Death as the Knight of Swords

The Shuffle Tarot (Collection B) shows Death as the Knight of Swords. I think the image of Death riding swiftly towards their goal is an incredibly apt reflection of our current times.

The Beatles Tarot cleverly refers to the Suit of Air as S/words to signify the idea that words are a key aspect to this element. Air represents the intellectual aspect of humans and words are the primary means by which we express this aspect of ourselves. It is one of the most efficient ways to communicate ideas.

In our modern times, words are flying through the super info highway faster than the speed of light. This ability to deliver ideas with more haste than a UPS package is both our blessing and our curse. Words can cut away lies and reveal truth. But the ugly truth is that words can also wound (like the 3 of Swords).

I believe that both is happening right now. On the one hand, I’m excited by the conversation topics that have been brought to light these past few years. I feel so honoured to be living in a time when so many people believe that everyone has a right to speak their truth. We are a generation who are aware of the oppression we inherited and refuse to abide to rules that serve only the few. For a long time, society worked because the oppressors were able to depend on the silence of the oppressed. But we’ve reached the point where there’s no more room under the carpet and the dirt is out in the open for all to see.

On the other hand, I fear that we’re not only slashing away oppressive chains, but bridges as well. With social media, words have gone from being swords to machine guns. They’re spewing out words like projectile vomiting – done without much thought, control and often times, without consideration of the effect they’ve caused.

It’s a one way street and a shouting match in which no one listens. We speak not in desire for a response, but for an echo. We claim that we’re speaking to create change but we refuse to talk to the people we want to change. Instead of using words to communicate, we use it to end conversations. And this quality is the truly frightening side to the Knight of Sword, especially when donned with Death’s armor.

This knight is driven by a singularity of purpose and that purpose is their belief. While it’s important to be strong and defend our beliefs, it is also important to consider other people’s beliefs. This knight is so tunneled visioned, however, that they only see what they want to see and hear what they want to hear. With no room in their hearts to empathize with others, they slash through everything in their way to their goal, leaving behind a trail of dead bodies on their path to moral superiority.

Meditating upon this Knight of Swords and all the change and damage they are capable of, I am reminded of the importance of balance. Just as important as it is to use our words to influence others, we must also learn to be silent and allow ourselves to be influenced at times. Prejudice ends when society grows more compassionate and compassion requires us to listen.





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