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Alchemical Study Group - Ace of Swords

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Alchemical Study Group - Ace of Swords


A basilisk (a serpent with a cock's head) is entwined around a sword, upright in the air, which is its element. A bird is startled by the sight, and hovers, suspended. The sword's hilt ends in a crystal ball. The sword's guard shows a winged spade, which represents the modern playing card suit sign of spades and the element of air.

In mythology, the basilisk is a symbol of wisdom, and is often shown devouring a human. To the ancients, to be devoured by wisdom wasa symbol of enlightenment, or gnosis; it represented initiation into the mysteries. The basilisk also is related to the all-powerful Gnostic god Abraxas, ruler of magic and spiritual powers in the universe, who is portrayed in art as having the head of a cock or lion and the body of a man with legs that terminated in serpents or scorpions. In Christianity, the basilisk became a symbol of the Devil. But, as we have learned from alchemy, we have to go through the Devil (darkness) to gain wisdom. The intellect alone is not enough to gain wisdom. Intellect must confront the unconscious, and the two must be integrated. This integration is represented by the basilisk itself.

Tarot wisdom: You are blessed by the beginning of something new in the intellect: an idea, a positive direction, enthusiasm, profound thinking, or originality. The message also relates to the intellectual process that helps to bring creativity and inspiration into the physical plane.
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Excellent!

More on the mythical creature

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More Basilisk Links


I can't see a Basilisk with out thinking about D&D. I know they are supposed to be horid but I think they are cute.

In European bestiaries and legends, a basilisk (from the Greek βασιλίσκος basiliskos, a little king, in Latin Regulus) is a legendary reptile reputed to be king of serpents and said to have the power of causing death by a single glance. (From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basilisk)

http://www.eaudrey.com/myth/basilisks.htm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leisa
I can't see a Basilisk with out thinking about D&D. I know they are supposed to be horid but I think they are cute.

In European bestiaries and legends, a basilisk (from the Greek βασιλίσκος basiliskos, a little king, in Latin Regulus) is a legendary reptile reputed to be king of serpents and said to have the power of causing death by a single glance. (From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basilisk)

http://www.eaudrey.com/myth/basilisks.htm
Well I'm older that D&D do that's not where my first thoughts go
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Well this is certainly an interesting card. I've always had trouble with the Aces, but I notice in this deck they have a great deal more symbolism than in many decks which is great.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leisa
In mythology, the basilisk is a symbol of wisdom, and is often shown devouring a human. To the ancients, to be devoured by wisdom wasa symbol of enlightenment, or gnosis; it represented initiation into the mysteries.
So does the ace represent the beginning of something that may lead to enlightenment?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leisa
The intellect alone is not enough to gain wisdom. Intellect must confront the unconscious, and the two must be integrated. This integration is represented by the basilisk itself.
This is really interesting.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leisa
The message also relates to the intellectual process that helps to bring creativity and inspiration into the physical plane.
So normally the Ace of Swords indicates beginnings as far as ideas go but this takes it further and suggests that it's using our intellect in order to manifest our creativity and inspiration. And then perhaps in turn this can lead to the gaining of true wisdom as indicated by the basilisk.

And is the bird flying startled by the sight of the basilisk because it's glance is said to be able to kill, because it's so ugly, or something else? Why do you think it's there? I think I need to spend a bit more time with this card because I have more questions that I do comments
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The more I learn about this card, the more I like it. Thanks for all the links to the basilisk information. (I've never come across this creature before) I love from the Encyclopedia Mythica: "The only way to kill a basilisk is by holding a mirror in front of its eyes, while avoiding to look directly at it. The moment the creature sees its own reflection, it will die of fright."

I haven't fully worked out what this means to me. But it reminds me of the phrase "know thyself". But when the basilisk becomes aware of itself (by looking in the mirror) - it dies. What does it mean to look in the mirror? Is the basilisk becoming self-conscious rather than self aware?

Which makes me think that there is a warning here about the difference between true wisdom and shallow thought. Perhaps: The intellect is a tool, so use it wisely. I always think of tools as being neutral, it's their usage that transforms them. A knife (sword) can cut bread, assist in surgery or stab someone - literally and figuratively - how will you apply your Ace of Swords?

I very much like the idea that this sword is like a very powerful gift you have been given in a game (sticking with the D and D idea) and you have to choose how you will use it later on.

One more thought about the basilisk - I love the fact that anything powerful always has a weakness.
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I really love your ideas about this card taniatingel Thanks for sharing. I especially like the idea of the Sword being a powerful gift we need to choose how to use.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leisa
To the ancients, to be devoured by wisdom wasa symbol of enlightenment, or gnosis; it represented initiation into the mysteries. The basilisk also is related to the all-powerful Gnostic god Abraxas, ruler of magic and spiritual powers in the universe, who is portrayed in art as having the head of a cock or lion and the body of a man with legs that terminated in serpents or scorpions. In Christianity, the basilisk became a symbol of the Devil.
There is an interesting idea out that says that The Church wished to suppress knowledge so that people will only see what The Church wished them to see. In light of this Lucifer, the snake of Eden, and other knowledge bringing creatures/people were suppressed or classified as 'evil'.

That is one reason why only Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were picked for the Bible rather than the other testaments (Thomas, Judas, and Mary to name three) were suppressed. (They all have elements that contradict the 4 Gospels.)
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The basilisk in this image reminds me of the Rainbow Serpent.

From Wikipedia:
Quote:
"Dreamtime stories tell of the great Spirits during creation, in animal and human form they molded the barren and featureless earth. The Rainbow Serpent came from beneath the ground and created huge ridges, mountains and gorges as it pushed upward"
Imagine the sword with entwined serpent emerging from underground and thrusting forth into the air, startling the poor unsuspecting bird!

Perhaps there is something in this image relating to the Logos or creative power of the Word. Place's Ace of Swords seems to me quite creational in nature...

From Leisa's Post:
Quote:
The message also relates to the intellectual process that helps to bring creativity and inspiration into the physical plane.
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Wasn't there a basilisk in one of the Harry Potter movies/books? And didn't he kill it with a sword?
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