Ace of Swords: Sterile Truth or Bare Bones or Starting Over?

Thank you everyone for your kind words about Lily, plus your kind words about the whole memoir series in general. I’m holding off on more for now. It feels like the memories have caught up with me, timeline-wise, and I don’t have enough perspective on a lot of it, yet. It’ll be back, probably!

I’ve been back in Oregon almost a month. I’m in Newberg, which is a small town about 45 minutes outside of Portland. Lots of folks comment on what a big change that is–NYC to Newberg, OR. Yes and no. Manhattan is really a collection of small towns. In my old neighborhood of Inwood, I knew my neighbors, the manager at my grocery store, the guys who ran the bodega (who were also my neighbors), and came across many of the same faces daily. It was louder, brighter, and I don’t come home as exhausted after commuting on the subway and traversing endless flights of stairs–five of which were to get into our old apartment. But our current apartment has much less natural and ugly carpeting. I miss the hardwood floors of our old place, but this one is temporary.

For years, I’ve soap-boxed about the need to find Magick naturally and not be overly reliant on tools. How easy was that for me to say when I had hundreds of things at my disposal! Before I left, I did a Magickal total liquidation. I spread out all of my oils, rocks, candles, charms, incense, trinkety-trinks and more on every surface in my living and room and told my Coven to have at it. Some stumbled down the stairs with far more than they could reasonably carry. I only kept things that are extremely hard to come by or very personal to me. Everything else went away.

But as my husband and I are only planning to be in this current apartment for a brief time, we’ve not done a lot of unpacking. In fact, my altar items and the few Et-Cetera things I kept are still boxed. Without these things, without my Familiar, and now without my Coven, I even asked my husband if I were even still a Witch. He assured me that I was. But it’s as though the Goddess were tapping Her foot all while I ranted about not needing anything in hand to do Magick with Spirit, waiting for me to prove it. Here I am, trying to prove it. I have come full-Circle and am back to being the curious little Witch simply looking up at the moon and speaking to Her, that connection being the sole source of Magick.

The Ace of Swords looks like a sterile card, but from the crown on the top promises growth and life and all the things we’re supposed to want. Many descriptions talk about breaking down to the bare bones of a situation. Others promise conflict. Some interpretations talk about the swords being communication, but I’ve never seen the Ace of Swords mean a reciprocal communication card. When it means communications, the words are harsh, even mean.

When I did Tarot of the Boroughs, I took it as a conflict card or even cruelty card. No cards in the Tarot are all bad, neither are they all good. But it can be hard to find comforting, supportive messages in the Ace of Swords. It’s a card that cuts, like the surgeon’s scalpel. Ultimately, it will do good, but not always through the most comfortable channels. That’s okay, honestly. I think the American culture, in particular the alternative spirituality culture, has gotten too hooked on comfort–people only engaging in practices and things with which they are fully comfortable. While we should not dip into self-harm, but how are we supposed to strengthen our bodies if we don’t go through a period of discomfort? I did a headstand in yoga for the first time on Saturday. It was not comfortable. Savasana is comfortable.  But if I only did Savasana in my yoga practice, I wouldn’t grow any stronger. (Some might say I might not truly appreciate Savasana had I not done the difficult work, first. I disagree. I could lay down motionless any time of the day and fully appreciate it, but I do see the point).

In love readings, this card can portend cold, sterile truth. It can also mean a seemingly minor conflict that has the potential to change things for the better or the worse.

In career, it can mean it’s time to throw your entire force into your proposal, project, role, etc. It may mean you need to prove yourself.

For me, right now, it’s about living the practice I preached for so long. I don’t have any of the “things” that propped up my Craft practice for so long. What do I have? Just me. Just the moon. Just my faith. That’s where I started, and that’s where I am, right now.

From Tarot of the Boroughs!



  • Moira says:

    I truly enjoyed this piece, nice insights into the card. 😀

  • Megan Flanagan says:

    Sister…thank you for sharing these words. I know so intimately where you are right now. Transitions are never easy, but as you said they are nessicary. Yoga metaphor is so perfect for this…love and Light to you, you beautiful Witch.

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