Sunday, 15 August 2010

Variations on the 3 of Swords Part 4

OK, so in this little exploration of the 3 of Swords we've looked at romantic love, religion, politics, family, and non-human representations of different kinds of pain and sorrow.  "What else can there possibly be?" I hear you ask.

Well, going through my decks I found a number of representations of men being the ones in pain.  It made me think about how men suffering heartache is portrayed by society, or not.  For example, in the Fradella 3 of Swords, we see Three Musketeers skewering another man with their swords.  Here, then, not romantic heartache, but rather betrayal and destruction.  Being turned on by the pack, feeling humiliation as well as suffering.  Yet still reaching out, struggling to survive or perhaps just to try to find redemption.  How macho!

In the Tarot of Reflections the 3 of Swords also shows a man.  Yet we see next to nothing of him.  His arms wrap tight around his torso, and his head is bowed.  He is so closed off by his pain that he doesn't allow us in at all.  And this is probably a very common tactic among Western men who are taught that "Big boys don't cry".  What comes up for me when I see this card, though, is how lonely that must feel.

I wonder what the significance is of one sword having a straight hand guard and seeming more real.  While he remains enclosed by the unreal thoughts and ideas represented by the reflected swords, he stays locked in stasis, unable to help himself, unable to connect with anyone else.  Perhaps, though, there is something positive in this self-protective stance in the short run.  It may be a necessary step before he can reach out and grab that golden sword and draw himself back into the world again, protected by a new way of seeing things, rather than by being shut off. 

Finally, there is the Fey Tarot.  Once again, similar themes seem to come up here.  The card shows a male fey character, who has internalised his pain, making it a part of himself.  Not so much soaked in sorrow, instead he is trapped in an ocean of emotion.  Although he has wings, the sword which he has taken into himself must surely weigh him down, preventing him from moving out of this painful situation.  He, too, seems despondent and alone.

What do you make of these images?  As a man, do they chime with your experience of heartache?  As a woman, have you seen men around you behave in these ways?  Or is it all just gender stereotyping?

Images from the Fradella Tarot, the Tarot of Reflections and the Fey Tarot.

No comments:

Post a Comment