Legend: Ace of Swords, Sword of Strange Hangings


My first impression when looking at the Legend Ace of Swords card was, "What a fine looking bed, but why did someone leave a sword lying on it?" A Keeper of Words doesn't actually explain why the sword lies on a bed, just that it was where in needed to be, awaiting the only person worthy enough to wield it, Galahad.

Dindrane, the Queen of Spears in the Legend deck, is the interpreter of the sword, telling the story of one who was not worthy to use it, but assuring Galahad that he was intended to be the sword's owner. Dindrane also told the hero that its name was the "Sword of Strange Hangings" and its scabbard was called "Memory of Blood". The hangings, the attachments to the scabbard by which it could be worn, where "strange" in that they of pure quality and would not carry the weight of the sword. Dindrane is able to repair the hangings so that the sword became serviceable. So the Queen of Spears acts as story teller, preparer of the weapon, and girder.

The story seems to mean that the feminine principle of intuitive thought, inspired wisdom, kind and practical counsel - the Queen of Spears - is required to release the foundational force of determined action and discriminating logic - the Ace of Swords. The functionality of the left brain is birthed from the intuitive right.

Returning to the image, the sword is no ordinary one, but a sword of such value that is cradled on a fine bed, with the company of a "crown of gold and silk". Again we seem to have a masculine symbol with a feminine one, the sword's force guided by the crown's discrimination. Together they lie on a violet bed cover, royal and mystic at the same time. Royal purple bed curtains are pulled open and gathered at either side of the headboard.

The headboard is dominated by the picture of a ship, and the bed itself is aboard a "Miraculous Ship", a vehicle of the libido travelling close above the ocean of the unconscious. The sailing ship is made of wood and the waves and sail are raised by the wind, which Anna-Marie images in spears. This is a bit confusing to me, because below the sailing ship on the headboard are images of three suits - shields, cups, and spears - so it would make sense that the ship would represent swords. And the ship is definitely not on fire! It would seem that this image fits the typical "swords in air" convention much more easily.

A fabric sconce above the headboard has what might be a tree of life in the centre, with two knights(?) riding forth from it on either side, another image of the Ace of Swords meaning, the birth of "great force".

On each of the bed posts at the front of the scene there are some strange carvings. They look to me like wings with rabbit legs. Perhaps someone else sees them more coherently?


Originally posted by Sophie-David
On each of the bed posts at the front of the scene there are some strange carvings. They look to me like wings with rabbit legs. Perhaps someone else sees them more coherently?

There seems to be a pair of wings on each bedpost, tilted sideways ... in front of the wings are figures which look like women, kneeling, raising clasped hands, their heads thrown back - as if in praise or prayer. I think the wings are indicative of release, thought and being able to rise above negative events. The figures face away from each other, the symbolic cutting with the Sword between them on the bed ... a reminder that even though we have the ability to use swift force we can still do it gently?


Thank you Lyones, I think I see the woman's image now. So her head is thrown back and she has very long blonde hair. The incantation of the prayer is raising an eagle's wing of divine spiritual energy behind her, "and I will raise you up on eagle's wings". The woman at the bottom of each bedpost is paralleled with each horse and rider above the bed, each image is facing outward. In the grouping of these four images we see masculine energy outpouring in the light, feminine in the dark, and the union of the sword and crown on the bed is the catalyst. Similar to the Ace of Spears, a sacred marriage is central to the release of the suit energy.

I also note that the sailing ship and the bed are closely analogous images, the bed is the more mundane image of the voyage into the unconscious we each make when we sleep.

Ah, at last I just noticed a third pairing, the valence between the rear and front bed posts on each side is decorated with a knight on horse with a raised jousting lance. These figures are also moving away from the centre of the picture, this time at an oblique angle towards the observer. Perhaps this pair represent conscious activity in the ego's sword energy, supported by the women praying below in the unconscious, guided my the golden horsemen in the superconscious.


The brain drain of last week ended with a bout of the flu, and am finally feeling a little more like thinking, but not too profoundly.

In the Grail Lance, inanna_tarot writes
One problem I have about these aces is that they seem so ornamental, they seem so dead and no lifeless (appart from the ace of cups). I'm used to seeing my aces with force and pure power, rather than looking pretty on a bed or on a table etc.

These Aces really stop me in my tracks sometimes, and I find myself at a loss most of the time and pulling on left brain power, remembered meanings rather than inspirations from the card itself.

The Sword of Strange Hangings, for such an irreverant soul as myself, very hard not to get the giggles from. I can be very serious, honest, and take things seriously, but I have a really bad habit of seeing the funny side too. Now that I was given that re-revelation that Swords are Fire...rather than Air, I'm really understanding why my mind would immediately think of ...strange bedfellows or something in that general venue.

It could be once I can feel and understand the energies of the Aces, this whole air/fire thing with the swords/spears will unlock my mental block.
These threads are really helping me a lot.


Hi Waleswoman

Sorry to hear about your flu, its that time of year I guess!

Humour is not at all a bad thing, it can be very creative. :) Were you struck, as I was, by how incongruous it was to keep a sword on a bed?

I kept getting the image of the naked sword which the romantic lovers of legend placed in bed between them to ensure their chastity - but I don't think that's an image that works with this card!



I tried to post this earlier, but rain washed away the connection and my brain is trying to make up for the past few days...can't sleep, so here goes.

