Ace of Swords/Thoth Tarot
Transformation of Self is that of Forging a Sword
By Ariana Clausen – Vélez
01 April 2013, edited 9 July 2013
When we look at the metaphor of one’s transformation of self, it is much like that of forging a sword as well as the path of a shaman. There are many paths one must take to forge oneself, to define or to find healing from within.
When we look into the mirror at ourselves what do you see? What part of you, do you need to change? Are there fears you must overcome? Do you need to face your past and those things done against you to move forward? And so many more questions depending on your life. Transformation of self is self-healing and when you look at the healing one must go thru to transform it is very similar to that of the forging of a sword.
What goes into the casting of a sword? Iron and Steel were the metals used; Egyptians are the first noted to having the technique using iron and then later passing it along to the Assyrians, Babylon’s and the Greeks. All mining is from the earth and the soil of the earth, making the metals not only associated to the element of earth, but that of its ruling planet, iron is of Mars, Fire, and Earth. The forging includes the process of first mining, the melting down to transform it to the desired shape it needs to be cooled during the process to ensure the binding.
Prior to iron, bronze was the metal of choice and it association is to the Earth and that of Venus, Venus is both an Earth and Air in astrology and yet her planet is pure fire and known for heavy volcanic activity. Then the Iron Age and after the Steel both of these are of Mars and the element of Fire. Where do these metals come from?, they come from the earth and all metals and stones are mined from the Earth. So when we look at a sword as a tool or a weapon we are holding in our hands that of all the elements, earth, air, fire and water for these elements are part of the forging and use of the sword, be it literal or metaphorical.
So where does the element of air come in when it deals with the sword in the Occult world? When we see clearly in many European designs of the Tarot the Sword itself is associated with the element of fire, Aries, Leo, Sagittarius, Sun and Mars, summer yet in the Renaissance Tarot the Page of Swords with the Jupiter/Sagittarius that of the eagle and the winds of air. The nature of the sword is both creative and destructive and it represents and is a symbol of vice, victory, fight, knowledge and is seen in two forms of representing earthly power. Yet in other decks the sword is that of the element of air, the spring time, Lupercus to Beltaine Eve the colour of yellow as well as lavender the colours of Mercury and the Mercury rules air. It rules that of the mind, the intellect, thought and the forging of your own world.
When we look at the Thoth Tarot swords and how they are represented it is a blend of traditional astrology with the suits and the Swords here are represented by the nature of all the elements. What do I mean by the nature of all the elements? Within the planets in which in the Thoth Tarot are part of the cards and the images or tools they represent they also are that of the true nature of the planets and signs that rule them. An example being the Knight of Swords he is ruler of the third face/decan of Taurus into Gemini; Venus rules Taurus and Mercury rules Gemini so here we have that of the Fire and Air as Venus is by nature a fiery, volatile and can be dark in her nature; the planet Venus itself as in the Solar System is made up of nothing but volcanoes and at a heat that no human could stand and it is unstable in her nature. Gemini is ruled by Mercury is a quick moving sign, he is able to move between the worlds both the living and dead safely, he is in this nature of messages but he does too have a tricky side, he can be unstable and can create conflict as well as resolve it, it is the fiery part of air. Then the Queen of Swords which is Water of Air ruling the third face of Virgo to the third face of Libra. Again here we have the nature of Mercury and Venus in yet another energy, Mercury when ruling the sign of Virgo is on the darker side he is more fluid and Venus here is a bit more emotional and can be extremely creative but here too it can be one of eyes closed, an observer keen to notice many things. It represents the watery part of air the elasticity and transmission of the element. Then the Prince of Swords which is Air of Air ruling the third face of Capricorn to the third face of Aquarius both ruled by Saturn and yet of very different natures one creates and one destroys, representing the airy part of air, it is intellectual mental, and finally the Princess of Swords which is Earth of Air ruling Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces. When we look at the final example here her nature is dual, it is both destructive and creative, it is the earthy part of air the fixation of the volatile the manifestation of our imagination, it is of resolving conflicts as well as creating them it is of turning the mind against itself and it can cause many of one’s ideas to be turned to stone and is also that of your own inner mental battle. We see the nature of air, fire, water and earth represented here in the Thoth Tarot discussed here and all are of equal creative and destructive natures.
When looking at the specific imagery of each of these faces we have the following; we have all the elements fire, water, earth and air. They are all part of the forging of the sword and of forging and transforming oneself through the Mental Universe, as well as mirror to the soul for if a sword is forged right you can see your own reputation in the blade itself, like that of a mirror.
So what really does the sword represent and how in all of this is our transformation like that of forging a sword?
When we look inside and see that we need to make changes in our lives, behaviours, traits, face our fears and demons our character and for many getting to Know Thyself can be the most difficult journey to travel. Why? Because we have to be honest with ourselves only, nobody else matters here. There are many paths we take in life and if we are truly honest allowing ourselves to grow and find a deeper hidden mystery that lies within is what we all seek. Yet, looking in the mirror that reflects back all truth can for some be very hard and very painful.
