Friday, 22 October 2010

Bad rep well deserved? Page of Swords

Continuing my foray into the world of the Swords Court, it being today's #pmtarot it seemed appropriate to turn to the Page of Swords.  In this first image, from the Radiant Rider Waite, we see the Page of Swords, not even really looking at the implement in his or her hand.  This is perhaps one of the least negative takes on the Page of Swords, and fits with Maslow's idea of unconscious incompetence.  This Page isn't yet aware of just how much s/he doesn't know.  Still, often seen as being a student starting on a new course of study, I think one of the positives is the Page's desire for learning.

More often, though, the Page of Swords is described as being someone rather careless, thoughtless, or even nefarious.  Paul Huson, in his academic yet readable tome "Mystical Origins of the Tarot" states that as far back as Etteilla (1785-1807) meanings given for the Page (or Knave) of Swords included: "A spy, a curiosity seeker...an amateur...speculation".  This idea of spying is also found in Mathers (1888), and Waite (1910).  The Golden Dawn, while mentioning "Wisdom, strength, acuteness, subtleness in material things," also say that: "If ill-dignified, she is frivolous and cunning."

In the Gay Tarot the renamed Youth of Swords shows us someone who, from his facial expression, seems more likely to be a hacker than just someone answering an email.  Nevertheless, this image does highlight some of the strengths of the Page of Swords: a desire to learn; a quick mind; the ability to use modern technology; and good communication skills.

Perhaps with mental acuity and a sharp wit there comes more potential to do harm while not yet fully aware of your strengths and weaknesses, and while still being rather naive.  This may be why the Page of Swords is more likely to be seen negatively than any of the other Pages, as there may be a greater chance of him hurting someone, even if unintentionally, or getting carried away with the joy of information, even if it means sneaking around or gossiping.  While the Page of Swords definitely has a lot to learn, at least s/he has the ability and desire to do so.

What do you think?  How do you see the Page of Swords?

Images: Radiant Rider Waite, Gay Tarot.

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