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BagelMan 
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Symbolism of Minor Arcana within other Minor Arcana? 7, 5, 3, and 2 of Swords.


Something I've been wondering was if there's any significance to lower numbered minor arcana within a higher numbered one.

As an example, the 7, 5, and 2 of swords.

In the 7 of swords, the "thief" is making off with five swords. In the 5, the "victor" holds three. The 7 and 5 of swords both show somebody holding some swords and leaving others on the ground. In both of those cards, two swords are left behind.

So would it be useful at all to look at those other minor arcana cards when interpreting the 7 and 5 of swords?

For instance, if the querent is represented as the "victim", perhaps they're left at the position of the 2 of swords? Blind and holding two different choices or ideas.

In the 7, the "thief" could represent either the "victor" or the "losers" shown in the 5. Maybe while he makes off with the swords, he'll lose his ill-gotten gains.

In the 5, the "victor" holding three swords could represent a person or idea that "kills" something.
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Barleywine 
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Interesting idea that I never really thought about (but I'm sure someone has over the years). It strikes me that the items "in hand" are under the control of the wielder (although in the 7 of Swords that control is rather awkward and tenuous) and can be brought directly to bear on the situation, while those on the ground or otherwise disposed could represent an unassimilated or "wild card" aspect of the force being represented, possibly facets that the apparent "owner" hasn't managed to bring into line. The related pip cards could be read in combination as contributors to the "roll-up" meaning, or perhaps as unintegrated elements that operate in an uncoordinated manner. If we put titles to them, the 7 of Swords would be "unstable effort" compromised by insufficient assertiveness with the 2 of Swords ("peace restored" or "truce") and thus vulnerable to "defeat" with the 5 of Swords. It actually comes across as even more bleak when you do this.

Joseph Maxwell is one of the best sources I can think of for this sort of analysis (although also one of the most difficult). Of the number 7, he says it is composed of "Three isomorphs: 1 + 6, 2 + 5, 3 + 4. The first and third are indicative of progress, but with a new factor: 1 + 6 is an equilibrium receptive of the movement of unity; 3 + 4 is the attack made by the force of evolution on unprepared ground (matter) with a resulting regressive influence; 2 + 5 is worse still, representing consciousness dominated by the sensory areas and therefore entirely regressive."

Picking that last one apart in the case of the 7 of Swords, I'm assuming the "2" component refers to dualistic consciousness and the "5" to the "tyranny of the senses." Consciousness would then seem to be the "victim" of regressive animal instincts or passions (as might be at work in a "thief"). In the case of the 6 of Pentacles, the "1 + 6" isomorph applies since the man appears to have harvested one coin (under control between his feet) but the rest are still "in the wild;" in Maxwell's terms, the six have more of an obvious affinity for the single outlier than that exhibited by the five and the two; the situation is therefore "progressive" rather than "regressive," although it looks like it hasn't really gotten underway yet. However, the Ace and 6 of Pentacles do seem supportive of gainful progress.

The 5 of Swords contains "Two isomorphs: 2 + 3, 4 + 1. The first is fully binary, indicating opposition of a passive nature, and inertia presenting an obstacle to evolution. The second isomorph is a quaternary ready to act as an energising vehicle for a new unity (e.g. 5 X 4 + 1 is the equation of matter fully manifested and ready for both fecundation and to receive consciousness."

The first one concerns us here: "evolution" could be represented by the man in the act of lifting the third sword to his shoulder, and "inertia" by the fact that the two swords on the ground could very well be beyond his ability to hoist and carry. This brings together insufficient assertiveness (2 of Swords) and "sorrow" (3 of Swords") together under "defeat." The card isn't clear whether the "defeated" is the querent or the querent's opponents; only the context can show that.

Both the 7 and 5 of Swords are good examples of Maxwell's idea that the disharmonious odd-numbered cards are seeking balance, while the harmonious even-numbered cards are striving to maintain it.



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Sentient 
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I've never looked at the cards this way BagelMan, but your correspondences are interesting.

This idea could also apply to the cups. The figure in the 5C is forlorn over the spilling of three cups, while the two upright cups (the positive 2C) seems to lie behind him, in the past. Of course the 3C is generally seen as a happy card; here the 3S applies much better.

The 8C is missing a cup. If one added the AC, one would get the 9C, a card of personal satisfaction. The 4C seems to have one cup too many. Ironically by removing the AC the man's situation improves to the 3C, suggesting that too much choice can be an obstacle to happiness.
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Barleywine 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sentient View Post
I've never looked at the cards this way BagelMan, but your correspondences are interesting.

This idea could also apply to the cups. The figure in the 5C is forlorn over the spilling of three cups, while the two upright cups (the positive 2C) seems to lie behind him, in the past. Of course the 3C is generally seen as a happy card; here the 3S applies much better.
I had a different take on the 5 of Cups the last time it came up as the outcome card for a client. The three spilled cups are the object of dismay at the moment, absorbing all of the mourner's attention, but the two upright cups lie between the figure and the bridge leading to the castle on the other side of the river. All that has to be done is to direct the figure's gaze away from the spilled cups and toward the bridge, and the full cups will be right there, waiting to be picked up and carried across. I advised her that she would have to leave a big part of herself behind, but she would be better off to salvage what remained of her self-esteem and depart across the bridge to new territory. I told her "take the best and leave the rest." Like all the Threes, the 3 of Cups is a card of opportunity, so the implication is that what was in the spilled cups was devalued anyway, so there's really no point in crying over them when two more cups of full value await. The old platitude about "half a loaf" seems appropriate. It was also interesting that the 3 of Cups immediately preceded the 5 of Cups in the spread; I suggested she look to her close friends to help her make the transition, and not retreat into her grief. This was all part of a bigger picture, in which her ex was hoping to worm his way back into her favor by convincing her that he was a "new man."



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"The heart has its reasons which reason does not understand." - Blaise Pascal

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Last edited by Barleywine; 07-12-2016 at 08:58.
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Sentient 
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Barleywine, Your interpretation of the 5C in that situation sounds like it was appropriate and effective for your client.

The words you quoted above were given in a different context, that of seeing possible correspondences between and within the cards themselves, rather than between the cards and a particular client's outer reality. The distinction is important, I believe.
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