In the fourth Rubric of the Emerald Tablet it is the path to all things in the Mental Realm that of connecting to the powers of Above the purest in all things. Alchemists were always on the search on how to find the how the elements of below (nature) and those of the (above) the heavens manifested to create the four types that each element carries within them. One wrote of the four grades of fire; Elemental, Secret, Central and Celestial and in this journey to find the grades of fire one is associated with that of the sword and it is the one that is connected to the power of thought, the purest of all forms neither hot, nor cold but a warm nourishing heat. It is the heavenly inspiration that burns steadily within a person. This is the Secret Fire it is the higher consciousness, the thoughts from the Above that enlighten us. It is this thought form that is the highest sense – equivalent to the god Thoth, who speaks only the true Word, which through intonation and vibration acts on matter to create new incarnations of the mind. (The Emerald Tablet; Alchemy for Personal Transformation, by David William Hauck, chpt 7)
When we are born we are born of a clean slate our life is ahead of us, and as children we are taught many things in which were taught to our parents and all they want is for us to take what they teach us and use it in a way in which will guide us and make us a better person, someone who is a success no matter what we do, to be good others, know right from wrong and so on. Yet, we ultimately have to make decisions for ourselves and live our lives as the journey takes us. While many in life have sheltered lives that are controlled, and easy many more in the real world do not, we go on a journey our life experiences as so planned by the planets as they align on our day of physical birth while taking on the nature of our conception birth planet alignments as well. All of this defines and makes us who we are our experiences we will encounter in life and how we overcome and handle them as we experience.
When we get to a point in our lives where we are feeling like something more is needed, something is missing, a need to gain healing from a past trauma or abuse a need to find your spiritual side of self and the need for a stronger mental connection to the universe. We must now take a look into that mirror the blade of the sword and we must look to see how too transform. Transformation a long journey one that can take many years to achieve. It is a path of looking at yourself honestly and removing the mask in which you have been hiding behind for so many years. Taking the falsity of who you are and getting rid of it, really looking into your inner soul and the fire that drives you, it is time to transform yourself.
How does this compare to the forging of a sword you ask?
When you are transforming you are initially starting from the beginning you are reforming or redefining yourself. When we go and look at the way a sword is crafted it beginnings with the earth, the mining of the metal from deep within the soil, then it is processed and then melted down, this is the beginning. The earth is of the hidden mysteries those things hidden and out of sight things in which we must be willing to look at to know our true self. Then the process begins the fire is the element used to bring the metal to its liquid form and from here it is poured into a mould to create the form in which is desired. Fire plays a very large role in the forging of a sword as it does in personal transformation. Fire is the element of healing, reincarnation, death and if we look at the Phoenix as he rose from ashes the flames of fire he rose from the dead to once again be amongst the living.
First you need to obtain the metal from the mining it from the earth so you have the physical material in which is needed to create the sword, you need the fire in order to place the metal in it in order for it to melt down to a liquid form in order to pour it into the mould in which transforms it, once out of the mould it is hammered down and shaped then it is placed into the ice water to set the sword and once all of this is completed it sets in the air so it can set harden and be fully set into its final form. This is a lot like what we do as humans to transform we have to start at the beginning and work through the elements one by one, starting with those things in our lives that consist of the earth, our diet, vitamins, our physical and material world those things of the home and our relationships those things that sustain us in the physical world. Then we have to move onto the mental, going deep into our sub-conscious mind and facing those things in which we fear or have hurt us the most, this is the hardest as we have to open our eyes and look inside and be true to what we must overcome. In our mind, our sub-conscious mind it holds all things we experience in life, the good, the memories, those experiences that have caused us pain and those are the ones’ that are burying in the deepest part of our mind and those are the ones’ we must force ourselves to face in order to find healing and overcome our fears. The Mental is always the hardest because it is our brain that all things come from, our words, thoughts, images of self and others, our ideas; all of it is connected in the brain. This can take years to deal with the mental part of self and it is not easy we have to in our dreams face our worst experiences in life, our pasts, our traumas, fears, and all things. When we experience a great pain it never truly goes away, you either bury it so deep that you forget about it, until something happens to trigger that memory or it changes you completely in how you look at yourself and others. Burying it is a way of coping, but for anyone who is of the Occult or any path for that matter it is not the best thing one can do, it is better to deal with it and find a way to overcome the anger, fear, or hurt it has caused you. Only in this can you be whole mentally. Once this is completed you move onto the emotions and feelings the part of you that is ruled by the water the element associated with death, darkness, the underworld, love, all things that manifest in your emotions and feelings. This can be a hard one too as water is that of the ocean, lakes, ponds, rivers, waterfalls, sewers and all bodies of water. Depending on your personality will determine your body of water in which you best connect with to deal with this part of yourself. I personally prefer the lakes and waterfalls they are more controlled as they are calmer waters, oceans are associated with a more volatile emotion as it is unstable it can be calm one day and raging the next. Now, you must face the fiercest of them all the fire, fire is volatile, transforming, liquid, extreme in heat, the underworld the energy of the sun, of all things iron, it is the hottest and most dangerous of them all. It is the side of self that is the most destructive if you do not have it balanced. Dealing with this side can be hard for many, especially if they are by nature fiery in how they handle situations. Here you must learn how to temper rashness, risk anything one would do without first thinking of the consequences following. This in my younger years got me in many sticky situations.
When we look at all the similarities here when we transform ourselves it is like that of forging a sword. I have a quote on my website which states “Through the flames of fire comes Transformation.” This is what I mean and in the end of this process you will have control over yourself and your own personal power. When you get to this point it is you who are in control of you, not anyone else.
In looking at this do we all need transformation? I say, Yes. When we transform we are willing to bring about change not only in our life but in the lives of those around us, we can teach them many things and reveal truths to them they would maybe otherwise not be able to see. We all have our experiences and we all have areas in our lives in which we need to overcome and find a place of peace and healing and only in the Flames can we find Transformation.