Indecision is the seedling of fear.
Back for a magical sabbat encore, having just visited us during the week of Ostara, once again the Two of Swords challenges us.
And here we are with another Two!
Twos are often about choices, balance, duality, polarity, and opposites. And the Swords in the Tarot are connected to the element of Air. They indicate matters to do with the mind, intellect, attitude, and communication.
This is another of artist Pamela Colman Smith’s “stage” cards, in the Rider-Waite-Smith deck. The straight horizontal lines running across the card make it appear that the figure is on a stage, and behind her, the scene is a theatrical backdrop.
In what way, then, is this merely a drama or a story being played out? What is artificial about this situation?
The figure has often been compared to the Justice card. But unlike Justice, the woman in the Two of Swords is blindfolded, unable to see. Is this by her choice? Or is she a victim?
She does not hold the scales of balanced evaluation. Instead, her arms are crossed defensively in front of her heart, cutting off her feelings, allowing nothing to come in or go out.
And while the woman’s position is stable for now, the swords she holds are enormous, and certainly she won’t be able to maintain that position for very long.
The Drums of War
This is a card that often comes up when we feel we must block our emotions. It may also appear when we feel indecisive. We may vacillate between choice A and choice B, when what we really want is “None of the above.”
Sometimes, holding out for a better choice, or using this stasis for stabilization can be useful, but it is not sustainable for the long term. Arthur Waite suggest that the Two of Swords is about conformity and attempts to keep “concord in a state of arms.”
That could run the gamut from international alliances among friendly competitors to the terrifying “balance of power” that was the goal of the arms race during the Cold War.
For now, although we may prefer to close our eyes, or be blindfolded like this figure, the beating drums of international war cannot be ignored for long. However, for the time being, especially with the specter of unstable leaders and nuclear weapons involved, the current stalemate may be a desirable stopgap.
But how long can it last?
Open the Door
Usually, immobilization around decision-making has, at its core, fear. What anxiety now veils our landscape? For what illumination, either from within or without, do we wait?
I would suggest that it is here already. As I posted earlier, I was given a message for you, regarding the magic of this week.
Yes, we can acknowledge that the dark fears swirling around the good souls of this world do indeed threaten to overwhelm us at times. But now, in this beautiful season of flowering and sensual celebration (in the Northern Hemisphere), we are called to stand firm in the loving power of the Earth Herself.
No tyrant, no lie, no hatred or evil scheme can supersede the Love and Grace of the Divine Ones in this beautiful season.
It is no coincidence, I think, that this card has been our guide for two of the loveliest sabbats of the year.
An unlovely card, maybe, but perhaps it bears a message for us to stop sitting on our bottoms, stuck in doubt, arguing with one another, and turning a blind eye.
If we have swords of Knowledge, then perhaps we must use them. If we are blessed with magic, healing gifts, divination powers, or simply loving hearts, it is time to take off the blindfolds and act for good.
If you find yourself diving deep into denial, or frozen in indecisiveness, know and name the source of that fear. Then either put your defensive swords away, or else put them to work.
For as the wise Caitlín Matthews writes, regarding this most powerful, magical Beltane time:
Maiden of Flowers, open the door,
Smith of souls, come you in.
Let there be welcome to the growing strength,
Let there be welcome to the Summer of the Year.
This power of warmth and welcome is as ancient as Life itself, and endures, no matter what. Center yourself in it, and be not afraid.
More Than the Mind
This is also a card that shows how impossible it can be to make up our mind about things that have little to do with the mind at all. The mind is a great gift, but it is only one tool for navigating our life’s journey, and sometimes it is the wrong one.
Still, we make our lists of pros and cons. We rationalize, argue, and refuse to listen to our hearts, thinking that somehow this will be smart. But sometimes we can be too smart for our own good.
In our attempts to be absolutely logical, with no emotional bias, we can arrive at analysis paralysis.
How many times have you been faced with a choice that looks good “on paper,” but in your gut, you know it’s not the right thing at all? What are you afraid to know?
The Two of Swords can be helpful when we feel stuck. Swirling all around the woman is the great, dark sea of emotional, subconscious awareness, the deep of dreams and intuition. Yet she refuses to, or cannot, access it.
Much as we might sometimes want to close our eyes and fade into the blue, something eventually will need to happen. We avoid the truth at our peril.
This week, if you find yourself “between a rock and a hard place,” feeling like you need to make a difficult choice you wish you didn’t have to, this card offers some illumination.
First, have compassion for the role fear may be playing, disguising itself as an insatiable need for information and options.
Consider the ways you may be closing your eyes or your heart from knowledge that is not logical or analytical. There is a very good chance that emotional or even intuitive information is precisely what you need, in order to proceed with wisdom.
Could it also be that this is but a bit of drama, a scene being played out more for effect than an authentic situation? What is really going on “backstage?”
From last week’s Two of making creative choices, to this week’s hesitation blues, it’s time to stop overthinking, and choose something.
Or perhaps let go of choosing altogether. What would happen if you just allow things to unfold, letting the chips fall where they might?
Fearful indecision is a slow poison. Drop your weapons. Open your eyes. Most important, open your heart. See what happens.