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Six of Swords

Six of Swords

Swords represent the element of air, thought and intillect and are therefore represented by Mercury (which may be relevent according to this morning’s correspondences as Mercury shifts into the sign of Virgo at 5:51 a.m. US Central time, approximately one hour from now. Incidentally, Mercury is Virgo’s ruling planet, so it’s a “homecoming” of sorts cosmically speaking. I’ve a lot to learn yet about the dance of the planets, so just ’cause I’m stating the facts does not mean I know exactly what it means *smirk*). 

Although represented by swords and thought, the image in the Six of Swords card shows three people in a boat traveling by water, and water represents emotions.  Could it be time to change the way I think about how I feel? How am I navigating the journey where thoughts and feelings merge? Perhaps it’s time to be led by the mind instead of the heart, or to find a way for the two to peacefully merge. Mercury, Virgo, and Swords indicate a more analytical energy.

There’s a change of direction in this card, if not a physical relocation or journey, then a complete change in perspective.  Now is the time to navigate, to take control, to “row the boat to shore”.  Because there are two additional people in this card, it indicates a sense of responsibility, an awareness that the actions taken by the quarrent will have consequences that affect others.

This makes me think of what I’d written last night about making sure my children feel secure and as though they’re on solid ground after such a difficult year of change.

Sixes represent the ability to reach above and beyond what seems like reality in order to tap into a higher source of strength, inspiration, and universal wisdom.  The round belly of a six represents the earth, and the arm extending beyond that round belly is the quarrent’s ability to reach out to the heavens and grab a handful of magick to bring down to earth.

Here’s what the sources say:

From Solitary Witch: Book of Shadows for the Next Generation by Silver Raven Wolf:

Moving away from illness, pain, or sorrow; recovery; taking action to overcome one’s problems; better times ahead so keep going; a journey often planned due to unhappy circumstances; the need to “get away”.

Here’s from LearnTarot.com:

feeling the blues
experiencing a low-level sadness
just keeping your head above water
working to get through the day
feeling somewhat depressed
avoiding the lows, but also the highs
feeling listless
functioning, but not much more 
recovering
dealing with the effects of trauma
getting over a tough time
picking up the pieces
starting to cope
beginning to get your health back
heading toward a more positive place
feeling hope again 
traveling
changing location
moving from one place to another
taking a trip
experiencing a change of scene
being uprooted
going on a journey
entering into a new frame of mind

At one point in The Pilgrim’s Progress, the hero Christian (who is also on a Fool’s Journey) becomes mired in the Slough of Despond. He struggles for a time until drawn out by Help. Help tells him that “…many fears, and doubts, and discouraging apprehensions…settle in this place.”

The Slough of Despond is a good name for the Six of Swords. Sometimes this card represents a dull, listless state. Nothing is seriously wrong, but nothing is really right either. You’re getting by, but not thriving. In the picture the figures in the boat seem sad and disengaged. Life is indeed uninteresting when we feel the blues.

In a more positive vein, the Six of Swords can indicate recovery. This is especially true when you have just experienced a tough time or psychological blow. During the crisis, you felt numb and disconnected; nothing mattered at all. Now you are beginning to heal and pick up the pieces of your life. The travelers in our boat are at least moving forward. They are headed toward a new place, even if they are not yet ready to eagerly embrace those shores.

In fact, the Six of Swords can indicate travel and moves of all kinds. This could mean an actual change of scene, relocation or trip, but not necessarily. A journey can also take place on the inner planes as we move from one frame of mind to another.

Although the Six of Swords does not promise great joy, it also avoids the depths of despair. A slough is not a bottomless pit, but simply a hollow or depression. When you see this card, know that even though the situation is not ideal, you are moving toward a more positive place. Change is in the air, and new, more hopeful conditions lie ahead.

And from Aeclectic Tarot:

SIXES

Sixes are balance and harmony, especially after the upsets of the fives. These cards predict a solution, and not just any solution; there will be an exchange, a give and take that results in a new equilibrium. It may not last, but for that moment, everything is stable. With this card, there is an almost “Ah-HA!” of recognition, of understanding in the solution, and more than a little awe at the symmetry achieved by it.

If you connect the sixes to the Lovers card you’ll see how it works. The “love” aspect of the Lovers card is that of recognition and equilibrium. Like Gemini, you recognize your twin, your soul mate. Maybe you didn’t even know how uneven, how lopsided your life was, but now that you’ve met this person, you can feel the scales coming into balance. Here is harmony. Here is the solution.

Six of Swords

A boat of swords being ferried across a river with a woman as passenger. The classic Rider-Waite meaning is that one is leaving difficulties behind. A trip or change of scene may be the answer to restoring balance here. But there is more to it than this. In relation to the mind, ideas and words of the sword suit, this is also about finding a solution to math problems and brain twisters, not just troubles. The ferryman may signal help here, a silent partner (a reference book or internet website perhaps?) who helps you row your way toward the other shore…and THERE is the answer, a way to make your idea, your argument, your formula work smoothly, perfectly, beautifully. Also, of course, a card about trips by boat.

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Six of Cups

Six of Cups

The six of cups suggests that it’s time to review patters and cycles – patterns and cycles that most likely were established early on in life. This card reminds me of a karmic loop.  When we find that we keep landing in the same place over and over, it’s easy to understand that we’re landing where we are because we’re following the exact same patterns and cycles.  If we want to land in a different place, we have to change the pattern, start a new cycle. 

Because the card is cups, we can associate it with emotions, planning, and spirituality – so the cycles and patterns are most likely connected to how/why we feel the way we do, how we handle our relationships, and our deeper, spiritual view of life or belief systems.