How did that "naked" sword slip by me...again? LOL My brain drain is still in a state of recovery because I'd forgotten all about that trick. How about the "sword" as a needle to sew the sheets around the prospective hubby...I can't remember what that absurd custom's name was...was it coddling? or bundling, something like that to ensure chastity? (Wrong time frame for reference, but it was a halarious scene from "The Patriot"- the Mel Gibson movie)

So does this mean morals begin in bed? Never mind! Not sure I want to know that and maybe that's why the room is in the dark...no body else does either. LOL It's getting late and my crazy brain is going to really go into overtime if I don't stop right now.

But I did have a thought just now about beds, dreams, the unconscious desires and how getting an Ace could be to pay attention to any dreams that come along. Go to bed with something prickling you and waking up with a new way to go about doing something...(I'm still trying very hard to get the Air out of this, but Action is most appropriate)

Oh no, now when I see this ace...rotflmao! Actually everytime I see some commercials they have one full of inuendos proclaiming this guy is now "walking large", etc after taking a particular enhancement drug...all I can think of is the Sword of Strange Hangings. Tonight that commercial came on and I cracked up and had to explained to my matey, since he looked at me like I had lost my mind...all about this new twist in my Legends study and the elements and now when I think of the Ace of Swords, it isn't about the point of drawing blood, but more like a big inuendo.

Sorry, will shut up now. I will try very hard to behave myself from now on...honest.


Hi WalesWoman

Yes, you are being quite naughty! :) All this masculine size stuff on TV is just as distastefully sexist and dehumanizing as breast enhancement products, but the later are usually reserved for very late night ads. This sort of poison certainly deserves defusing with analysis and/or riducule. Its one thing when there's a medical problem, but quite another when this sort of advertising reinforces male feelings of inadequacy and encourages a compensatory macho trip.

I had a rough night too: a confusion of dreams that I can't remember, and this morning I feel like I've been run over by a Mac truck. Last night was the Legend Four of Swords, but I don't think the dreams had much to do with it. More like the overblown Hollywood drivel we watched last night, A House of Sand and Fog - I wish I'd checked MaryAnn Johanson's typically reliable review beforehand: http://www.flickfilosopher.com/flickfilos/archive/2003/housesandfog.shtml
and which she later rated #6 in the "Worst Movies of 2003".

Anyway, back to the topic. I mentioned the "naked sword" which keeps lovers out of mischief in the Legend: The Lovers and Legend: The Hermit threads. The term comes to me from John Haule's insightful online book on Romantic Love, http://www.jrhaule.net/divine.html.

Two examples of the use of the naked sword for bedtime chastity are in the stories of Tristram and Isolt,
and Siegfried and Brünnhilde,
I have seen a more complete description of the Siegfried and Brünnhilde naked sword elsewhere, but cannot seem to find it now.

All this doesn't have much to do with our Ace of Swords, which is not a naked sword in any case. I do think the sword on the bed and the sailing ship on the headboard refer to "sorting things out in your sleep", as you suggest.



There are so many comments I could quote, but my post would be massive! lol, And I thought I was going to be the cheeky one here WW! lol

One thing about this ace, and the chatter about is that is very much firey than the usual sword. If I had to relate it to a card it would be the very phallic feeling of the Ace of Wands in the Robin Wood deck.
Even though the sword is sheathed, the danger is there. Hell, I feel a little funny when i see the police on the streets, seeing folks around with swords would have put me on the edge. There is the constant reminder of what is expected of you, what is the 'proper and respectable' way of doing things, which comes from my usual sword meanings.
I really do like the bed though, such a beauitful well crafted bed, definately perhaps for the bed chamber of Guen and Arthur (so perhaps the tale of Lancelot) or some VIP. During the early christian era, there was a lot of restrictions on passion and lust - we know about Guenevere could have had other lovers, but also they weren't allowed to have sex on the Sabbath, the day before or after, holiday days and when a woman was 'impure' so during a year it didnt leave much passion to unfold and more the 'duties' of a wife to her husband. I for one am very grateful i live in a society that isn't like that anymore - I think I would have bashed a few male heads in by now :p

These mixed elements of Air and Fire do spice up the deck study though :)



Who ever made the bed was in a hurry or not real particular about it. But what is with these angels, it's almost as if a. they are praying or b. hung up, because of the way their feet dangle and just very strange. Ok, this is celtic, so they would be fey, right? Little faeryes...seems like these days if someone is referred to as a bit fey...a little strange, a little different, not seeing "reality" like the "normal" folk. Seeing things no one else does.

Of all the cards, the Aces are about the hardest to figure out. I can see the bed belongs to the boat on the headboard, "Miraculous Ship", but it doesn't explain the Crown at all. It's seen and becomes an afterthought. The focus is the sword and the scabbord with the look of snake skin, the "Memory of Blood"
If this is about fire, then the scabbord is the virgin bride waiting for the worthy knight to claim and wield the sword as his deserved right?

So the boat on the headboard is the vessel, the carrier, the self, being tossed and driven by the winds of intent on the sea of emotion. The other three elements for earth, water, and fire(?) again? It looks like a sword or is it a lance? The crown is empty, so either that is where the thought is based or there is no real thinking going on, or it's available? All ration and logic left behind? All waiting in readiness for someone to take them and do something with them?


In the entry on the Queen of Spears, it tells that Dindrane cut off her hair to use to repair the hangings on the sword to make them strong enough to hold the weight of the sword.