Today we move on to the Six of Swords, which - in the system I use - is linked to Mercury in Aquarius, as well as to the middle ten days of Aquarius (30th January to 8th-9th February this year).
Just to recap: Aquarius is the fixed Air sign, so we’re looking at maintaining lines of communications, and establishing ideas and concepts – but not just any old idea. This is the sign of the unconventional and the unorthodox, the reformer and revolutionary. When we add Mercury, the communicator, the trader, to this sign we have an energy that wants to express and share its ideas, its ideology, its humanitarian aims, perhaps. Aquarius can be detached and impersonal, so the method of communicating or sharing is likely to reflect that – this won’t be about the emotions! There could be lots of discussion, and perhaps even the establishing of groups based around a common cause that will involve the need to make changes. Innovative or experimental thinking – leading to the ‘science’ keyword used by Crowley in his Thoth deck – is also an aspect of Mercury in Aquarius.
Bu how is Mercury in Aquarius reflected in the Six of Swords? Traditionally, we tend to see the Six of Swords as being about transition – leaving behind difficult situations and moving towards a calmer place. Often the image is one of people being carried by boat out of a stormy atmosphere into one that looks more peaceful. The key, I think, is that we find a way out of our difficulties by coming up with new ways of thinking – that the solution comes through a different idea, perhaps even a revolutionary or unorthodox one, or one that requires some experimenting.
In the Shadowscapes deck, we have quite a different image but it still conveys the idea of a “passage from difficulty”, to quote the accompanying book (). Although the creator of the deck doesn’t draw on astrological associations, I can see Mercury’s ability to analyze and see clearly helping to bring perspective to what lies ahead (Aquarius), easing the transition.
In the Thoth, the swords meeting at a central point symbolizes the meeting of a variety of ideas that results in a new vision, while the rose at the centre represents the blossoming of a new reality – the transition to a new perspective, a calmer place. ‘Science’ here refers to the way in which new knowledge helps us to move away from outdated ways of thinking – and the need to communicate and share such knowledge so that others can adapt as well.
Shadowscapes Tarot created by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law and Barbara Moore, published by Llewellyn
Sharman-Caselli Tarot created by Juliet Sharman-Burke, illustrated by Giovanni Caselli, published by Connections
Thoth Tarot created by Aleister Crowley, illustrated by Lady Frieda Harris, published by US Games Systems, Inc.
Wildwood Tarot created by Mark Ryan and John Matthews, illustrated by Will Worthington, published by Connections