This is the first time in all these years that I have allowed myself to be late for our Tarot Card of the Week. Many thanks for your patience while I was away.
However, I can’t say I am thrilled with what we’ve waited to get. For many personal reasons of my own, this is one I was not happy to pull.
As is the tendency with the Minor Arcana Fives, as well as most of the Swords suit, this card depicts conflict and strife. Even renowned Tarot scholar Rachel Pollack calls this “one of the most difficult cards…one of the reasons some people find the Rider pack too negative.”
The sky is stormy, with jagged, threatening clouds. The man in the foreground gloats as the other two figures retreat in defeat, perhaps even humiliation.
Arthur Waite wrote of it, “A disdainful man looks after two retreating and dejected figures. Their swords lie upon the ground. He carries two others on his left shoulder, and a third sword is in his right hand, point to earth. He is the master in possession of the field.” Waite assigned it an interpretation of, “Degradation, destruction, revocation, infamy, dishonour, loss, with the variants and analogues of these.”
Harsh terms for someone so happy to see themselves as now being in command.
What was the nature of this conflict? While the two had more manpower, the smirking winner was more heavily armed, perhaps due to some kind of trickery, almost certainly having some unfair advantage.
While he is very sure of himself, and he has disarmed the two in what Waite has called a dishonorable defeat, most interpretations do not assume that this situation is final.
For if there is any dominating theme to the Tarot, it is that justice must eventually out, and balance be restored. But as is so often the case, the road there may be fraught with setbacks and difficulty, as the two in the background are experiencing.
This week, tensions from the reactivation of the Grand Cross and the Saturn Pluto square by the Sun and the Moon continue. Astrologer Lara Owen explains in depth why ongoing conflicts, especially around issues of power, authority and control, continue to be triggered.
Be extra careful, then, not to make enemies, but to approach adversaries with scrupulous honesty. Whenever possible, first stretch out the hand of peace and magnanimity.
On the other hand, have you been defeated or cheated out of something by a wily and cunning opponent? Do you feel you have suffered because of someone’s cowardliness, ego or malice? Perhaps now is the time to walk away while you can. A strategic retreat may be the wisest move.
Take extra care to protect what is valuable to you, and be careful about people who would wield their power in underhanded, dishonest ways, as well as any temptation to do so on your part.
In one of the previous visits from this card, I quoted Abraham Lincoln, who once said, “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Notice how people use their personal power.
Winning at any price will not really vanquish a competitor. The payback always comes. Fairness and justice, eventually, must be served. When they are, where will you be in the equation?