Exploring the Ace of Swords

Welcome to Tarot Thursdays! This week we will be exploring the Ace of Swords and how it can be used as a prompt or brainstorming in our writing.

Tarot is an interesting thing. It’s based upon symbolism and metaphors through imagery. With these images the subconscious mind is tapped into through the story provided. Not everyone gets the same thing from a piece of art. Each piece will influence each person in a slightly different way.


Introduction of the Card

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Those of you that followed this series over on the Chaos Pen will remember the Swords Suit. Hopefully I will be putting a bit of a new twist on these cards for all of you. The Ace of Swords is card number 50 in the deck of the Orphalese Tarot program on my computer so that’s where we’ll be jumping to and it’s first card of the Sword Suit in the Minor Arcana of the Tarot.

Let’s take a look at the following examples of this card below.


Card Examples

L-s1Notice the similarities between them and take note of their differences. Do any of these move you more than the others? Take your time and allow these cards to tell you their story.


My Analysis of These Cards

First up we have in the Mythic Tarot card the goddess Athena bearing the gift of a sword. Now I have always wondered that if she’s an Olympian goddess, a warrior goddess of justice at that, why is this sword so heavy for her in this picture? Who’s sword is this and why does she have it? What was the artist thinking when they painted it? Now bear with me, I’m not angry about the card. I love the suit of swords, but I am also fascinated with Greek mythology. Not an expert in it. Not even remotely close. In fact, I’m not familiar with the story this suit tells. So this card comes across peculiar to me. It’s thought provoking. What is she doing here, who does she intend to give this sword to, and for what purpose?

Next is the Dragon Tarot card and boy, doesn’t that look magical? I don’t know, maybe it’s just my bias for this suit, but it really does look cool compared to the other aces in this deck. Like this dragon truly has something special to give or has just received something awesome here.

The Universal Tarot has the standard divine hand offering the sword as a gift to whomever to accept it and make use of it. I know there are many people like this classic depiction, but I find it kind of boring to be really honest.

In the Tarot of Dreams we have an angelic sword being of some kind. So here the sword itself is an entity. I find this to be an interesting deviation from the typical gift concept from the aces. Here instead it suggests more of a catalyst is going on. Like something is coming down to bestow wisdom, a great truth, or maybe even a command. Something to spur you forward in life rather than just hand you something and vanish.


Themes of the Card

Each card has a set of keywords associated with it that serve as themes for its image. These keywords will vary somewhat depending on who you ask.

According to the Learning the Tarot website, the keywords associated with the card are:

  • MENTAL FORCE
  • TRUTH
  • JUSTICE
  • FORTITUDE

You can learn more about what this site has to say about this card here.

According to the Biddy Tarot website, the keywords associated with the card are:

  • RAW POWER
  • VICTORY
  • BREAK THROUGHS
  • MENTAL CLARITY

You can learn more about what this site has to say about this card here.


What this Card Means to Me

This card represents the wellspring of the mind and all the energy the mind has to offer. It’s those lightbulb “ah-ha” moments that propels us forward and allows us to seize the day.

Like when I was a kid in school and for the life of me I could not make sense out of how to use a dictionary. I don’t know, I was probably in the second or third grade? So I was 8 or 9 years old. “If you don’t know how to spell the word in the first place, then how are you supposed to be able to find it?” I kept asking.

One day, it just clicked. You start with the letters that make sense and go from there and you keep trying until you get to the word you need. Imagine that. Suddenly my child mind found this complex tome to be my best friend in the entire world and I was learning all kinds of new words.

Now of course we have things like Google and Spell Checkers, but back then it was a brand new frontier for me. Looking back, I don’t know why I had such a hard time figuring it out but I did.

And that ladies and gentlemen was one of my childhood Ace of Swords moments in life.

The key phrase I choose for this card is:  GIFT OF THE MIND.


Music Playlist

In this spirit of all this, these are the songs I have picked out for this card.


The Writing Exercise

This exercise is a free write. Permit yourself to write whatever comes to mind based upon the theme of this card. Choose a keyword or key phrase and run with it to see what you come up with.


I would love it if you linked or pinged back what you wrote so I could see where you went with this.

Happy writing!


Mythic Tarot by Liz Greene (Author), Juliet Sharman-Burke (Author), Tricia Newell (Illustrator) © 1989
Dragon Tarot by Terry Donaldson (Author), Peter Pracownik (Author) © 1996
Universal Tarot by Lo Scarabeo (Author), R. De Angelis (Illustrator), A. E. Waite (Designer) © 2001
Tarot of Dreams by Ciro Marchetti (Author), Lee Bursten (Author) © 2015

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