Tuesday, 3 July 2012


©Nozedar & Sutton
The card for today from the Secret Language of Birds Tarot (Schiffer, 2012) and the Haindl Tarot (U.S. Games, 1990) is a far from cheerful one - the Five of Swords!

The SLB shows five birds, four in a square in the background, one far closer to us in the foreground.  They seem to float above a sword at the bottom of the card.  The companion book explains that these are seagulls - adaptable, with a far-ranging perspective and an ability to surf the winds of life.

I can see the traditional association of defeat in the sense of the central bird being the winner, leaving the others behind, or them being forever pushed into a more submissive place in the social hierarchy.  However, the SLB version of this card is very open to more positive interpretations, too.  For example, it could be read as being supported by others, or by your own work and thoughts that go on in the background before your "15 minutes of fame".  I also really like Nozedar's question for this card (she writes one for every pip): "How do I know when it's time to change tactics?"  Is it time to come forward and take charge, or time to back off a bit, take a back seat and rest?

©Hermann Haindl
As for the Haindl, this follows more closely the Thoth association.  Between the sadly broken swords and the fact that it has the keyword "Defeat" written on it, the interpretation of this card is definitely more limited.  Still, there is also the angry camel's face in the background, chomping on the only unbroken sword.  It makes me think of camels spitting, and a sense of being down but not out of the game yet.  While your thoughts may be in disarray and all your plans seem to have come to naught, while you've got fight left in you, you've got possibilities still: that red dot in a bubble floating above the swords, sign of new life and hope.

Nozedar's question echoes in my mind still: is it time to change tactics?  And in which area of my life?  And the Haindl asks: what new hope is there right in front of me that I may not yet have spotted?  This could be about changing tack with the client I'm seeing today, as we enter the home stretch of our therapy sessions.  Or it might be something a bit closer to home: I have a number of decisions to make over the summer about which path I want to follow for the next year or two...

I am grateful not all situations are lose-lose.


  1. I saw those five birds and thought of the view a hunter might have as the birds go over head. It made me wonder if this card might not mean "don't make yourself a target." Then I read your excellent blog. It's an interesting change from Nozedar. I'll have to step back to see how that sits with me. I do love your blog.

  2. Hi Arwen,

    That's what I love about semi-illustrated pips - they are much more open to different interpretations. It makes me wonder, what in your life right now makes you feel like you're being made a target?

    Glad you enjoy the blog, it means a lot!

  3. Hmmm, nothing really. I come from a family of hunters though so that is more likely where it hails from. I don't hunt myself, but the rest do. :D

    1. An interesting perspective to have at your disposal, I guess :)