Something that has been rolling around in my head...

Discussions of the arcane symbols of Tarot and other decks
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Symbols appear on each and every tarot card - visual signs that convey meaning. Some of them are highly individual and personal, others time-honored and traditional. Some are easy to understand, others difficult and multivalent. In this forum, we want to study symbols from different decks, traditions and cultures together using books, websites, lwbs and our own intuition.
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2dogs
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Re: Something that has been rolling around in my head...

Post by 2dogs » 21 Jul 2017, 10:43

Thirteen wrote:
20 Jul 2017, 14:35
Wood as fire: Argument is that fire represents passion and temper, and the "stick" was the common weapon of people impassioned or in a temper. Also it looks more like an actual, um, phallaic organ than a swords and fire relates to passionate sex and male orgasm.
Hence the saying "the ***** mightier than the sword" ;) .
If the Lord Almighty had consulted me before embarking on creation thus, I should have recommended something simpler. Alfonso X (the Wise)

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Thirteen
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Re: Something that has been rolling around in my head...

Post by Thirteen » 21 Jul 2017, 16:51

2dogs wrote:
21 Jul 2017, 10:43
Hence the saying "the ***** mightier than the sword" ;) .
Heh. I don't think a pen would be any more satisfying (or less dangerous with that pointy end) than a sword :32(20): But there are certain, um, ladies' sex toys made of smooth, polished wood that look an awful lot like those fiery wands in some tarot decks. :32(17): Which is what that particular argument for Wands as Fire is all about. The pen may be mightier than the sword, but actions speak louder than words. And "Fire" is the element of action.
Last edited by Thirteen on 23 Jul 2017, 12:53, edited 1 time in total.
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Arcange
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Re: Something that has been rolling around in my head...

Post by Arcange » 21 Jul 2017, 17:11

It's so nice to see Thirteen here.
Channel K loves U :grin:

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Charlie Brown
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Re: Something that has been rolling around in my head...

Post by Charlie Brown » 21 Jul 2017, 17:44

The sword, iiuc, was also an elite weapon used by the nobility and the more preeminent warriors. These types of people were fighting for ideas (even if just the idea of loyalty to their lord) rather than just out of anger or to further their personal will.
Charlie Brown
—“I’ve developed a new philosophy. I only dread one day at a time.”

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Thirteen
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Re: Something that has been rolling around in my head...

Post by Thirteen » 23 Jul 2017, 12:49

Charlie Brown wrote:
21 Jul 2017, 17:44
The sword, iiuc, was also an elite weapon used by the nobility and the more preeminent warriors. These types of people were fighting for ideas (even if just the idea of loyalty to their lord) rather than just out of anger or to further their personal will.
A good point. Using a sword took a lot of training, a lot of money, and, yeah, you couldn't be just anyone off the street. They took a lot of time to make, and had to be perfectly balanced and maintained. So, usually, if you got mad at someone around the castle, you didn't pick up your precious, expensive sword (you wouldn't want to nick that!), you just picked up a stick like everyone else. You saved that sword for the jousting ring, or the battlefield.

Swords were also elegant, sharp, precision weapons. When Anne Boleyn was to die, a French executioner was sent for. Regular executioners used an axe and, um, they weren't always so neat and tidy. But this executioner used a sword, and it did the beheading job very quickly and precisely. We tend to think of tv and movie where every man has a sword and goes into battle stabbing and slicing in a rage. But, really, there was an "art" to the use of swords, and even to this day, an art to using well made blades from chefs knives to scalpels.

When I think about the sword as a work of art, using it as skill as refined as ballet, with the importance of balance in the weapon and in the weirder, I think of the Zodiac air sign Libra, of all thing. Justice with that sword, all about balance, precision, exactitude. I don't think of Leo, Sag. or Aries, the fire signs.

Up through the 18th century, long after swords had given way to guns, gentlemen who went to a court, wore swords at their sides. Didn't matter if they knew how to use them or not, they were status symbols. There are stories of men who felt embarrassed to speak with a king and not have a sword at their side, even if they were fat diplomats who'd never fought in their lives. I think, when discussing the Swords, we do a disservice to the suit when we only think of Game-of-Thrones armored guys beating up other armored guys :32(1):
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Ncharge
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Re: Something that has been rolling around in my head...

Post by Ncharge » 08 Aug 2017, 14:56

For me, a pagan, the wands as fire and swords as air makes sense.

