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Myrrha  Myrrha is offline
Join Date: 23 Sep 2002
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 3,652

A man is crouched as if in fear and pain. Swords pierce his body and warplanes are bombing the area. A tank is coming onto the scene and a Greek-style (it looks that way to me) temple is crumbling. A large serpent is coiled around one of the swords.

The title of the card is Cruelty and the astrological attribution is Mars in Gemini.

Mars is all hot and action oriented. It wants to fight and confront everything directly. Gemini is a more scattered energy, it can see several sides to every question and is more indirect. So the fiery, combative energy of Mars is frustrated. Furthermore, although this is the Swords suit, the suit of reason, it is very far down on the tree of life (further from the source) so the energy of rational thought itself is distorted and weak. There is not enough purity and strength of rational thought to restrain the primitive instincts and cruelty indicated by a frustrated Mars.

I think that the crumbling Greek-style temple shows that it is the breakdown and loss of reason that is causing this outbreak of cruelty. The serpent wrapped around the sword indicates that what intellect remains is being used to deceive.

So the card indicates cruelty, people being picked on and bullied, suffering, deceit. Crowley (I'm studying the Cosmic with the idea that its minors are based on the Thoth) gives some postitive meanings for the Nine of Swords: patience, obedience, unselfishness that are in play when the card is well dignified and it seems to me that these are useful meanings for the card because it comes up sometimes in situations where the more unpleasant meanings just don't apply.

Nothing in the Cosmic Tarot Nine of Swords indicates that it refers to something unreal or all in the mind as in the Rider Waite Tarot. I wonder why Waite chose that slant for his deck. Maybe it was a different interpretation of the fact that the card is in the Swords suit, the suit of mental process, the kabbalistic world of Yetzirah? Waite seems to have been determined that his deck should not reveal the kabbalistic teachings of his order so maybe it is a sort of blind.

Sometimes when the card comes up in my readings it does indicate that I am bullying myself or tormenting myself with deceptions and cruel thoughts so I'm still not sure which way to read it, maybe both.
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