You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers.
You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.
~ Naguib Mahfouz, winner of the 1988 Nobel Prize for Literature
This week, we are visited by that fierce, smart, sometimes naive youth, the Page of Swords.
Pages in the Tarot are often messengers and risk-takers, with little in the way of possessions, protection or equipment.
Unlike the more stormy scenes in many of the other Swords cards, the sky behind the Page is blue, although the clouds are gathering. The landscape is rough, the water is choppy, and his windswept hair and the circling birds all point to turbulence.
It is worth noting that the Page of Swords is the oldest of the four Pages. It will not be long before his initiation into knighthood. So his message is almost certainly challenging. What confrontation is he preparing for? What test is coming?
I love my friend Paul Quinn’s observation in his brilliant Tarot for Life, that, unlike the other Pages, this one is not gazing with fascination at his suit’s symbol. The infatuation has passed; he is ready to wield it. Or at least he believes so.
Arthur Waite summarized this card with the word, “vigilance.” What enemies are coming? Is there real danger on the horizon?
The Swords, of course, represent the element Air, and correspond to the energy of the intellect, communication, and information. The Page may represent someone engaged in the tumultuous nature of intellectual discovery and inspiration, before experience and wisdom can temper them.
Maybe he is a reminder that the price of our freedom is vigilance and we must always be prepared to defend them. Or perhaps he prepares for a battle of ideas.
This week, almost 200 countries are meeting in controversial talks that could forever change the Internet, and its freedoms. There is a big push for governments and corporate interests to clamp down and control access to the Web.
So who will defend the (more or less) level playing field and freedoms we now enjoy? Who is playing the Page of Swords in this fight?
On a more personal level, the Page’s appearance this week may suggest that dramatic discussions are on the horizon. Or perhaps an opportunity for growth is coming your way in the guise of a problem or dilemma.
Where might you need to acknowledge a difficult situation and meet its challenge? What test is the Universe sending you that, if you respond with clarity and cool detachment, might ultimately make you stronger and more resilient? In what areas of your life might you benefit greatly from being more focused and vigilant?
Meet your challenges head-on this week.
Avoid pointless argument or intellectual showing off, or you could create hard feelings that will have to be defended later. Instead, know that the sword of truth and knowledge you hold has two edges and needs to be wielded with both honesty and respect.
Remember that wisdom always trumps cleverness. Know, not just the answers, but the right questions.