Justice belongs to those who claim it, but let the claimant beware lest he create new injustice by his claim and thus set the bloody pendulum of revenge into its inexorable motion.
~ Frank Herbert, author of the Dune series
Back again so soon?
I have to admit, I am not thrilled to see the Ten of Swords return after only about a month. But it is an interesting coincidence, since disturbing cards like this are the subject of the column I am currently writing for the June issue of The Meta Arts.
Since we just received this card only a little over a month ago, I will point you here for a more conventional (and more personally applicable) assessment.
Instead, this week, I can’t help but think of the ongoing repercussions of last week’s killing of Osama bin Laden.
As Tarot scholar Rachel Pollack points out, “This card does not represent death, or even especially violence. It signifies more of a reaction to problems than the problems themselves.”
Thus, we might look at the Ten of Swords as representing the discussions, analysis, controversy, and justification following this momentous event.
The reactions to last week’s raid and death of bin Laden have run the gamut, from macho celebrations, to somber relief, to anger and vows of revenge from his followers.
The American headlines and our president have declared that justice has been served. I am not so sure that is the precise word for it.
But I do believe that this is a case of coming face to face with a deadly enemy who will not surrender. This is what happens in war.
A highly trained, expert team of military operatives took enormous risk and did their sworn duty, under wartime conditions. The head of the enemy has been removed.
Is this a mortal blow to a group that was dependent on their charismatic leader? Or will this be a modern day Hydra, where, as one head is cut off, two grow back to replace it?
Only time will tell, of course.
Like the figure in this card, Osama bin Laden is as dead as can be. It is a new day for America, for al Qaeda, and for the war-plagued Middle East.
What opportunity is here? What peace may be possible?
I believe that the Ten of Swords offers us all a chance to be fully present and make intelligent choices in this momentary resolution. We can stop here and decide what our intention shall be.
Who are we at war with now?
Is our next move to bring down every single potential bin Laden in al Qaeda? Is it to eliminate all threats to our oil interests in the Middle East? Is it our mission to bring peace to a region deeply entrenched in an ancient warrior culture?
Perhaps, as the morning sun rises over this very, very dead figure, we can see at last who or what we have eliminated forever. With the downfall of our enemy, who might we now become?
There is light and peace on this horizon. Maybe it is time to call our weary armies home.