Mary El Tarot - The Ace of Swords

Bat Chicken

This card shows an being with the head of an eagle representing the element of Air is is appropriate to its suit. The Eagle is also an alternate symbol for the fixed sign of Scorpio. Like the Ace of Wands, the being’s chest is marked with the glyph of its element and unlike the other Aces, the body bears no clear male or female features. In fact, it is the least human of the four.

The Eagle being seems restrained and unlike the Ace of Wands the restraint is real. In his belly is the rising sun. The outer calm of the creature is belied by his talons. They seem to be gripping empty air. There is control here.

There is a general commentary on the Aces as a group and their commonalities here.



When I look at the image of this card, I see a tortured soul.
I sense it is meant to depict harnessing toe power of the mind by putting constrains onto the body. But binding the heart and the groin ....?
Here are my musings about this image:

What went wrong?

What fear gripped this thinker?

-What notion of insecurity transferred to the Eagle that he
was OK with being tied down, fixed into place -?

Now :
A beating heart thumping against tight bonds swaddling the chest.
What feelings are they supposed to restrain?
What does it feel like having them welling up regardless.
Can he hear his thumping heart, thumping yearning messages into the mind of the predator Bird born to soar free?

Those magnificent wings!
Have they ever tasted the wind?
Is his head hanging low.
Deep in meditation?
Forgoing instant gratification for later gain?
Gain of what? Wisdom?

Or is he depressed resigned to the fate of a caged Spirit?
Or is he plotting to break free?

The burning desire to exercise his flight feathers is setting his gut into flames….
Will these flames burn away the bonds?

What’s with the tightly bound groin?
The seat of sexual desire, urge and lust , when bound like this is a time bomb, ready to explode…..

What fear made these constrains necessary?
What deranged mind thought they are the answer?
Was it a quest for knowledge, that started this?
The notion, that suppressing one power will give you another?
He now knows.
It is time to loosen these bonds.
What will we see, if these bonds come of – finally?
What – - if –
What if these bonds were placed on him by doting - or over-protective parents?
What if after being tied down too long, it is now too late?
Damage done, fuse burnt – right through the Soul?
Imprinting the fear?

Then we might have a soul-sick predator on our hands……


All the Aces are tortured in some way aren't they? Surely the Ace of Swords and of Wands. The Ace of Cups has a vacuous look, like it is overmedicated. The earth Ace at first seemed the most confortable to me, but that head made me feel like--what would it be like to be that minotaur, a horrible fate.


Clearly in this deck the suit of Wands is fire and passion and the suit of Swords is air/thought and communication hence, to my mind, the binding of the waist and groin area makes sense. It's not a suit of action.

Bat Chicken

Clearly in this deck the suit of Wands is fire and passion and the suit of Swords is air/thought and communication hence, to my mind, the binding of the waist and groin area makes sense. It's not a suit of action.

That is an interesting interpretation. The talons gripping air make even more sense...


The being on the Ace of Swords has been restrained, bound across the arms and chest, and below the waist. His bonds are not ropes or chain, but cloth that has been wrapped around. In some ways it resembles a bandage. I considered the similarity in the words bondage and bandage and wondered about a connection. I found them linked in the forced treatment of the mentally ill, which makes sense in the suit of swords. In some cultures having visions is considered a gift and individuals are valued for their uniqueness. Rituals are performed that provide a socially accepted outlet for engagement with these visions, voices, etc. In other cultures, such individuals are marginalized, labeled as sick, and sometimes involuntarily confined and drugged into submission. (Please note: I am not advocating against treatment for those who seek it. What I am concerned with is when these treatments are forced or coercive - the bondage aspect.) What if this individual sees his eagle nature and desires to fly, while others see only his humanity and imprison him "for his own good"?

This could represent any suppression of thought or speech, including self-censorship when one lacks the confidence that their words are both true and necessary. As the potential of the ace is developed in the progression of the suit, the restraints will fall away.