Maat Tarot Study Group Princess of Swords


Hunting season is just beginning in my area. Rules governing the wild harvest are necessary and have been for a long time. Folk can no longer apply the harvest criteria properly and no longer fear excess. The number, age, and sex of the prey is regulated, but I’m not sure about the hours one may hunt it. At night, even this night, I can go outside and see deer crossing my hay meadow. They feel safe under the moonlight which surely at one time aided the night hunter.

In the Maat, under the bull’s full moon, one such hunter has been successful. A buck of at least 8 points (and likely more) has been shot with an arrow through the ear and into the head. He has fallen through an alder thicket and onto a ledge by a stream in a dark ravine. His profile casts a faint moonshadow on the white stone. Alder leaves, looking blood-flecked, float on the water’s surface near him.

The hunter kneels on a rock across a handspan of water from her kill. She wears a crescent knife which can mercifully end the life of a wounded animal, but there is no need this night. Her arrow must have killed the buck instantly, perhaps as he made a soaring leap in order to cross the ravine. Just behind him is another ledge shaped like an ancient altar which his fall, breaking some branches, has revealed. Further revelation appears thereon: an apple, cut to reveal the star of five points hidden within it--the secrets of Avalon, a.k.a. the apple tree land, a.k.a. the land of the blessed dead. At the top of the ravine we can just see a bit of the sun’s red afterglow.

As does each full moon, this one " ‘implies generosity and the need to give to others.’ " Who are the givers under this moon?

First, there is the hunter. Wearing the dress of ancient Greece, she looks upon her kill with a calm detatchment though one can see that she is not cruel. On the contrary, her kneeling position implies reverence as much as a need to see. A great lord of the forest lies before her. Note his posture and his position. Are you reminded of another arcana? She is slightly above him, however, and the apple is placed as if it were an offering to her. Her bow and arrows and her knife irresistibly recall Artemis, the hunter of the crescent moon, goddess of beasts and patron of young women and girls. Artemis inspires exhilaration and joy in friendship, but also the obligation to provide for ones dependents. In fact, she nurtures all young creatures. She was once midwife to the world. The hounds, in number, three, remind us of what she will be when she goes into the dark. Meanwhile, she is still young and bright, this avatar of Artemis, though her knowledge might be ancient. And she takes life with one hand only that she may bring it forth abundantly with the other.

The most obvious, albeit involuntary giver is the buck. Ancient folk seem to have thought of the matter this way: “the Lord or Lady of Beasts has given me this animal. Hence, the animal has died for me: a sacrifice to my need.” Reciprocation took the form of returning the favor: a small piece of the animal was returned to the God/dess, a process which sanctified the series of events. One could, of course, obtain meat the way we do by buying it in the market. But in ancient Greece at any rate, the meat was not thought to be the same even though it might have come from an identical beast. It had a different name. It was not holy.

The least obvious giver is the alder (if alder it is—it looks like one). Alders are water-loving, but their wood is said to resist the corruption of their element. They were used for pilings in lake waters and the like. These trees are symbolic of the Celtic god, Bran, who was the loser in Robert Graves’ “The Battle of the Trees.” Bran was killed in that battle, but his head remained alive. He commanded his followers to sever his head from his body and discard the latter. That way he could continue to advise them. So, even after he had died for them, he continued to care for his people for many years.

Those are the givers.
What, then, are the gifts?
What do they tell us about the people or beings who give them? :)


It is a nice automn night. It is true the woman really look like Artemis. The two dogs are a nice addition and they were with Artemis as she was hunting. She seems to approach the dear and examine it. She is careful. Anything can happen, even if the deer seems pretty death


annik said:
It is a nice automn night. It is true the woman really look like Artemis. The two dogs are a nice addition and they were with Artemis as she was hunting. She seems to approach the dear and examine it. She is careful. Anything can happen, even if the deer seems pretty death

Yes, she is certainly examining the deer very carefully. Even her hounds seem to be holding back, almost in awe. One would expect them to be moving around in excitment if nothing else. There are three hounds, actually: one on each side of her and one nosing the apple, though the one on her right side is really hard to see. ;)


Maat taro IDS

Card/Number: Princess of Swords/12

Card Image: see attached

First Impression: I like this version of the Princess of Swords, depicting the virgin huntress, Artemis/Diana who is the master hunter but living within the land and always maintaining balance.

Card description: A young woman stands in a white simple dress, her bow and arrow on her back and sickle cinched at her side. Her cheeks are flushed from the hunt and she stands looking at the buck she has slain with a clean shot of her arrow. She is accompanied by her three hounds, who have assisted her in her hunt. It is late fall, the trees with few leaves on them. An apple sits nearby on a rock, cut open to reveal the seeds that sit in the pattern of a pentagram. A small creek runs through the center of the card.

Masculine/Feminine/Neutral: Feminine

Colors: brown, orange, white, red and blue

Senses: your cheeks are flushed form the cool wind and exertion of the hunt. Your breathing is fast but not labored. You hear the hounds, marking the site of your prey. You smell the tang of blood in the crisp autumn air. The taste of the clean autumn wind sits on your tongue, the slight metallic aftertaste of the blood lingering. You feel the cool autumn wind, brushing lightly against your skin, slick from sweat and overheated from the hunt.

Symbols: huntress, prey/deer, hounds, apple, autumn trees, creek

Story (intuitive): I watch the young huntress as she gently checks on her prey, to ensure that the animal no longer suffers. I have been watching her during the hunt, her quiet and calm manner, the respect for the life that she has claimed to feed her kin. I smile, oh how she reminds me of my own daughter. I watch as she cuts the apple, leaving it as thanks for the sacrifice given by the male deer, a small gift for his mate and children, a gift for the land. The hounds sit quietly and loyally beside her and at her soft words, they begin to drink softly from the stream. She sees me now, looking at me cautiously at first, then giving a slight nod in greeting. I walk forward, helping her with placing the sling around the deer. "You have done well, daughter." I tell her. She smiles slightly, "Thank you.". She looks at me thoughtfully, as if reading my pride in her work. "You have taught us well mother. We have learned the lessons of the land and how to be one with nature. We are strong, proud and growing wise. You have also taught us strength in adversity, and how to stand quietly in our own individuality. Fear not, mother, when adversity comes to us. We will stand strong, we will prosper. We have learned well, from you.". My eyes tear softly at her words. Sometimes, it is hard to see our daughters grow up, and away from us. But I am filled with pride for the women they have become. "Yes," I respond, "I know you will do well.". She smiles softly, then nods. She collects her hunt and turns to return home, as do I- knowing in my heart that the lessons that have passed from mother to daughter remain as strong now as they did with our ancestors.

Astrologic: Week of the full moon in Taurus. Planetary ruler: Pluto.

Keywords: budding womanhood, huntress

Meanings: a brown haired young woman with grace and dexterity

Quote: "As I come into my womanhood, I live the lessons my mother has taught me."


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