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Join Date: 18 Aug 2001
Location: Travelin' . . . like a ball of twine unravelin'
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World Spirit: Six of Swords, Part II


In her book "The Complete Tarot Reader" author Teresa C. Michelsen suggests one way to study Tarot cards called the Golden Dawn Tableu. Set the Fool aside, and place the rest of the Major Arcana in order into three rows of seven cards each, then arrange the Minor Arcana by putting each one under its correct number. So, all the Aces, number 1 in each suit, are placed under the Magician, Major Arcana #1, all the Twos under the High Priestess, and so on. (For further exploration Teresa explains various paths through the tableau and ways to look at the cards.) Rachel Pollack also uses this tableu in commenting on the cards in "Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom."

All this is pretty clear. Look at the Magician and all the Aces, and the key word "beginnings" or "seeds" works just fine.

But now look at the sixes: The Lovers, Major Arcana VI, and the Pentacles, Wands and Cups cards fall into place just fine. A key word often suggested for the sixes is "harmony." Do you see harmony when you look at the World Spirit Six of Swords ? Or the RWS card ? (I should find a way to ask Thirteen about this, but she'd probably say, "Do your homework, Talisman." Well, I'm trying. Have been for a few days.)

Looked at one way, there is a sense of urgency, maybe even desperation, in the World Spirit Six of Swords. Why are these people commencing a boat trip on a wild night when the wind is sending clouds in tatters across the sky ? If you look at the amount of stuff stowed in the bow of the boat, including that large trunk, you see that this is no casual expedition. Perhaps they are taking everything they can, because they are not coming back. And sometimes the dark of night and all those swords in the bow suggests an element of danger. Perhaps they are fleeing something.

The woman on the pier clutches her cloak about her tightly. Perhaps it is cold. If so, it will be a lot colder out on the open water, away from the pier. Or perhaps she may be trying to shelter herself from the night or even other eyes that may be watching. The scene has a surreptitous and stealthy feel.

And look at the way the waves are breaking against the bow of the boat. If it is that rough in the lee of the pier, close to shore, you know it is going to be really rough once they reach open water. On a night so wild and in such choppy water they'll need that large eye painted on the bow to see in uncertain waters ahead. If they had a choice, surely they would not be beginning what the amount of luggage indicates will be a long journey on a stormy night.

Does any of this suggest "harmony" to you ? Can you think of any other key word that would fit The Lovers and all the sixes ? Including this World Spirit card ? I like Rachel Pollack's idea of Gate cards, and for me, this card is certainly one.

So, having said all that, what does it mean ? How do you view it when it comes up in a spread you are reading ?

Well, if you accept it, Arthur Waite offers up a simple formula in his book, "The Pictorial Key." He says the card means "journey by water, route, way, expedient. . . . The freight is light." (Just makes me wonder if he ever really looked at the card.)

And here is what Jessica Godino says: (I'll quote more than a bit of this just in case someone stumbles across this thread who does not have the World Spirit deck.)

"The Six of Swords is about journeys of all kinds . . . a trip . . . a change of consciousness, a passage from one level of understanding to another . . . exloring the realms on the other side of day, through dreams . . .

"The time has comed to leave old pain, places and patterns behind. Even if you think you're not ready, action of some kind is essential. You know the steps you need to take to leave a difficult or dangerous situation . . . Whatever path you choose, trust your inner compass to guide you. Though the future is uncertain, the hardest part may be getting over your fear of moving into unknown territory . . . "

I haven't even mentioned any traditionally accepted meanings behind all the symbols one can discover in this card. In fact I'm certain you'll concur that I've barely scratched the surface. That's why I love the World Spirit deck. There is always so much there in these simple-at-a-glance but oh so rich and complex cards.

I'm looking forward to what others may say about this particular card.

Talisman
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