Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
After repeatedly showing up several times last year, we continue to be given the loud, clear, and very insistent message that is the gift of the Ace of Swords.
Looking back at its appearances over the years, I’ve noticed it has a habit of visiting us at New Moons and new cycles. This time, it will be the unflinching witness to the inauguration of the new U.S. President — a new beginning if there ever was one.
This is not so surprising when you know that the Aces in the Tarot represent beginnings. Each Ace depicts the essence of its suit and therefore can be nearly as important and far-reaching as the Major Arcana cards. Aces speak to the genesis and growth process, whether that growth is physical, mental, or spiritual.
Since the Swords suit relates to the element of Air, it represents the intellect, information, choices, perception, and the mind. So the Ace of Swords would suggest new ideas, inspiration, discovery, communication, making choices, and passing judgment.
Although the sky is gray, the Ace of Swords is one of the few Swords cards that is not inherently unhappy. As you can see, this version from 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. It is decorated with a vine of berries and an evergreen bough. These are symbols, respectively, of abundance and triumphant achievement that stand the test of time.
The Hand of Fate
Just above the hand, at the hilt of the blade, we see golden yods, which bring the promise of divine blessings.
The yod is the name given to a small section of the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, and is usually portrayed in the Tarot as small bits of fire. It is, as expert Robert Place notes, “the seminal form of all the other letters in the Hebrew alphabet.”
It is also the first letter of the name of the Abrahamic Supreme Being (YHWH, pronounced “Yahway” or “Jehovah”).
And a yod in astrology is an isosceles triangle formed by two planets sextile (sixty degrees from) each other and both quincunx (one-hundred-fifty degrees from) a third, Fulcrum planet.
It is also called The Finger of God, The Eye of God, or The Finger of Fate. The latter is particularly common, since “yod” is closely related to the Hebrew word for hand (“yad“).
Thus, when yods appear in the Tarot, there is a sense of Fate moving, and major forces and life-changing events are in play. Or, from another viewpoint, the Divine is interacting with events, which, either in the short term, or in the long run, will be seen as a blessing.
The Razor’s Edge
This Ace is the epitome of intelligence and consciousness. With it, we can cut through the crap and know what is real, and what is illusion. The Ace of Swords demands honesty and truth. It insists on impartial discernment, the need for eyes wide open, and judgment unclouded by wishful thinking. We must be impeccable with our word.
When facts are faced with calm clarity, success can be achieved. And with the unusual repetition of this card over the past year or so, it would appear vital that we do so.
After our many wake-up calls from the Major Arcana — ten Majors since early October, including two from Death in just one month — we are on a razor’s edge.
As the Tarot’s Divine hand stretches forth from the clouds, in the presence of the yods, we have the support and blessing of Source, if we will take up the sword of truth. And how does one keep a sword sharp? Slowly, carefully, with great deliberation, and undistracted attention.
What brilliant new idea are you ready to launch? What is it time to cut out of your life, once and for all? What communication channels are opening, perhaps for the first time?
How might you now be called by the Sacred One(s) to step up to a higher truth? What decision hangs in the balance this week?
The Ace of Swords challenges us to cut away the lies, deceits, and pretense that trap us. Whether it’s small, seemingly insignificant truth-stretching, sincere ignorance, conscientious stupidity, or Pants On Fire, dishonesty of any kind poisons our safety and well-being on every level, and must not be given a pass.
No matter how sincerely meant, ignorance and stupidity are truly the most dangerous forces at work in our world.
For the sake of whatever is holy to you, use your Sword of discernment. Do not be silenced. Ask questions. Slice away at whatever would deceive or mislead you.
There are intellectual and spiritual riches at hand, but only when we cut through the binding cords of our fears and fantasies, and come to our full consciousness.
Just keep your Sword nice and sharp, Ace, and you will be fine.