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The Maat Study Group 8 of Swords


8 of Swords: New moon in Sagittarius

This arcana depicts an American flag pierced with 8 bloody swords. A young nude woman, seated among the swords, has taken one corner of the flag and draped it over her head. She holds it in place by stretching the fabric across her face and anchoring it with her hands which also cover her ears. A fabric star is over her forehead and one eye. She seems to be looking ahead and perhaps slightly upward. Above her head is what I first took to be the explosion of a fusion weapon but which is in fact the distant Sombrero galaxy dramatically magnified. Above the woman’s left shoulder is a bright star; other, smaller stars and constellations together with the night sky form the background.

So, what were your impressions when you first looked at Maat's 8 of Swords?

Myself, I said, “Oho, what have we here? The poster girl for Move On? This is going to be an easy week because there’s not much I can say about that.”

Which is precisely how the 8 of Swords can operate: it can check one’s ability to think. Look at the high-lighted words: “American flag” “pierced” “bloody swords” “young nude woman” “flag. . .draped” and “fusion weapon,” all of which are reasonably accurate descriptive phrases for the Maat’s 8 of Swords. And they’re highly inflamatory. They evoke emotional responses about politics, patriotism, and how women who are physically beautiful should be portayed. They put the reader/viewer right into the space occupied by the self-blinded woman. If your response was one of righteous endorsement or of furious outrage, then you were blinkered. THINK!!

How to interpret the Maat’s 8 of Swords? Well, obviously, it’s an easy metaphor for self delusion even without the political overtones. A young woman has worked herself into a very tight spot by looking no farther than the veil she has placed over her face. That the veil is a flag doesn’t matter. It could be anything. Moreover, she’s looking up toward a sky she cannot see, not down at the swords that are about to cut her. Further, she may be cut off from her “Strength” since she cannot see the low, bright star over her shoulder. ( In fact, she may be turned away from the sky altogether; we simply can’t tell.) With her nudity and graceful posture and with all the stars about, she reminds me of “The Star” in the traditional RWS. And therefore, oddly, of hope—as we sometimes find with people whose ideas are obviously killing them, but who survive after all by some grace that neither they nor we can see, but that they seem to sense despite all the barriers they erect. Which brings to mind another possibility I’d like to play with.

This interpretation is definitely perverse, but I’m going ahead because it allows me to make an observation about one thing that the Maat and RWS have in common: both picture women who have survived intimate contact with swords, and both women have survived without so much as a nick. RWS’s blindfolded and bound woman has managed to negotiate her way past 7 of the 8 swords and is on track to miss the last one. The only thing she has to worry about is the possibly slippery path that might sling her into misfortune. The Maat’s woman is in a more precarious position. She’s uncut so far, but if she moves her arms to take the flag off or if she tries to get up and leave the scene without removing the flag, she’s likely to suffer damage. So even if she did get herself into the mess she’s in, perhaps she cannot so easily leave it.

What sort of advice might she seek?
We see her weaknesses. What is her strength? Can she "see" in darkness?
Might the pagan notion of “ as above, so below” have any application to this arcana?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greycats
So, what were your impressions when you first looked at Maat's 8 of Swords?

Might the pagan notion of “ as above, so below” have any application to this arcana?
My first impression of this card invoke thoughts like 'blindly exposed'.

We know the 8 represents the solid base, but it appears to represent a base build on the intellect of surpression, misconception and false fear.

Sometimes we find ourselves restrained by our environment, which invokes rebellion. Other times, outside influences are imposed and sometimes imposed aggressively. Even when rebellion takes place, the bigger, stonger force prevails in the intellectual and physical realm because they have the resources (i.e. plenty of swords).

The presence of the flag envokes thoughts of politics and current policy, and makes it difficult to ignore the political congitation of this card. So...

The bloody swords, stabbing the flag, could represent the attack imposed on a belief system...and the woman (goddess, feminine, mother) sits exposed to it, but tries to turn a blind eye by hiding behind the blue...she is horrified to watch it unfold, but has no power to stop it...

So yes, 'as above, so below' or even 'do unto other as you would have them do unto you'.

To really put this card in perspective, Greycat really hit on something...it's about survival..and and really speaks to me about taking caution when 'exposing or imposing' ones own truth on others without taking the blinders off ones own eyes first to ensure you fully understand the impact which may unfold.

This card really invokes emotion in me and takes me all over the map so to speak when it comes to interpretation...a powerful and challenging card.

Good studying..G.

