I like to think of myself as the type of person that will do anything to fight for what they believe in. And while doing so I strive to follow a code of ethics with a basis of do good and good will be dealt back to you. As time passes however, and with a little bit of help from today’s card of the day, the Five of Swords, I am starting to realise that everyone’s perception of right and wrong is different. What might be seen as the right thing to do for one person could be construed as wrong by someone else. And this makes me think of the interplay in other fields of life. In the case of this card, one person’s victory, and all the glory and honour that comes with it, is another person’s defeat, mired with dissatifaction, pain and sometimes utter devastation.
Traditionally the Five of Swords represents a victory tinged with defeat. Self-Interest, discord, dishonour, betrayal. The classic image is that of one man in the forefront staring at his conquered enemies, who are skulking off in the background, in possession of five swords. To me this clearly shows a victor and the defeated. However the sky is cloudy, which symbolises that it isn’t a clean cut victory, all is not well despite the fact that the battle seems to have concluded.
In the Shadowscapes card however I struggle to see this represented. This is probably one of the few cards in the deck that I dont see a clear cut representation of the traditional meanings. Now of course these meanings can be inferred if you know what the card traditionally represents but I don’t think it is clearly evident through its image. The feeling that most overwhelms me when I look at this card is Isolation! Often when we fight for what we think is right there is a chance that we will hurt those around us and as a result isolate ourselves from them. Once the conflict is over you may try to rectify the situation but those who were hurt in the line of fire may be less inclined to heal the severed relationship. So to me one of the biggest things this depiction shows is that it is very important to establish whether your view or opinion is important enough to put your relationships in the firing line. For wherever there is victory, there is defeat.
And who is this Angel, is he the victor or is he the defeated one? There’s a big contrast here. His appearance, the flowing platinum hair and white-gold wings, would seem to say that he is on the side of good, but his ebony companions could say otherwise. As Stephanie so clearly says “they have been steeped in the battles of self interest and power, and no longer gleam with the pure white of most of their brethren”. Maybe this is another message saying that just because you seem to be the victor/defeated it is not as clear cut as that! Or maybe that what may seem to be right or wrong, or good or bad, is all personal perception. I’m not too sure.
Another aspect of this card that I feel is important are the two swords on the angel’s back. These are reminiscent of those seen in the Shadowscapes’ Two of Swords. I see two possibilities here, one, that it is representative of someone who believes that there is no chance of defeat whatsoever and two, a denial or non-willingness to see the rights and wrongs of the battle he is/has undergone. This is another important aspect of the Five of Swords. When you are acting in your own self interest and have lost your moral compass ambition can often take on a negative energy. And too much ambition without consideration as to the effect it will have, both on yourself and on others, will never end well.
Self-Interest is a double edged sword. On the one hand there are many times in life when it is best to put your own interests first. Often we feel that if we don’t look after our selves, who else will. But this is a flawed image of self. If we reduce our image of self to simply our outward being then we forget about everything else we encounter, which through that encounter, becomes a part of our self. It is important to remember this, because if we forget about it we may make decisions without thinking of the effect it has on those around us!
Overall what I think is important to take from this card today is a slight air of caution. It’s the old saying that it is best to pick your battles. For we will not always win, and sometimes when we do, we end up loosing something more important in the process!!!
Until next time, live well and remember the bigger picture xx