The supreme end of education is expert discernment of all things — the power to tell the good from the bad, the genuine from the counterfeit, and to prefer the good and the genuine to the bad and the counterfeit.
~ Samuel Johnson
After an absence of over three years, this week, the Ace of Swords comes calling.
Interestingly, its last two appearances also coincided with the New Moon, which we will be celebrating this week.
The Aces in the Tarot, of course, represent new beginnings (as do New Moons). Each Ace depicts the essential energy of its suit. Aces are the growth process, whether that growth is physical, mental or spiritual.
Since the Swords suit relates to the element of Air, and represents intellect, ideas, choices, and the mind, the Ace of Swords suggests new ideas, inspiration, facts, communication, and judgment.
The Ace of Swords in the Waite-Smith deck shows a hand issuing from a cloud, grasping a sword, the point of which is encircled by a crown. There are many interpretations of this crown – it may represent victory or authority, material success, or perhaps even the Crown Chakra, since the intellect is the most common way by which we move beyond our own immediate experience.
Just above the hand, at the hilt of the blade, we see golden yods, which you may recall we also saw in The Moon week before last. The yods bring the promise of divine blessings.
For this upcoming week, astrologer Elisabeth Grace notes, “Idealistic thoughts with a surprisingly sharp attention to detail are suggested by a conjunction between the Sun and mental Mercury in discriminating Virgo.”
Ralfee Finn adds that Mercury in Virgo is in an intellectual, communicative overdrive, thanks to a number of additional amplifying aspects. In these days before Saturday’s New Moon in Virgo, Mercury can help us focus, get organized, set our intention, and clear away the mental and physical clutter.
The Ace of Swords is in sharp agreement, supporting this new beginning of fresh insight and knowledge.
But knowledge can be a two-edged sword, and its power can be wielded for good or ill. The sword itself is neutral, just as information is; it is how it is used that makes all the difference. Intention is everything, although it is also true that intentions alone will not suffice. Expert discernment is vital.
This week, the question to keep in mind is, who is telling the truth?
On a national level, in this rancorous political year, fact-checking has become a huge issue. As Pontius Pilate famously asked, “What is the truth?” This question rings down through the centuries and is the one to ask now.
In a culture of spin, artifice, and carefully crafted image, few seem to be scrupulous with their word, or value forthrightness. But the Ace of Swords reminds us that clear truth is a most powerful weapon, and it is crowned with victory.
Where might you now need this Ace? What new ideas or attitude could shape a more successful future for you? What knowledge or new studies can you begin now that would lead to blessings? What confusion and conflict might need to be untangled, cut through, or even scrapped? What inspiration can you now receive?
We are being called upon to stand for clear vision, rigorous honesty, and intellectual courage. A system that rewards lies, half-truths, and omissions is poisoned from the inside. Even if others can’t or won’t, it is our duty to educate ourselves so that we can separate fact from fiction, and see clearly what is genuine, and what is counterfeit.
Pay attention. Know what you know. Emotional pleas and dramatic posturing will not serve; cooler heads will prevail.
This is a week to insist on direct, forthright honesty. Keep your eyes wide open. Continually ask yourself what truth is being revealed, what is being muddled, and why.