(Note – This blog is a joint effort with Christiana Gaudet, who is blogging about the same topic here: http://www.christianagaudet.com/personal-blog/six-swords)
A few evenings ago I had the pleasure of working as a tarot reader at a fundraising event for an organization whose mission is to assist wounded service members and their families in their transition from military to civilian life or back to active duty by offering retreats here in Florida. In support of this, many caring community members provide services gratis; they comp meals at local restaurants, they loan their personal boats and recreational watercraft, and the founder even provides the use of beautiful homes on the water. All of the travel expense is provided for by this organization. It’s an impressive and gratifying experience to even know that such an organization exists.
This particular event was a dinner offered to potential donors featuring the work of a number of local chefs who created an amazing array of delicious foods. My tarot friend and mentor Christiana Gaudet and I were there to provide entertainment by reading tarot cards. As many of you who read professionally know, it’s one kind of experience to offer a tarot reading to those who are metaphysically ‘literate’ and who already understand the potential for tarot as a tool for growth and self-improvement, and it’s another thing to give a reading to someone who only thinks of a tarot reader as a ‘fortune teller’ in a party environment, so it’s always especially interesting to see how people at a party will react to their readings. I will say that by and large the people to whom I gave readings were inclined to consider their messages thoughtfully.
Tarot can be so droll at times! The first man who sat at my table drew as his very first card the nine of wands. Many of you will immediately picture this card in your mind’s eye, but if you’re new or unfamiliar with tarot, the nine of wands literally depicts a wounded soldier standing guard and holding his ground. It can also be read as having strength in reserve and determination to succeed. This man, and many other people I met through the evening, certainly had that sort of energy, but I was privately amused at the whimsy of tarot presenting me with this so-very-apropos card as the first of the evening.
However, it was the constant appearance of the six of swords that got my attention. I was offering short three-card readings as we had limited time. Throughout the evening, over and over as each new guest sat across from me and I shuffled and shuffled and shuffled the cards, an overwhelming percentage of them drew the six of swords! I could certainly see the six of swords as a fitting card for the energy of this group of people, but when I get a card repeatedly throughout the duration of a reading event it always gets my attention. Sometimes I perceive it as a sort of ‘meta’ message imbedded in the evening’s readings that could be a summary of information for the group or other times it’s even a message for me personally (my guides saying ‘pay attention – this applies to you too!’) I asked Christiana if she, too, had drawn the six of swords an inordinate amount of times and indeed she had, so we resolved to ponder the phenomenon and pool our musings on the particular significance of the six of swords for wounded warrior caretakers in mutual blog posts. Here’s my take.
As I mentioned earlier, the premise of the organization is to provide post-stress recreational care for wounded soldiers and their families who stay in waterfront homes and enjoy the boating and water sports of Florida living. Immediately I can see how the figure is in a boat and moving across water, so that makes sense in a very literal way. Traditionally the waters in the six of swords are calm, indicating emotional trauma overcome – check! Also, there are figures in the boat being ferried and that would certainly depict to the sense of people ferrying others to another shore (the shore of recovery). Key words and phrases for the six of swords include new perspective, recovery, travel, moving past difficulties, beginning to be more positive about life. Mary Greer notes that the six of swords indicates ‘any kind of transition or passage…moving away from difficulties and looking to restore harmony and mental tranquility’. Others point out that while there is a harmony implicit in the numerology of the six, the suit of swords is inherently troublesome, so old thought patterns may still be in place.
I think the fact that the six of swords appeared so consistently throughout the evening – always in context of each person’s individual reading – marks it as a sort of totem or talisman for the entire group. We owe much to these wounded warriors. Every day we get up and listen to the birds and sip our coffee and anticipate our day free from the worries and anxieties that millions of people in the world face because of sacrifices made for all of us by these men and women. In terms of a talisman, I will now always consider this card as a powerful card for making changes in the world, particularly in moving away from trauma and towards peace. May it be so in the world at large.