Tarot Card Comparisons:The Thoth Tarot- Knight of Swords & The Barbara Walker Tarot- King of Swords:Yama
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Thoth Tarot & comparisons

Tarot Card Comparisons:The Thoth Tarot- Knight of Swords & The Barbara Walker Tarot- King of Swords:Yama

The Tarot of EliThe Thoth Tarot-Knight of Swords & The Barbara Walker Tarot- King of Swords: Yama: Mastery of Passionate Thinking and Intentionality.
By now many of us know that the
Court Cards represent personality Archetypes. In her book: TAROT-Dictionary and Compendium, Jana Riley describes Archetypes as ; "The original Archetype was a thought in the Mind of God-male and female. The Supreme Mind became enamored with this thought and created life in Its image by the friction of Its Word-or by the motion of Its sound. This caused the Universe to divide into ordered strata, and because creation is within the Mind of God, everything is a model or a copy of the original pattern, which is God."

The court cards  of Tarot are pictures of 16 different personality types. Eight proven by Carl Jung, and later 8 more by Katherine Briggs and Isabel Myers who devised the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator ( MBTI) which is the most accurate tool, for now, used by counseling centers around the world. MBTI is a modern attempt at astrology's already proven personality descriptions.  Proving once again the Ancient Wisdom of the Tarot and astrology, as well as, how "backward thinking" is our misunderstanding of ourselves. The Hermetic ( Meaning-Sealed Message) Qabalah(meaning-receiving) is all about "above all things, know thyself" and therefore, goes about giving a format to the Psyche that takes us to our Original Action, before memory was needed, called the Tree of Life. This Original Action of Self, is I AM. From I AM, the Original Identity, becomes many as the "child"- Me, was formed from understanding the difference between the I and the AM. Me, is a collective of possible Identities, that if communicative with one another, form a collective image of Self, that we call Souls. Souls, who are the Self Reflections of the Universal Divine Collective Unconscious,  are the Original Conscious-Creator of your personal identity. To make a long creation short,  you are the "point in time", and or the Active World of Creation, where Self can be intimate with it's self-potentialities. In other words, the Life, creates the Alive, to experience itself.  In Qabalah's Tree of Life format, the Active World is called Malkuth-The Kingdom.  

The Thoth Tarot Knight of Swords is seen to be flying over water. In alchemy, elemental air is associated with the Mind and elemental Water is emotionality. This combination of air and water represents  passionate thinking. Three swallows represent the union of mind and heart with all action proceeding in united direction. This serves to remind us that focus, will, and intention must be aligned to achieve any goal.

The dagger in the left hand and the sword in the right hand, represent yin/yang, (feminine/masculine) forces of  One energy. Female is magnetic force and male is electric force, both must be combined to create a balanced unity called life. When separate, there becomes a certain mental vacillation, where thoughts are often destroyed before they can become form.

Four wings, are four directions, north, south, east and west; each represent four levels of conscious: mental, emotional, spiritual and physical.

The six pointed star at the center of the wings, symbolizes illumined clarity and spiritual guidance.  Golden armor represents powerful fluid thinking.

In the Thoth Deck, the Kings are Knights. The Knight of Swords is called "the fiery part of Air" which may confuse you, but really He represents the violent power of motion applied to air. He rules from the 21st degree of Taurus to the 20th degree of Gemini. He is a armored warrior whose helmet bares a rotating wing and is mounted on a rampaging steed. With both sword and poniard in hand, he is the very idea of Attack. He is the Spirit of the Tempest.
The Knight of Swords can be compared to the Lightning bolt of an idea absorbing the entire life in concentrated aspiration. There will be Live and Evil here.
The Will of Taurus and the Inspiration of Gemini are also applied here. The Knight of Swords represents the True Will (Spirit) exploding the mind spontaneously. What many of us forget or have been indoctrinated to forget is that True Will is not empathetic---Spirit has no need for empathy, as it never Dies and the Love of Idea is its motion. Those of us Spirit-personalities, who are fortunate enough to inherit a human body, have inherited discernment, and now should know how to empathize with the "living". Thereby, adjusting our ideas to accommodate the expansion and liberation of the living from their poverty of self imposed- definitions rather than just erase them with visions of Tempestuous velocity; of immense violence. Love of idea without empathy is a Terrible Tempest of Self-Absorbed Desire, where the Vision is more important than the living. Hence, this Card reminds us to  take time to love being, for the body human is a Vision of Divine Will-To-Be and must be our Vision Center, so that we can "feel" the violence of our own Ideas, and restructure them to care for the living rather than sacrifice the "alive" to our "fantasy of living ideas".

 The Knight's or King's of Tarot are representative of Chokmah, the 2nd Sephiroth that is known as Wisdom, rules the Knight /King of Swords. Chokmah also represents the beginning state of conscious energy that is masculine in action. Therefore, Chokmah is the "idea of male" and it's mate, Binah (3's and Queens), is the "idea of Female". Not a linear one after the other, she after he,  for when one exists, so does the other.  Now we have the concepts of Father-Mother God and/or the Divine Creative.
Chokmah being the 2nd Sephira, called---Wisdom, who is also the Will to Force behind the four twos and the four Knights, that launches ideas towards Binah, "the womb of Mind", Will to Form, who receives  and Understands, therefore, beginning formation.
The twos symbolize the objective Forces of the King, who are shown in the Thoth Tarot as Knights/Battle Kings and/or Active Knighted Kings. The four Queens unite and initialize the "will to Force" of the Knights into forms. Hence, the Knight-Kings are the Fathers of and initiators of Material Forces.


