After a difficult reading where I experienced uncertainty over the 6 of Swords, I decided to put on my big-girl pants and ask the very helpful and experienced members of the AT forum for their input. It was the most important card in the reading, to me. I got some very interesting responses that really helped to clarify and broaden my view on the card in this reading.
Perhaps it is as you mentioned suspending your disbelief, opening up your mind (since no one is wearing the helmets)… but also be firmly grounded in what you think you are doing (the sword driven into the ground)
… putting preconceived ideas to rest, or since they cover the window on the right side of the card and not the left, to allow your intuitive side to let light pass through and block the intellectual/rational side or give them a rest. Sometimes we intellectualize way too much and miss the point.
I really like the symbolism on this card… the trees on the hillside ascending, almost looking like flames, which I would take as your desire to learn and increase your knowledge, the clouds as the things that obscure, but are transient, so above all the one sword, for clarity and single minded purpose… that while you need to allow your intuition open access to function, and have a desire to draw on a guide/goddess/something for whatever reason… it is YOUR mind and YOUR intuition you need to listen to. Above all maintain your balance.
This is a good card for dragging your subconscious kicking and screaming into daylight, because it helps you discover what may be covered up and locked in behind those 4 swords. That no matter how strong or high or protected your walls are, you can’t really hide behind them. Seems to me, half the battle is won already, with the defensive sword driven into the ground and the helmets abandoned. I don’t see this so much as moving away from trouble as much as gaining perspective and discovery of what is hidden and why.
Thirteen (a very experienced and gifted reader, from what I have read) had a very different view:
The picture shows a buried sword and broken helmets. Obviously, the message is that you can’t try to beat down the door. The four fanned swords, I would guess, are other ideas of how to get over the gate, and they, too, failed, getting stuck there.
The point of the 6/Swords is to find inspiration. When we think too hard, or brood over a problem too much, we sometimes don’t see the answer. But if we focus on something else, or stop brooding about it, if we just let our minds drift and soar, the answer comes to us. The connection gets made.
So the message is really pretty simple. Don’t try to drag your subconscious kicking and screaming into the light. That’s like trying to beat down the door or climb over it. Instead, let your subconscious float up in its own good time, higher and higher until it can finally get over that wall and into the light. Do not seek answers, do not ask questions, do not focus on what’s happening, do not over-think this process or what it involves or anything else. Let your mind drift and let it happen in the way that works. Trying to force, it trick it, push it, etc. won’t work. Going with it will.
You honor your guide by trusting your guide to know the best way to get your subconscious over that wall. Yes?
Siri reminded me of something very important:
I think the most important thing to remember when you read…is that the messages in the cards are for YOU. You are the one pulling them, so the cards will come up in a way that you are going to be the one to interpret them. Something you might see in a card could be completely different than what somebody else sees. Trust your gut, whatever you feel is right, your first intstinct, is what the cards are trying to tell you.
starrystarrynight also made several valuable points:
What I think about this card and your question is this: You are defeating yourself by trying to move too fast and learn too much too quickly. You need to move away from that single sword that is stuck in the mud, but you’re trying to jump over the fortress wall without doing the proper amount of “battle” and further,the proper amount of rest in between “battles.” Swords are about thoughts and the mind, yes, but there is something about that single sword hanging loftily in the clouds that also brings to mind the ethereal component of reading…tarot is not all about concrete facts and figures (learning book meanings and trying to apply them)…and it cannot just be learned, but must also be felt.
I find seeing the three groupings of swords interesting, as well. First the single sword above all the land (which is the focal point of the image, I think) could represent the Ace of Swords, perhaps…that there is a need to cut away all the BS that may have been keeping you mired in the turmoil of self-doubt (one of the traditional “meanings” of the Six of Swords is moving away from tension to a more peaceful place) so that you can move on to a better situation…with your guide as your…well, guide. (As the word guide conjures, a guide helps or guides you…but cannot do the work FOR you.) As Swords often represent thought processes, doing this will require cutting in the area of all extraneous thoughts that come to mind when you try to contact this guide or express yourself when you read cards. Again, it’s not a cerebral science…there is much more to it than learning book meanings and applying them like Xs and Ys in an algebraic equation. You may be trying to over-think things. You may need to forget what you think you know.
The four swords that are balancing precariously on the fortress wall bring to my mind the thought that, perhaps, you are trying to rush the needed “respite from battle” (that respite represented by the four-sword grouping–or the Four of Swords.) They are not very secure in this image. Are they falling forward or backward? Sideways?) This suggests, to me, that you need to pause to regroup and absorb what you have learned along the way…and this may be the step you are trying to leap over.
So, that leads the viewer’s line of vision down to the single sword that is stuck in the mud outside the fortress walls, reiterating the feeling that you have gone into this battle (the honoring of your guide, the learning of the cards, the hope that your mind will be cleared of the self-described “mess I have inside my head”) and gotten yourself stuck in the “doing.”
Therefore, maybe to honor your guide, you need to allow for yourself that learning to read the cards takes time and more than thinking…it takes feeling and the effort to incorporate the two. You need to clear your mind of tensions and turmoils in order to move to that place where you can get yourself into the “zone”…but the bottom line is that it can’t be rushed.
to which Thirteen added:
Apt point! I’d noticed that as well. Very like the usual image of leaving rough waters behind for calmer ones, with land in sight if not reached. The sword in the ground, likewise, seems indicative of a time of turmoil and battle. It not only failed to get past the gate, but it also seems to have occurred in the past.
Then you have the next step, those 4/Swords, half-way up but still not over the wall. The 4/Swords does traditionally indicate rest, time away to meditate and gather your thoughts, we see that in moving away (above) the battlegrounds the swords get closer to their goal of breeching the wall. Finally, as you point out Starry, we seem to have that Ace/Swords (coming out of the clouds), a clear new thought, high above the old battleground, and able to get past the gate.
So the card does have the traditional meaning of the 6/Swords of the situation (the mental situation) being rough and turbulent, but that the person has moved into a quieter place (meditation) with their goal in sight/reach. The mind quite literally rises above it all, and barriers that seemed insurmountable are overcome. Note, as well, how much symmetry there is in the image. Suggesting, as all 6’s do, a successful attempt to achieve harmony, balance and stability.
Even though there are some opposite ideas from the different posters, I don’t feel any conflict. There is a definite consensus that I can’t try to rush this process, that I have to let it unfold at it’s own speed. I can honour this journey by being present, experiencing the process, rather than just trying to get to the next point. I can also honour my inner guide by allowing her to speak when she is ready, and then to take the time to understand what she is saying. Trust. Trust my intuition, trust that there is time to learn. And allow the peace. This only confirms for me that what I am doing – switching off from everything that distracts and causes me stress – is the right thing for now. The peace I am feeling is reward for this, for trusting.
And if it’s time for me to learn that I can’t force knowledge and understanding into my head, then I am ready. Ready for the World.