Did you ever have a new idea or new attitude that was like a "breath of fresh air" to your mind and your life? Were you ever confused and rather lost in your head only to step outside and have that air hit your face and clear your mind? And did a new idea or attitude you discover cut to the heart of an issue and maybe, to your heart as well? And did your attitudes ever cut someone else badly as you flung them around? This is air and swords. Ideas, thoughts, act like the wind - they either blow away the dust and pollution and freshen the mind or they swirl like a tornado and suck up dirt and things that shouldn't be there. And like the sword, ideas can cut people (including the person with the ideas), issues, problems, etc. Swords are all about our ideas and what we do with them and how they effect us and our world.

And wands are wood - living trees, one with the earth, growing without check. Like our avocations grow without check. They burn us. An artist HAS to create art - it burns in him and grows from everything he sees and experiences. Fire may mold metal into swords, but that is just application of the element. Fire burns at our core. We can be a small happy dancing flame or a raging forest fire, but we burn and that is the energy we put out into the world. Sit in front of a fireplace and feel how hungry/happy/angry/energetic fire is. That is us. Wands are all about that fire in us.

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Pleiades
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Re: Something that has been rolling around in my head...

Post by Pleiades » 04 Sep 2017, 03:30

I was raised a Pagan and have strong associations with the usual fire - wands etc, but the bottom line is this is all arbitrary. The elements make for powerful symbols and in tarot a very useful shorthand for assigning meanings to pip cards.

Dawn Jackson's cartomancy method for playing cards has
coins - fire
spades - earth
hearts - water
clubs - air
so we have another variation.

Some methods with reading tarot or playing cards use no elements at all, and just what the object represents.
Swords- cutting, dividing, fighting
coins - paying, exchanging, acquiring
cups - drinking, sharing pleasurable times,
batons - striking, building

Instead of elements they have expansive/contractive and fast/slow qualities.

Because I am using the RW deck, Marseilles and playing cards I need to move between different models for the elements, so they have had to become background to other ways of understanding the suits.
All the stories I have ever heard and am yet to hear are alive in me, all at once, and at all times.

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SteveGus
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Re: Something that has been rolling around in my head...

Post by SteveGus » 15 Sep 2017, 22:57

Charlie Brown wrote:
21 Jul 2017, 17:44
The sword, iiuc, was also an elite weapon used by the nobility and the more preeminent warriors. These types of people were fighting for ideas (even if just the idea of loyalty to their lord) rather than just out of anger or to further their personal will.
Yes. And, the four elements also relate to the ancient quadripartite division of society you see repeated through Indo-European cultures, from the Indian idea of varna to Plato's Republic:

The Swords represent nobility, the military class;
The Cups represent the clergy, the class of priests and sages;
The Batons represent the peasantry, the people who work with the soil;
The Coins represent the merchants and traders.

One difficulty is in that in Aristotelian physics, the elements are self-sorting, and sort themselves in a different order:

Fire is the lightest and on top of them all. The ancients believed that the atmosphere contained a sphere of pure fire above the sphere of air.
Air is the next highest, and forms the atmosphere;
Water is next to the bottom, beneath the air; and
Earth is the lowest of them all, beneath the water.

This generally doesn't make the Tarot order comport with the presumed hierarchy of the basic social classes.
Le beau valet de coeur et la dame de pique
Causent sinistrement de leurs amours défunts.

- Baudelaire

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Abrac
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Re: Something that has been rolling around in my head...

Post by Abrac » 22 Sep 2017, 12:25

It goes back to Éliphas Lévi, and the Golden Dawn; it may even have its roots in Etteilla. It has to do with Kabbalah and the Tetragammaton (YHVH). The traditional GD pattern is the one most people use but nothing says its written in stone. There is a logic behind it though based in Kabbalah.

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LadyKathryn
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Re: Something that has been rolling around in my head...

Post by LadyKathryn » 26 Sep 2017, 19:58

i kind of find the cards switch elements mid suit. ...

ie 8 of wands is often about fast moving communication.. someone reaching out.. it's ACTIVE.. action... and i usually see the 8 of wands as email or text messages... communication ...wands air.

but the 8 of swords i see as fear- your mind holding you hostage. again swords... emotion of a sence.. mental yes.. but really aren't all emotions mental


7of swords as being afraid of being vulnerable. swords emotion

ace of wands.. creative spark.. creation.. is it fire? or is it mental?
i actually see pentacles as spiritual.. not actually earth, 7 of pents is a time of needing a virtue... patience
8 of pents is active to me... working.. aprenticeship. wouldn't that be both active and mental.

I try not to get hung up on the suit of the card, and more of what each one means to me. if that makes sense?

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