Ace of Swords – Rider-Waite

Ace of Swords - Rider-Waite Minor Arcana

Ace of Swords Keywords and Meanings

Triumph, the excessive degree in everything, conquest, triumph of force. It is a card of great force, in love as well as in hatred. The crown [see illustration, left] may carry a much higher significance than comes usually within the sphere of fortune-telling.

Additional Meanings: Great prosperity or great misery.

Ace of Swords Keywords Reversed

The same, but the results are disastrous; another account says — conception, childbirth, augmentation, multiplicity.

Additional Meanings: Marriage broken off, for a woman, through her own imprudence. 

Rider-Waite: Ace of Swords description

A hand issues from a cloud, grasping a sword, the point of which is encircled by a crown. 

Paul Foster Case

The ankh cross, similar to a Venus symbol, represents the union of positive and negative forces, and thus corresponds to VAU, the third letter of the Great Name, IHVH. The Swords are all symbols of AIR, which is alchemically the mixture of the hot and dry nature of FIRE with the cool and moist nature of WATER, but with the heat and dryness predominant over the cold and moisture. Thus AIR is more fiery than watery, and there is a closer affinity between Swords and Wands than between Swords and Cups. The Ace of Swords symbolizes Invoked Force, by way of contrast to the Natural Force typified by the Ace of Wands.

Occult title

The root of the powers of air.

Meanings

In the Knapp Tarot it is shown point downward, but this represents its evil and negative significance, for in ceremonial magic the sword in this position is used for the invocation of the evil and demonic forces. On ancient exoteric and esoteric versions of this Key the single sword often is shown with its point upward, and the point is surrounded by a radiant Crown, symbolizing the invocation of spiritual Radiance. Thus, in using this card, it is to be considered Ill-dignified if it appears with the point of the sword down, and Well-dignified if in the reverse position.

Time period

From Libra 0 to the end of Sagittarius, September 23rd to December 21st, representing the conjoined powers of Venus, Mars and Jupiter.

Keyword

Activity, particularly mental force in operation.

Etteilla

L’as d’Epee: Extreme

 

 

 

Fructification, Extreme, Big, Excessive. Extravagant, Fierce, Carried Away. Exceedingly, Passionately, Inordinately. Vehemence, Animosity, Momentum, excessiveness, Wrath, Fury, Rage. Extremity, Bounds, Border, Limits. Last Breath, Utmost Extremity. Quarrel.

Reversed

Pregnancy, Beginning, Seed, Sperm, Matter, Impregnating, Fathering, Conception, Fructification, Labor, Childbirth. Fertilization, Growing, Formation. Expansion, Augmentation, Multiplicity. 

Thierens:

TRADITION

The extreme or excessive, triumph, force. “It is a card of great force, in love as well as in hatred.” (W.) Vehemence, fury, etc. Limits, extremity, frontier, confinement. Reversed: Conception, pregnancy, childbirth, fructification, production, enlarging, augmentation.

THEORY

This is the first step of the element of Earth, coming on the First house or ascendant. Of course this has to do with a beginning, a strong outpouring of force, an impulse, and a material one too. Positive activity on the material plane is typically masculine, and this is a very masculine card, perhaps the most of all. There is no negotiation possible with it. It is emphatically ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ One of the primary expressions of the masculine is fructification, and the male action is indicated by this card. For the same reason it means germ, seed. And its natural consequence is conception and childbirth, the ace indicating here also the ascendant. In everything this card means the actual beginning in material execution, which at the same time may cut short something else. It may mean decapitation, or any justiciary execution. It signifies of course a decision, the end of uncertainty or twilight. It is a fresh starting point in matter: ‘alea jacta est.’ And so it may as well mean a strong demand, an appeal. There is courage in it and firm initiative. It may cause pain and affliction, but annihilates doubt, the greatest torture.

CONCLUSION

Initiative, force, masculine activity, seed, germ, commencement in matter, decision, starting point, emphasis; fructification. Execution, affliction, pain, but annihilation of doubt and uncertainty. Courage, firmness, integrity. May denote great passion or intense enmity. Fury, vehemence.

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