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  • Julie Francis

2 of Swords - symbolism and meaning

Updated: Jul 2, 2019

2 of Swords Pamela Coleman-Smith RWS Tarot
2 of Swords

A blindfolded woman wearing a long white dress sits on a simple stone bench. Behind her is a body of water with rocky islands and a night sky with a waxing crescent moon. Her arms are crossed across her chest and she holds a huge sword in each hand, their tips pointing upwards.

Element - Air

Suit symbol - Swords

Number - 2

Ruling Major Arcana card - The High Priestess II

Swords and the element of Air are about thoughts, communication, problems and struggles.. 2s are about balance, choices, decisions, things coming together, things moving apart. They relate to The High Priestess and so are about that pause after the initial surge of energy that comes in the Aces and before the action of the 3s.

They are often about looking within, self examination, deciding what to do, deciding what needs to change.

This image is such a beautiful one and I find the colouring used in this particular version of the Rider-Waite-Smith deck really draws me in, it's moody and there is a darkness to it that I like.

Looking at the image, she seems to be protecting her heart, the position is a defensive one yet she's sitting so not really ready for a fight. The water (representing emotions) is behind her and the blindfold makes me think that there are things that she isn't seeing or doesn't want to see - she could put those swords down and take the blindfold off, there's nothing stopping her but for now it seems that she doesn't want to.

The swords are big and look very heavy and she has them perfectly balanced but I'd say that this is a position that she isn't going to be able to hold for long, sooner or later she is going to have to put down those swords, come out of her reverie and make a decision or take some action, she can't sit like that, closed off from whatever is bothering her for long. The moon in the background is waxing, getting bigger so this is also saying that this time of stillness will not and cannot last much longer.

The rocks in the water show that there is no simple way out of this and emotions and feelings cannot be ignored for ever.

So this is a pause, a time to turn your back on your feelings and emotions, a time to use logic, it's a head over heart type of feeling that I'm getting from this card. It's often described as a stalemate, she's not allowing anything in or out, it could also be a truce or a fragile peace. This card says you may need to make some difficult decisions and these are things that can't be put off for long. Use your head, your wits and your intellect in any decisions that you need to make right now.

On the other hand this card could be saying that you've closed yourself off for long enough and now is the time to open your eyes and your heart to what's going on around you, make the decisions that need to be made and move forward.

This is the beauty of tarot, each card's meanings depends on the question, the context and how it fits with the story that the other cards in the reading are telling. If every other card is telling you to listen to your heart then I'd say that this card is telling you to put down the swords, take off the blindfold etc.

Another way to read this card is to look at the cards to either side of it as they often show the choices that you have or the things that you need to balance.

This is the card I pulled today and it's the Vernal Equinox, the day when light and dark are in perfect balance so I think this card is very appropriate. I haven't picked up my cards or done a reading for what seems like ages and today as the wheel turns again and the light starts to hold sway over the dark, I'm feeling that pull towards the tarot again.

As a personal card today the 2 of Swords has me asking myself what am I protecting myself from? What don’t I want to see? What don’t I want to feel?

It's time for me to look within to find those answers. It's time to put some sad, dark times behind me and look towards the future.


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