“Knowledge is made for cutting”: Swords, Intellect, and Suffering.

swords pipsOf the four minor arcana suits, Swords tends to have more than its fair share of dark and scary cards. Where to even start? The confusion of the blindfolded figure in Two who balances crossed swords on her shoulders, the pain of the swords in Three piercing a heart, the unethical behavior of Five and Seven, the bondage and torment of Eight and Nine, the black skies and over-the-top back-stabbing in Ten? When I first took up tarot cards as a teenager these cards creeped me out, but I didn’t know why. Now that I’m older, with some Buddhist teachings and painful but valuable life experiences under my belt, I have a better understanding of of the perils of this suit. Swords are the suit that represents intellect, reason, logic, and empirical knowledge the the product of these things: our beliefs.

Thinking about the suit of swords brought to mind one of the Buddha’s more famous teachings, the simile of the two arrows. You can read it here, but it goes something like this:Continue reading ““Knowledge is made for cutting”: Swords, Intellect, and Suffering.”