Is also known in Qaballah as Lord of Winds and Breezes. King of the Elemental Spirits of the Air; the Sylphs and Sylphides.  This is a very Strong masculine mental force whose zodiacal attributes are the last Decan of Taurus and the first two Decans of Gemini. 

Here we have Specific Fire in Primal Air that is the personification of a Force behind the World of Astral Images and ideas. This Power is violent, aggressive, and a cutting edged force that is much like a overheated wind. He is storm and violent emotion applied to an apparently manageable mind.
The symbols of this Mad Movement, is depicted in the art of the Knight of Swords, as his maddened steed is charging down from the heavens, with Tempest about, and armed with both sword and poniard, he is the very personification of the idea of attack. The Bull like power of Taurus is represented in his steed and the Twins of Gemini are shown in his armament The crest on his Helm (his personality) is a revolving wing, showing violent motion in air, much like a helicopter beats the air into submission.

Such a character, if personal, would be that of a person who is clever, skillful, active and subtle. Being that he is fierce, delicate of ego, and courageous, much like a Dragon Fly, does not keep him from being prey to his ideas which come as inspiration without consideration.Often we find, that inadequate violent action is merely futile effort at best.

However we choose to dignify this Knight, he is the "Extended Flame of mind" as Zoroaster calls it. Here the True Will To Force, as Chokmah is exploding the Mind.  The Taurian influence, makes it steadfast and the first Decanate of Gemini makes it inspirational; thus an Idea tends to absorb the entire life of the individual in the blinding light of concentrated  aspiration. Thus is shown the danger to this state of mind, for the first Decan is also known as "shortened force" and  that shortened force is symbolized by the poniard. Shortened force often comes off as defensive and stubborn behavior.

All of this changes when this card is ill dignified. If such occurs, he is incapable of decisions or purpose, and any action he takes is so weakened by his mental indecision that it is easily brushed aside by opposition.
                                              The Barbara Walker Tarot- King of Swords: Yama, the bull god, is simply a reverse of Kali's virginal-maid -life giving fertility aspect known as Maya.
Yama, is really a Shiva Lord of Death incarnation and/or the "other-side of the Mirror reflection of Life", which is Death. 

Yama is often shown as a bull-god, wearing a bull mask, dancing on a dead bull that represented his own "fleshy manifestation". Here he has the Sword of Kali Ma (The Destroyer Goddess) and the Lotus, that represents the sacred yoni of the Mother of Life Goddess. To further clarify his union without separation with the Goddess principle, he is enwrapped by a figure eight, and or the lemnistrate, a Greek word for "ribbon".  Just as in Qabalah, when the "I Will Be"  the I  became creator of "other", I AM, it became a duality, a She/He, inseparable and forever in union, which is often shown as a figure eight. For a figure eight is one line, a circle twisted upon itself. This Self "twisting", is a good explanation for the creation of the sexes.   

As the legend goes, Yama the "bull god", gave up his immortal life to become King of the Underworld, " Yama chose death, and found out the path for many, and he gives the souls of the dead a resting place." [Rees,108. ]This legend also can also be a metaphor for Chokmah, Wisdom's way of choosing death, and ruling the Underworld that is Malkuth/Earth. Yama, a Vedic god, was the receptionist of all the dead. Sometimes he was as benevolent Jupiter, other times he was a stern judge, just as Jehovah, assigning postmortem punishments. In fact, he is a prototype of Jehovah, for early Canaanites, Phoenicians and Israelites, worshipped him as Yamm, the consort to the Sea Goddess Mari. Instead of the modern Qabalistic combination of Chokmah/ Binah, the Canaanite combination became Mari-Yam/Meri-Yam. Jehovah, was also the Gnostic Demi-urge, who had a "dark blue complexion", just as does the more ancient Yama.  The comparisons go on and on, so I would advise that one get Barbara Walker's book: The Secrets of The Tarot, origins, history, and symbolism, to enhance the enjoyment of her Tarot work.

The querent is or may be experiencing:

  •  The Will to transcend.
  • An analytical period, where the power of idea and motion come into play.
  • Letting go of old beliefs and attitudes that no longer serve the motion of the individual..
  • Is a person of tough- minded common sense that is usually based on preconception and prejudice.
  • The arrogance of a powerful mind turn on itself in its own desire for control.
  • tends to judge harshly but with scrupulous fairness.
  • a lawyer, senator or doctor.
  • Mastery of creativity and confusion, as he sees new points of view, while brainstorming new thoughts that vent the mind.
  • Intellectual, and mental prowess whose only emotion is to control.

This Archetypal personality is a person:
  • Who possesses qualities of skill, activity, subtlety and cleverness combined with fierceness.
  •  He is both delicate and courageous while also being prey of his inspirational idea--- that he doesn't question.
If ill dignified:
  • The Card represents inadequate violence, which is useless and futile. The vigor in all the qualities before mentioned, is gone...merely a convulsion of breezes rather than a Tempest- a-charging!

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


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