The Two of Swords


The number of this card is 66, which is 3 X 2 X 11, and 3 + 2 + 11 adds up to 16.  So this card carries an energy of Mars (The Pyramid, Arcanum XVI), meaning that it can bring up conflicts that we need to work with constructively. 

    The twos are ruled by Uranus, which signifies our genius – that which is most unique and creative about ourselves.  At worst the Two of Swords is about the repression (Earth) of these brilliant creative impulses, maybe because we fear where they may lead, or that we won’t be accepted or understood if we express them.  Certainly from birth most of us are taught to repress what is most different and unique about ourselves.  The Two of Swords is asking us to allow this genius to come forth, to manifest it in the physical world – and ideally to do so in a way that others can accept and appreciate.  To do this takes the assertiveness, initiative and constructiveness of Mars.

    There is tension in this card, because Uranus is about freedom, and the suit of swords, ruled by the earth element, can signify restriction.  The earth element is the most conservative of the four, whereas Uranus is unconventional.  And so when this card comes up our freedom may be restricted, repressed, or suppressed.  We may think that such restriction is coming from outside ourselves, but the truth is that it is always coming from inside.  On the other hand Uranus can signify inspiration, and so often we are inspired by the limitations with which life presents us.  It is like the artist who draws pictures with a burnt stick on the wall of the cave – because those are the only art materials he has, or the prisoner in the cell who wants to write a novel and has only toilet paper on which to compose it.

    The twos are always full of surprises, and so the Two of Swords can mean we become surprised by the manifestation of some sudden and unexpected limit (earth), or, conversely, it can mean the lifting or changing of a limit, often in ways we didn’t expect.  It can also mean that we find an inspired, genius way of working with our limitations, and with the physical world.  It can also mean a unique talent for letting our inspiration cut through the darkness and illusion of the physical plane, maybe by actually turning problems against themselves so that they immediately or eventually weaken or dissolve.

    If you get this card in a reading it could signify that you need to work toward greater freedom, but that you may need to do it in a careful, gradual, step-by-step way.  It means:  don’t give up on your creative urges, even if they often get thwarted, blocked, or frustrated.  It can also mean that you are up against the limited and restrictive thinking of the world or the people around you, and that you need to find a way of getting beyond this.  It can also mean putting your inherent wisdom to work to solve problems and overcome the limits of the physical world.  It can mean the practicalizing of wisdom.

    This card can teach us how physical, material upset can be a good thing, because a shakeup of this sort can liberate us.  The fact that the number of the card adds up to 12 (Pisces) means that rather than going against challenges and obstructions it can sometimes be best to accept them and flow with them, that sometimes this is the way out of the problem.  66 is the 5th time that 12 occurs, the sequence being 12-39-48-57-66, and 5 is the number of Jupiter which is growth and expansion, so 66 is the growth (5) of acceptance, also the expansion of one’s intuition.  To be able to see that a limit is a good thing turns it into a source of learning, so that ultimately it is no longer a limit.    


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