Life has left her footprints on my forehead.
But I have become a child again this morning.
The smile, seen through leaves and flowers,
is back to smooth away the wrinkles,
as the rains wipe away footprints on the beach.
Again a cycle of birth and death begins.
Thich Nhat Hanh
This week, in which we celebrate Ostara, the sabbat marking the beginning of the new astrological year, and ushering in the dawning of Springtime (in the Northern Hemisphere), we welcome our old teacher and gatekeeper, the Ten of Swords.
People with even the most casual exposure to the Tarot rarely forget seeing this card. One of the most grisly looking, the Ten of Swords is often dreaded and admittedly not the happiest of all the Tarot images.
The Tens of each suit are the overflowing of that suit’s energy. With the Ten of Cups, which just came calling in mid-February, for instance, it is the overflow, the zenith and then some, of love, emotional harmony, and happiness.
But in the Ten of Swords, we have the over-the-top conflict of the Swords — so much so that it is almost ridiculous. One Sword is quite enough to kill someone. Ten swords, stuck in the back, no less… well, you might say, “over-kill.”
Just remember that Swords correspond to the Element of Air. They tell us about our thoughts – not physical reality.
They are about perception, attitude, the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves. Thus, the Ten of Swords may be how things look when we are in complete, absolute despair.
Overwhelmed with this extreme ending, we face the absolute death — dead as can be — of an idea, project, aspiration, or situation with which we have lived for quite some time. There can be no doubt, no revival, no spin, no restoration, or repackaging.
This card tells us to let it go; it’s really, really over.
Then, and only with that acceptance, painful as it may be, you will receive the secret gift within this card.
For unlike other Swords cards in the Waite-Smith deck that come with turbulent, stormy waters, the lake or river in the background is calm. And, in contrast with, for instance, the Nine, with its completely black background, here the storm here has passed, and day is breaking.
Even more telling, the victim’s right hand is making a sign of benediction and peace. In the last throes of this brutal ending, forgiveness is given, understanding is reached.
An Initiatory Ending
There could hardly be a more perfect depiction of where we are in the turning of the heavens. As Lorna Bevan writes,
This is the last week of the old astrological year and, just as with any psychological re-entry, we need to tread carefully and be gentle with ourselves. This is not the moment to push ahead, to jump into the New without walking the last steps of the old with awareness – this week is the Moon Dark time of the entire annual astrological cycle.
Mercury is just out of his retrograde shadow, as the Sun and Venus align with the Galactic Centre – our Homing Signal – before crossing the World Axis Aries Point.
Your physical, mental, emotional and etheric bodies are tired. Your clarity and focus are waning.
Take some quiet time to reflect on what and who you are naturally and unconsciously withdrawing from and what and who is withdrawing from you. To notice which old sources of joy are drying up and — critically — which new ones you must learn to recognise.
How do you receive the message? You stop resisting. You simply let it in.
Whatever is gone is well and truly gone. So be it, says the Ten of Swords, if we are to initiate a new beginning.
Lorna then discusses the upcoming Equinox, which arrives on Saturday, at 5:37am (Eastern Daylight Time):
The Aries Equinox March 20, 2021
Illuminating the last degree of the last sign and the first degree of the first sign, this is Alpha and Omega – the End and a Beginning, the bridge to the invisible, infinite Source. At the Pisces/Aries cusp, there is a point where the two ends of the circle meet – a space through which life can enter and exit.
This Zero Point of the zodiac corresponds to an opening to the transcendent, extending from 29° Pisces to 0° Aries. Here there is a zero sphere, a cosmic fissure, linking us to cosmic influences and transcendental worlds.
The Equinox Sun balancing day and night is conjunct centaur Chiron – an initiatory archetype creating fresh new patterns of living. Chiron functions as a holographic influence, promoting wholeness, balance and integration in an era of fragmentation and radical imbalance.
Over the next few years, expect to evolve through several radical shifts of identity as Chiron bridge builds and repairs the inner fracturing and splits.
Evolving your own unique blue print, you are letting go of your old story and wounds passed down from your heritage, your ancestors and collective consciousness.
This is perfectly attuned to the Ten of Swords, for we are facing, up close and personal, an old story, perhaps even an ancestral wounding, that has contributed to today’s chaotic, perilous collective consciousness. Let us cease our attempts to resuscitate it, or disguise it in new window dressing. The turning of the age is upon us, and there are a number of old, very old, ideas and perceptions whose time is over.
It is now up to us to acknowledge that this is so.
When we have no choice, the only way is through.
So, yes, fasten your seat belts, my friends; it could be a bumpy week. But in the long run, those jolts may serve to release us from that which has brought suffering. When we surrender the fear-centered illusion of control, we may find instead the great benevolence of the now.
In what way might you be asked to admit defeat, perhaps even a very unfair loss? Is there some area in your life where you feel utterly betrayed and vanquished? What has got to go, and go now, because all the juice and joy has been drained away?
Painful as it may be, only by so doing will we ever be able to take the next step, which requires the forgiveness of ourselves and even those who may have done us wrong. In that forgiveness is the promise of liberation.
At the darkest time, the dawn is nearby. And there is hope in this new day. Yet only from ashes can the Phoenix rise.
This week, with a world full of dramatic upheaval, it is time to prepare for a rebirth. But this cannot happen, until what has come before is truly, completely released.
Don’t hold back. There is light and peace on our horizon. Allow the rain to wash away the footprints on the beach. We need only set free what is already gone.