Quote:
Originally Posted by http://www.newmoontradingco.com/moon/fullmoongemini.htm
In a Reading: This card represents a person who is brain washed, unable to see his or her own circumstance for what it is, as well as a disconnection from the intuitive self there is also a sense of danger where no danger exists. Self policing

Traditional tarot meaning: imprisonment, a feeling of being trapped whether this real or imagined, a person held back by their culture.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gayla
We know the 8 represents the solid base, but it appears to represent a base build on the intellect of surpression, misconception and false fear.
Yes, it's a pretty good trap. I nearly fell into it, myself. The 8's are a good base, but good for what? In this case they're good for hemming someone in.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gayla
The presence of the flag envokes thoughts of politics and current policy, and makes it difficult to ignore the political congitation of this card. So....
The presence of the flag and the blood, etc. can cause you to react without thinking. You can get cut that way, or you might hurt somebody else. (The keyword for this lunar cycle is "think")

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gayla
The bloody swords, stabbing the flag, could represent the attack imposed on a belief system...and the woman (goddess, feminine, mother) sits exposed to it, but tries to turn a blind eye by hiding behind the blue...she is horrified to watch it unfold, but has no power to stop it...
I never thought of looking at the card that way. I guess I saw too many Vietnam protest demonstrations during the Sixties & Seventies. But I like it. It's a new take on an old interpretation of the arcana which places responsibility not on the woman (she's the victim) but on outside factors. You're extending the range of interpretation, which I think is always good.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gayla
So yes, 'as above, so below' or even 'do unto other as you would have them do unto you'.
Indeed! It also relates the 8 Swords, a minor arcana, to Strength, which is the major arcana influencing this lunar cycle. (There's a thread on Strength as well) The astrological influence is Gemini, so there are a lot of pairs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gayla
To really put this card in perspective, Greycat really hit on something...it's about survival..and and really speaks to me about taking caution when 'exposing or imposing' ones own truth on others without taking the blinders off ones own eyes first to ensure you fully understand the impact which may unfold.

This card really invokes emotion in me and takes me all over the map so to speak when it comes to interpretation...a powerful and challenging card.

Good studying..G.
Thanks! I like this card, too. I could write about it forever. In fact, I almost did.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greycats
I never thought of looking at the card that way. I guess I saw too many Vietnam protest demonstrations during the Sixties & Seventies. But I like it. It's a new take on an old interpretation of the arcana which places responsibility not on the woman (she's the victim) but on outside factors. You're extending the range of interpretation, which I think is always good.
Interesting...our perceptions of this card are most definetly influenced by our past. Yours, by the war protest. And, mine, but my years spent overseas where I was exposed to a heavy dose of the anti-american sentiment in other cultures.


Quote:
Originally Posted by greycats
The presence of the flag and the blood, etc. can cause you to react without thinking. You can get cut that way, or you might hurt somebody else. (The keyword for this lunar cycle is "think")
And yes, the flag (not just U.S. flag, but any flag) and blood are extremely powerful symbols which envoke reactive emotion.

It's hard to look at this card and not react emotionally...it's almost like the Death, if you don't understand this card coming in...your going react...I am very interested to see how a seeker will react to it in a reading.

I haven't offered or used the MAAT for readings as of yet, because I feel the deck needs a good, thorough study before I do...it's such a powerful deck.

Greycats, are you planning on attenting the MAAT conf in July?
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I noticed that the part of the flag over her head had a star at the level of her face. I wonder if it echo the star of the sky.
Of course, she really is in a difficult position. She thread literaly on swords. I think the two angled swords are the most dangerous, being the closest to her.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gayla
And yes, the flag (not just U.S. flag, but any flag) and blood are extremely powerful symbols which envoke reactive emotion.

It's hard to look at this card and not react emotionally...it's almost like the Death, if you don't understand this card coming in...your going react...I am very interested to see how a seeker will react to it in a reading.
Yes, it's one of those double-edged things that swords do. It's supposed to be a thinking suit, but there's a definite emotional "edge." I was thinking how I might manage that. In some circumstances when I think the querent might react emotionally, I might say something like, "now, there's a trick to this card sometimes--let's see what happens. . ." Then the person begins to look for the trick, which engages the mind. I don't do this on majors, but on unhappy minors, especially swords, it provides a different focus.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gayla
Greycats, are you planning on attenting the MAAT conf in July?
I'm not sure, but probably not. I've already offered to give my son and his wife a break from the kids in May so they can celebrate their anniversary. They live on the east coast far from Texas. The main expense is time: we're on a small but working ranch and one can only be gone so long. Tho, I'm not ruling it out, yet.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by annik
I noticed that the part of the flag over her head had a star at the level of her face. I wonder if it echo the star of the sky..
I believe the star on the flag does indeed echo the stars in the sky--especially, perhaps, the bright star that's behind the woman and to her left. There's a couple of ways to interpret that echo.

1) You could say that the star in the sky is part of Nature and the star on the flag is artificial. Then she would need to see the star in the sky in order to know what to do because heavenly stars guide lost people. But she cannot see it because she has covered her face with the flag's artificial star which will not guide her.

2) Or you could say that the star on the flag represents people nearby and the star in the sky represents something very far away that does not care and cannot help. Then, by looking at the flag star, she is looking for help from people because the star on the flag represents a state in the U.S. whose Constitution begins "We, the people." So, instead of looking at a star very far away in the sky, she looks to people close by her to help her or to show her what to do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by annik
Of course, she really is in a difficult position. She thread literaly on swords. I think the two angled swords are the most dangerous, being the closest to her.
Yes, I agree. What do you make of those swords, the angled ones? Were those two swords aiming for her, do you think? Really trying to get her instead of just being on the scene like the other six?

Or is it that threats with "angles" are more dangerous than threats that are straightforward?