As it applies to me directly, one example of this card’s meaning could reflect the amount of time, energy, and effort I’ve put into romantic love and relationships – and why, in spite of my investments, the relationships I’ve had prior to now haven’t worked out.  There’s a pattern in it… is it that I’ve been choosing the same type of partners?  Have I been expecting too much from my relationships? Could I have a skewed understanding of how partnerships are meant to work?  Recent writings of mine would indicate that my core problem is that I had a complete misunderstanding of Love itself – and that I confused it with all sorts of other thoughts and feelings, including co-dependency, attention, sex, or other life circumstances/lessons that had nothing to do with true love. If I want this cycle of “lost love” and failed relationships to end, then I have to break the pattern and make sure that I’m giving and receiving genuine love with a partner with whom I’m well suited.

The six of cups also represents a possible mentor, teacher, or role model from the past – from early years, possibly childhood.  In the past, I’ve always viewed that possible mentor as a good teacher, a happy memory, or someone we’d choose to be like – but in this morning’s reflections, in relation to the example I’ve given of failed relationships, I can look back into the past and account for an ancestral trend.  My grandmother has been married seven times.  My mother has been married four times and had several long-term, live in relationships wherein she never got married.  My father has been married several times… and neither one of my parents are currently in relationships, nor do I recall either of them ever having a healthy relationship. The only examples I’ve had, aside from Aunt P and Uncle H who have been married as long as I’ve known them (nearly thirty years), are of failed relationships and of illusions of love vs. genuine love.

When we look at a number six, we see a big round belly, and an arm extending over the top.  The big round belly, to me, represents the earthy plane – reality as we know it, the “real” world, so to speak.  The arm extending beyond that is indicative of our ability to reach beyond the limitations of this reality, tap into a higher power – a Universal Wisdom -, grab a handful of that magick, and bring it down to earth.  It’s a number of trancendence – reaching beyond the obvious to grab hold of something more.  In this case, it could simply be the awareness of patterns and how to break them.

Let’s take a look at what the other sources say.

Here’s from Solitary Witch: Book of Shadows for the Next Generation by Silver Raven Wolf:

“Living in the past; not willing to let the past go; the study of history or geneology; a discovery about the past; meeting someone from your past; learning about a legacy; a gift from an admirer (usually supported by other cards), nostalgia; the possibility of a lover returning (again, look at surrounding cards). Actions of the past bear emotional fruit in the present; sentimental journey.”

Here’s from LearnTarot.com:

experiencing good will
acting kindly or charitably
doing a good turn for another
sharing what you have
having a noble impulse
receiving a gift
feeling blessed
being well-intentioned
 
enjoying innocence
feeling simple contentment
surrounding yourself with goodness
being blissfully unaware
having a clear conscience
shunning corruption
being acquitted
appreciating simple joys
 
focusing on childhood
being with a child or young person
feeling carefree
being taken care of
feeling nostalgic
indulging in play
enjoying youthful activities
having a baby

In the film Parenthood there is a scene in which all the members of a large family come together to witness a birth. As the camera moves from person to person, we see as if for the first time the uniqueness of each one. The people talk and laugh, but suddenly their actions seem anything but ordinary. There is a sweetness in the air that builds until we see its very embodiment – the new baby. This is the spirit of the Six of Cups.

It is a truism that there is violence, anger and mean-spiritedness in the world. Certainly there is enough of this, but there is also much good will and caring. A mother hands a drink to her child. A friend lends his car for the weekend. A worker fills in for a sick colleague. Small gestures, barely noticed, but so important. The Six of Cups is a card of simple goodness. It encourages you to be kind, generous and forgiving.

The Six of Cups also represents innocence – a word with many shades of meaning. You can be innocent in the strictly legal sense of lack of guilt. You can be innocent of the truth – unaware of some secret. You can be lacking in deceit or corruption – innocent of ulterior motive. Finally, you can be virtuous or chaste. These are all possibilities that can apply to the Six of Cups, depending on the situation.

Notice that the two figures on the Six of Cups appear to be children. Often this card represents a baby or young child. In a larger sense, it embraces all of childhood and the feelings we associate with youth (ideally!) – being carefree, playful, secure and loved. Children are our treasure, and the sweetness of the Six of Cups is a quality to be treasured as well.

And from Aeclectic Tarot:

SIXES

Sixes are balance and harmony, especially after the upsets of the fives. These cards predict a solution, and not just any solution; there will be an exchange, a give and take that results in a new equilibrium. It may not last, but for that moment, everything is stable. With this card, there is an almost “Ah-HA!” of recognition, of understanding in the solution, and more than a little awe at the symmetry achieved by it.

If you connect the sixes to the Lovers card you’ll see how it works. The “love” aspect of the Lovers card is that of recognition and equilibrium. Like Gemini, you recognize your twin, your soul mate. Maybe you didn’t even know how uneven, how lopsided your life was, but now that you’ve met this person, you can feel the scales coming into balance. Here is harmony. Here is the solution.

Six of Cups

Two children among six flowering cups. There is a great deal of rich and complex symbolism in this card, but in a nutshell, it is a frozen moment of perfect balance, the boy and the girl both touching that one cup with the flower in it. I like to think of this as taking place in early spring, still cold enough for the girl to wear mittens, but warm enough for the first flowers to have blossomed. The girl, possibly accepting the flower, looks up and sees the boy, and he, perhaps giving the flower, sees her as well. Perhaps, on that cup, their hands touch for the first time. It is a charming moment of recognition, of puppy love. The meaning of this card refers to a moment of nostalgia, of something or someone from our past coming back into our life. Given an old photo, or an invitation to a school reunion, we get, in return, a memory of harmony. Perhaps we meet with a friend, relative or teacher we haven’t seen in years and the exchange of memories restores to us past love, past balance. We rediscover lost equilibrium and a solution that we could never have found in the present.

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