The Page of Swords indicates either a person within the querent’s life, or the self-positioning of the querent towards the situation being considered. As a Court card, the Page of Swords is always personal, and although much is made of the potential quandary that Court cards can pose for readers, the only question that really must be asked is: “Who?” This does not alter if a Court card lands in a situational position within a spread. Rather, you can rest assured that someone, somewhere, is doing something! Think of these cards as verbs:
`When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, `it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’
`The question is,’ said Alice, `whether you can make words mean so many different things.’
`The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, `which is to be master – – that’s all.’
Alice was too much puzzled to say anything, so after a minute Humpty Dumpty began again. `They’ve a temper, some of them — particularly verbs, they’re the proudest — adjectives you can do anything with, but not verbs — however, I can manage the whole of them! Impenetrability! That’s what I say!’ (Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass, Chapter 6: Humpty Dumpty.)
In the lexicon of the Tarot, Court cards are too action oriented to be bossed around. They mean what they mean to do! Haughty and proud, they are their own masters. So where the other cards, including the Trumps, are often best thought of as moods or themes (adjectives), or as consequences, events, or happenings (nouns), Court cards are embodied persona that result in definitive actions (people doing stuff, i.e. verbs).
In the case of the Page of Swords, someone stands on the verge of speaking truth to, or about, power. This is the whistleblower card, and it carries an appropriate stress on the power dynamic of whistleblowing; Pages represent children. Strongly evoking the guileless child in The Emperor’s New Clothes, I also think of Zola’s famous open letter to President Félix Faure — “J’accuse…” — in which he publicly denounced the French leader as an anti-Semite for his conduct in the Dreyfus Affair. Zola was found guilty of libel for this outburst. But history has borne him out! Zola is a hero.
The circumstances motivating this card could concern politics, art, history, science, etc., however in each case, there has been a deceit, trick, error, or unlawfulness that must now be recognized, addressed, and fixed. To the existent power structure, this will feel like an outrage or betrayal, which is why the Page of Swords has also been linked to espionage. The Page of Swords, however, is not a spy. S/he is a child who watches, listens, and waits in innocence.
In every society, democratic or totalitarian, the sensible, grown-up thing to do is to commit to the long haul of sleazy conformity. The rewards are mostly guaranteed: if not freedom or happiness, then respectability and degree of security. What spoils it is the obstinate few who do otherwise – those, absurdly, who actually believe in the necessary fictions; enough to be moved and angered by the difference between what an organisation does in reality and what it says in public.
In this respect, the whistleblower is arguably more mindful of an organisation’s stated values and standards than the vast majority of its members and affiliates – so much so that keeping quiet or going along with it or walking away is not an option. The final irony lies in the whistleblower’s faith in normal people, the assumption that they will welcome being less deceived, and use the revelations to press for reform in their governments and institutions.
For these delusions, whistleblowers have been punished, again and again, throughout history. But for whatever reasons, still they do it. — Christopher Yates, The Whistleblower’s Mad Moral Courage.
Although the above quote concerns the actions of Chelsea Manning, it reads like an editorial by The Grand Inquisitor. That is, in granting men freedom of choice — in the form of information/sermons — Jesus expected far too much from his fellow man, and he was punished in kind. Socrates also comes to mind. And Copernicus. And Galileo… and on and on. Such acts are almost never applauded immediately. However, without the whistleblower, we’d be backwards hominoids living in our own feces and taking orders from clowns.
And this is why society so loathes and fears the whistleblower — We are backwards homonoids living in our own feces and taking orders from clowns. Our reality stands in stark contrast to the comfy, liberal fictions that we tell ourselves, our neighbors, our children. We tolerate corruption by the hour. And for what?
The Page of Swords is better than the society which gives rise to him/her.
Dali’s rendition of the Page stresses this person’s solitude, vigilance, and honor. Depicting a wiry warrior dressed in red, the Page stands alone against a burgundy backdrop. He is framed in black as he watches some action outside of the card’s frame. His visage is intensely contemplative and his posture is casual. He isn’t hobnobbing. He isn’t climbing the social ladder. He is listening. He is watching. In his right hand he bears his erect sword, and in the other he holds a Bay Laurel, sacred to Apollo, the lord of light. The Bay Laurel is at once a symbol of nobility and truthfulness — it was the highest award given during the Pythian Games — and a symbol of the resurrection of Jesus. Just as truth cannot be killed, the Laurel Tree regenerates itself.
When you pull this card, prepare to feel the onus to bear true witness against a powerful person or institution. This is a calling that you cannot refuse, and you must be ruthlessly honest, fair, and just. You bear witness to man’s potential/future.
And finally, at its most banal level, this card can signify a young child with either a lot of Air in his/her astrological chart, or who is an Air Sun sign: Gemini, Libra, or Aquarius.
**While all manner of comments are welcomed, any further information pertaining to art history, symbolism, myth, cultural reverberations, and Tarot card meanings that traverse decks or lend especial light to the Universal Dali deck, specifically, are actively sought and encouraged. I’m not using a book for these descriptions, so I may miss a reference that bears mention in relation to a card. If you know something, please share it!
Conversely, I actively negate the astrological significations of the Trump cards within the Universal Dali deck in favor of the more traditional Thoth. My plan is to tackle the astrological significations of the Universal Dali Trumps and their overt divergence from all norms in one article… after having described each card. That’s a ways off. ;)
Numerological Affiliations: 10 of Swords
The Court of Cups: Queen of Swords
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