It's an interesting detail. Thank you for mentioning it.
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MAAT Study group 8 of Swords last card for this suit


New moon in Sagittarius on Wednesday- I accidentally posted this to the forum but here goes again...

Well folks we have made it through the entire suit of Swords. The new moon in Sagittarius is this Wednesday.(8 of Swords) Just a few hours later the moon moves into Capricorn this may mean we have some influence from the 10 of Wands as well.
Any thoughts on the blending of the energies between the 8 of Swords and the 10 of Wands. Funny that in traditional tarot the 10 of wands is known to not be able to 'see' where they are going because of the burdens he or she carries. I guess the difference between the 8 and the 10 seems to be movement and struggle for the 10 and paralysing fear to move for the 8. They both can't seem to see what is going on.
Seems somewhat appropriate for the darkest days of winter. Both being in the dark. The 8 is afraid to look or move and the 10 can't see but is maybe trying to see and muscling on regardless, with the need to keep moving forward. My husband has a Capricorn moon and he is like that, he seems to need to keep moving sometimes I think he only stops when he is asleep.

Friday's Winter Solstice opens the suit of Wands. The dark moon coupled with the dark sun signals an ending followed by a new beginning. This is an interesting opportunity to have the dark sun so close to the dark moon. This could be a signal for a whole year of new beginnings. We should note that this is special and does not happen every year.
Julie
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Maat tarot IDS


Card/Number: 8 of Swords/15

Card Image: see attached

First Impression: Wow! Love this version of the 8 of swords! For once, a card that addresses a fundamental truth- the person who binds us most, is ourselves.

Card Description: A naked young woman kneels between 8 swords. She is holding an American flag over her face and head, the bottom of the flag pooling on the floor around her, pierced by the swords. The star of the flag rests on her face, a poor substitute to the real starry night that surrounds her, with a galaxy of light shimmering above her head.

Masculine/Feminine/Neutral: neutral

Colors: black, red, white and blue

Senses: The cloth darkens all around you, muffling the noises of the atmosphere. You smell the stale air that has been trapped inside and taste your own tears and fear as you sit, hiding from the unknown. You feel helpless, trapped.

Symbols: star on the flag, covered face, swords, stars and galaxy in the sky

Story (intuitive): I sigh deeply as I hear the young woman's quiet sobs. I walk quietly over to her, and gently touch her shoulder, speaking to her in a low voice to keep from startling her. "Let me help you." She cries softly, barely audible, "I am trapped.". I look at the young woman, and tell her gently, "No, you are not trapped. All you have to do is let go of the flag, you will see yourself then that you can go free.". But she doesn't hear my words, and sits there crying softly. "Why won't she let it go? Doesn't she realize that she is binding herself?" I ask softly. I hear footsteps behind me, a quiet voice follows, "It is not that easy for her love", my trickster consort replies, "And don't be a hypocrite, it was not that long ago that you yourself sat in the same spot, suffocating yourself with your own flag.". I nod thoughtfully, he is right. There is no shame in it, just a sad remembrance. And I feel sorry for the girl and hope that soon she is able to lift her blindfold, as I did. And suddenly I was reminded of a very wise man I had once heard speak of the tragic deaths and parallels of Jim Morrison and Kurt Cobain, prompting him to write a song in their eulogy. He had told of how sometimes life becomes too overwhelming, and all you see is a black hole of despair. The hole grows, bigger and more massive, until it overtakes you- drowning out your vision of other possibilities and life, blindfolding you to what is truly there. You escape by whatever means that you can, whatever lifeline you have left- and for some, that is death. How to remove the blindfold, how to escape the black hole- he asked, only through love. And this prompted the lyrics to his song...

I stay driven cause there's nowhere to park,
I can't shut my eyes, I'm afraid of the Dark,
I lie awake, that stone left me chilled to the bone,
sound the alarm before it's done, find Jim Morrison.

Come away to Paris, let him see another day.
Let him fade out slowly, only fools burn away,
let a true love show him what a heart can become.
Somebody find Jim Morrison, find Jim Morrison's grave.

I get weary, Lord I don't understand,
how does a seed get strangled in the heart of a man?
And the music covers like an evening mist,
like a watch still ticking on a dead man's wrist.
Tick away.......

I look to my lover and see the compassion in his eyes. Neither of us know what choice she will make, but we hold hope that it will be the one best for her and that one day she will pull down the blindfold, and see the stars around her. We walk away, hand in hand, knowing that only she can remove it. But I leave with the knowledge that, at some point, we will all be kneeling there. I was there, and ripped the blindfold away. If you have not been there yet- someday you will be, and the true question becomes- what will you do?.

Astrologic: week of the new moon in Sagittarius. Planetary ruler: Jupiter.

Element: fire

Keywords: imprisonment, trapped, held back

Meanings: a person who is trapped, maybe brainwashed, or disconnected from their inner self. Being overwhelmed.

Quote: "You hold the keys to your own prison, and conversely, to your own freedom."

****Song: Jim Morrison's Grave by Steve Taylor- to hear more: http://youtu.be/lLW-Pr-y8qA
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