valkyrie- Princess of Swords, the psychopomp/a guide of souls to the place of the dead and/or Morgana of the Celts, as shown on the Barbara Walker card.  Wind in this state, is comparable to Mind, as all embracing, all penetrating, all cutting, all wandering and all consuming. Therefore, in traditional Tarot, The Ace of Swords was often called DOOM. Hence, this is the traditional meaning that Barbara Walker choose for her Ace of Swords Card.

The Status of Air, as compared to the other Elements of alchemical origin, would seem minor but in reality, Air is the first Element to follow Spirit. Spirit is of the Element- Fire, that begins with the Logos (Word of God) and/or "I Will BE". Air is also attributed to Mercury and most properly, the Breath of Life. Then there is the Hebrew statement," Achath Ruach Elohim Chiim (777) which means," One is the Spirit  of the Gods of the Living". In this case Air is the the medium that carries the Spirit/Will of "the gods of the living" which is called Prana in Yoga; thus we can see the empowerment of yoga breathing exercises. 

THE THOTH PRINCESS OF SWORDS, represents the earthly part of Air. She is the fixation of the Volatile. She represents the influence of Heaven on Earth and brings about the materialization of idea. There is some suggestion of the Valkyrie, in this card but She also represents Artemis and other characteristics of Minerva and Morgan le Fey.
To some extent, she represents the anger of the gods, and on the Thoth Card, she wears a helm of  serpent crest, that symbolizes the serpent-haired Medusa. The heavens and clouds whirl about angrily, while she is stabbing downward with her sword. In the back ground is a profaned altar, whose fire is gone out due to lack of attention which seems to anger this Valkyrie. Doom, catastrophes,or ultimate fate is on the horizon.

The pagans, never thought death could be conquered nor did they deny it. The pagan philosophies advised  acceptance of death, no matter how horrific, because it was as much a manifestation of the Goddess's power as was birth. This may seem gloomy to some, but in truth, it is inevitable so why worry about it? One must remember in this age of rapid fire guns, that the Sword was the ultimate death dealer in pagan Europe, where the practice of decapitating the sacred king at the end of his yearly reign. This was known as the ceremony of apotheosis through decapitation, which sent a hero to Morgan's paradise. Later, this ceremony was more symbolic than actual, as seen in the knighting of a warrior by a king, where the sword touches each shoulder, an implied symbol of the sword passing through the neck. 

Therefore, we can understand Barbara Walker's Tarot depiction of The Morgan (her horned/crescent moon head dress), a double edged sword, a skull with a crown, and a magic mirror or dark hole vortex into the world of the dead, complete with the whirling dead.

In the Hermetic Qabalah, The Unknowable Kether, is often depicted as the Point, the Crown and/or the Swastika, as explained in past blogs; However, these only direct us into a journey of understanding, that has no goal. We may say the goal, is to understand the Infinite, but the word infinite, even if understood, is a human invention. Thus infinite is inadequate to explain the "No-Thing" before Time and/or the Dark Energy.  The point (.) could represent the Singularity that was before the Big Bang but as the words may imply some vast understanding, this explanation is empty of experience and thus  to us, incomprehensible.

Yet, we are alsopotentially anything, which makes each of us not as comfortably understood as one would like. It Seems that the Divine Collective Unconscious, wishes our individual minds to be as vast as our forms seem to be limited; as may be seen by the Imagination's ability to expand concepts so far beyond reality, that maybe, reality is just imagined; one moment we are the Human dreaming of being Spiral Energy, the next we are Spiral Energy (microwave) dreaming we are a human. Much like that old Chinese tale of a man dreaming he was a butter fly, then upon awakening he wondered if he was a butterfly dreaming he was a human. When Considering Kether, one is much the same.

Zhuangzi’s Butterfly Dream:
The most well-known of Zhuangzi (Chuang-tzu) parables is the Butterfly Dream anecdote, which (in translation by Lin Yutang) goes like this:
"Once upon a time, I, Zhuangzi, dreamt I was a butterfly, fluttering hither and thither, to all intents and purposes a butterfly. I was conscious only of my happiness as a butterfly, unaware that I was Zhuangzi. Soon I awakened, and there I was, veritably myself again. Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a man. Between a man and a butterfly there is necessarily a distinction. The transition is called the transformation of material things."

