What a great card! I like that this image doesn't resemble in any way ten swords stabbing a person in the back (not that any of MP's images resemble the RWS).
Off the subject just a bit, there was a thread going on in the Comparative Tarot group discussing the Three of Swords, and a comment was made (paraphrased), "It's too bad that the Swords suit always appears so negative." Of course, many people learn from the RWS, which does have many of the sword cards with very painful-looking images.
Now, the very nature of the sword is to cut, which people associate with pain. But what if the sword were cutting away something dead or something not working? It may cause pain initially but will eventually yield joy to be rid of that burden.
The other thought I had about swords, though, is the link they have to thoughts and the workings of the mind. True, our mind can play tricks on us and cause us great pain, but our mind can also be one of our greatest assets. Sorry for the ramble, but my point is that by MP using feathers, she puts a positive twist to a normally very negative card.
My first thought is how much I love the colors. This color scheme has been building throughout the suit and finally climaxes to this color combination. The majority of the suit is dominated by very cool colors, mostly shades of blue. Then in the Eight of Feathers we see the hint of red in the dragon. The dominant color in the Nine of Feathers is red, and in the Ten of Feathers we actually have a better balance between these two colors. And maybe the red in the peacock feather is the remnants of the Ten as we begin another rotation.
Ok, enough about colors!
MP's poetry on this card speaks volumes to me; the first three words set the stage (no pun intended!) for an alternate viewpoint that puts this card in the right perspective.
Firemaiden, I thought it was very interesting that you saw the shadowy figures as vultures! When I read your post, it took me a minute to actually see what you were talking about. Very revealing!
When I first glanced at this card, before I paid any attention to the detail, I saw those "shadowy figures" as part of the tree, like big leaves, or tufts of leaves. If these "leaves" are our thoughts, then, as leaves fall from the trees every Autumn, so our thoughts should fall away to allow our mind to rest. At the end of Autumn/start of Winter, the trees' leaves have fallen and the tree goes into hibernation which ends that cycle of life. This card reminds us that we are at the end of a cycle, with the 10, and at the end of a cycle of thoughts (swords/feathers). Has this cycle been beneficial or destructive?
I've been drawing this card often lately. There's nothing more disconcerting to see that body lying there with all those swords in its back. The image is almost too overpowering to remember that swords represent thoughts. That's why I love MP's card. To think of those thoughts as leaves falling from a tree in a natural cycle reminds me that it's time to start anew with a new mindset.
On a personal note, to tell you where I'm coming from on this card, for almost a year now I've been very unhappy having to go to work when there's so much to do in my life, and I just don't have time for everything. (I grew up thinking my life would be like my mother's, and I would be a stay-at-home mom. Naturally, that's not what happened.) So, of course, work would be the first thing to go... except that I have to work to pay the bills. Yes, my husband also has a job, but I make more. But if you were to compare our two jobs, we both make comparable salaries, so neither one of us could leave our jobs and still be able to maintain a home with two kids.
So here I am, wishing I didn't have to work so that I could be home with my kids, wishing I could win the lottery so that I would never have to worry about money, and blah blah blah. After being in this mindset for a year, it begins to show. My boss has mentioned more than once that my work product is not what it once was. "What happened?" he asked.
So, when I see this card, the Ten of Feathers, I see relief. I see a reminder that it's time to change my attitude. Of course, it won't come without work, but it will be worth it to be able to live in peace no matter what my current job status. And of course, a new way of thinking will bring a peace to every part of my life.
MP writes, "You have experienced yourself as part of the film, and as part of the projection screen." This reminds me of something Jon Kabat-Zinn said once in a seminar I attended (author of "Whereever You Go, There You Are: Mindful Meditation"): "Each person's life is a play, and that person is the star. We are not the star in any other person's play but our own." That put my worries in a different perspective and helped me to be more compassionate toward others.
But often we never see our lives as a play or a film; we become totally enmeshed in the pain of our choices and their consequences. By allowing those thoughts/leaves to fall from the tree/our brain, we will be able to see them from an emotional distance. "You experience fears and pain without being destroyed by them."
And when MP says, "... stop old thought-programs", this is what really made this card workable for me. To be able to see that this card doesn't mean THE END or a possible death (which I've read from some interpretations using the RWS), but simply the end of a thought-program, relieves the stress I feel when I pull this card.
On an end note, and then I'll shut up
, I also thought it was interesting that MP chose feathers for the swords. Swords are so rigid and sharp, cutting through and away (as I mentioned at the beginning). But feathers are light and delicate. Thoughts can shift with the wind, sometimes making us wonder what is or is not reality. Feathers are like that; one small puff of air, and the feather takes a whole different path to the ground.
I also have a question about this one card in particular (if anyone has gotten this far in this essay I've written!
). Do you notice at the top of the card and the top right corner that it looks as if this image is on a canvas? I see this as emphasizing that this card represents a film; a film that portrays real life but isn't. What do you think about this?
Thanks for your patience!!
* - edited for grammer