The Qabalist knows that All is Mind, and we are not talking about the human consciousness, but the One Mind that Dreams itself a Universe. This Mind is also know as The Greater Self.
  The Ace of Swords is a "seed or essence of Mind/Self", a radiant microwave from the One Mind/Solar Logos. The Ace of Swords therefore represents the Root Powers of Air and symbolizes the influence of Kether ( "I will Be") in the Astral World of liquid light.

This may be understood as the motion in the Currents of Astral Psycho-Fluid (thought), The First Matter, however, that is just the " foot print in the snow" and not The Power Itself. The Astral realms are the realms of Fleeting Forms...nothing solid.  Thus the Ace of Swords is a potent card which can be extremely good or extremely evil.
Evil, is Live spelled backwards, and hides a clue that basically implies devolution rather than evolution.

To move forward progressively, is Living, to move backward, is "living in the past and therefore dying in the present" which is a from of "living dead", hence evil, since the past isn't now. Thus we have philosopher's saying."Let the dead bury the dead...".

The Mind is called the Element of Air, for it is Heated by Inner Passions of the Soul, as Air is heated by Sun, and thus it can become violent and life threatening. However, this is avoided if the Will of Spirit, is the controller of Passion rather than the survival mind of the animal; then the Mind becomes Life Expanding and Liberating.

 In the Tarot, The Ace of Wands represents a natural force, while the Ace of Swords represents that which is invoked; A force called upon.

The currents generated byKether ("I Will Be") on the Astral are both dynamic and erratic, having the potential to be applied at will to different situations. Thus, we have the description of a "whirling force" that gains strength through trouble. To Qabalists, this is an affirmation of Divine authority and may become the Sword of Wrath, punishment and affliction. Pure mind has no conscience, it is up to us mortals to supply discrimination and/or discerning thought.

But let us not despair, when this card is thrown during a divination, for the Ace of Swords also represents the Sword of the Magus crowned in the twenty-two diadem of light. To those of magic, the number 22 refers to Atu known as 22=2x11, the Magical manifestation of  Chokmah, Wisdom, and the Logos. In Hebrew letters, (that are numbers), The Logos is the Word of Law, that blazes forth clearing the dark clouds of a Mind based on fear, or survival thinking. I would suggest getting the Book 777 by Aleister Crowley to further study this, as the words "Achath Ruach Elohim Chiim" are the numbers 777 and means in English translation,"One is Spirit of the Gods of the Living". The Ruach being Tiphareth, the Solar Logos. There is a lot of investigative Gematria (Qabalistic Numerology) to understand here so get the book! However, to be the "Spirit of the gods of the living", is to be their Womb/birth-Mother.

Since Princesses are the "throne of Spirit", and the Princess of Swords represents the Valkyrie or the Morgan, who give form to the will of Spirit; the Princess of Swords has the option of "throwing everything overboard" and/or "blowing everything sky high." The Character of this personality Archetype, is stern,  and revengeful. Her logic is destructive, as she is both firm and aggressive. She also shows great practical wisdom in material things. Being adroit at controversy,when affairs are controversial in nature, she shows great cleverness and dexterity in the practical management of these affairs. Therefore, she is the Morgan, sometimes a destructive power, wielding the Ace of Swords, and sometimes a angelic queen, who took her heroes to a more comfortable land. Presiding over the lunar country of the dead, placing her heroes into the sky as stars, she wears the horns of the moon. She is also the Queen of the Air.
  • Again, all Aces stand for a years time so when this card is thrown, the qualities of experience, creative, innovative, mental clarity want to be expressed  through you for the period of one year.
  • This would be a good year to actualize a dream or  to implement and original idea.
  • It would be a good time to write, edit, research, brainstorm, initialize intuitive thinking, and for firm decision making.
  • The Ace of Swords also implies;
  • Mental clarity and inventiveness.
  • Problems being overcome with Original thinking.
  • The dawning of a new intellectual process.
  • Acting with logic and discrimination
  • Strength in adversity.
  • Out of evil some good will come.
  • Something that looks bleak can surprisingly turn out to be promising.
  • Doom, this is the card of Morgan the Fate. Finality, Tragedy, and ultimate fate.
  •  However, it is release, freedom from past restraint and a new lightness and/or a kind of salvation.
  • The beginning of and idea or information.
  • The arising of Inner insight.
  • This Ace card depends on the surrounding cards to show whether it is fate or rebirth.

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

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