Many people ask me the reason the Rider-Waite-Smith and other traditional medieval decks depict Pages instead of Princesses. One reason given, is that the Page is an androgynous figure, thus represents either a male or female. The truth is, the older decks, were created by oath bound occultist of Mystery lodges that were not allowed to tell the general public the mysteries of the arcane and the Christian culture was misogynistic. Be that as it may, the Princesses are a doorway to rule over the Divine Creative's expression as Elementals on earth. The Princesses held in their hands the Power of the Seed over their various elements on earth. They traditionally represent Thrones of Authority on Earth granted by the Union of the Divine Mother and Father. Hence, the Princess of Swords has rule over all consciousness on earth.
The Princesses have no zodiac attributions, yet they represent four types of Heh final in the Name of Yod Heh Vau Heh (you may look this up in the Book of Thoth by Aleister Crowley). A Princess powerful and terrible, whose effect is the combination of those effects that are attributed to the King, Queen and Prince. She is an Empress on Earth of Her elemental attribution.
The Archetype Princess personality, is more of an "elemental" personage, whose moral character---is often open and free wheeling. Lot's of Passion but not a lot of "common sense". In the Thoth Tarot, they are sub-divide according to planetary predominance, thus the Princess of Wands is associated with one quadrant of the sky above the North Pole.
The Element of Air in this state, is comparable to Divine Consciousness, as all embracing, all penetrating, all wandering and all consuming.
The Status of Elemental Air, as compared to the other Elements of alchemical origin, would seem minor but in reality, Air is the first Element to follow Spirit. Spirit is of the Element- Fire, that begins with the Logos (Word/vibration of the Divine Creative). Air is also attributed to Mercury and most properly, the Breath of Life. Then there is the Hebrew statement," Achath Ruach Elohim Chiim" (777) which means," One is the Spirit (not air) of the Gods of the Living". In this case Air is the medium that carries the Spirit of "the gods of the living" which is called Prana in Sanskrit. Therefore, we can see the spiritual-empowerment of yoga breathing exercises. But most of all, we can see that as Spirit, which comes from the Greek root word, Spiro (meaning Breath) that we, through the Princess (777), are granted "gods of the living" status. She is the "Throne" upon which the Elohim sit. She is the Imagination in our "heads". Besides, it is obvious that we have though the power of our imagination, dominion over the earth and all the elements. It is also obvious that we are being ignorant of our responsibility over the living things; an ignorance we will regret as the winds blow harder and the Seas rise higher.
The Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot Deck holds to the oath bound medieval model, and thus is rather mundane in its depiction. A rather effeminate page is shown "swishing" his/her sword about in a cloudy sky. The Element of Air represents consciousness and the clouds represent emotions or Moods. Thus, the Rider-Waite card concentrates on the Mood fighter characteristics of this card. The yellow tights also imply the element of air, as yellow is the official color of elemental air.
The Princesses wield and objectify the Ace of the element they represent. Hence, the Ace of Swords, is objectified by the Princess of Swords. This Ace of Swords, is an Invoked force for good or evil. It represents the whirling force and strength through trouble. It can be the Sword of Wrath upholding Divine Authority and thus an affirmation of justice in the querent's life. It is the whirling force in the hands of the Princess of Swords who sits upon the Throne of Air and has Dominion over Image-making on earth. Thus, our consciousness and imagination must become lovers , and together, they give birth to the Princess/Page in us as the authority of the "gods of the living".
This is another reason why the patriarchal societies of the past used Pages instead of Princesses. For it would seem effeminate to see ones conscious masculine self, who is to be (by self decree of "might is right") dominant over female, as a subject to the "Princess" inside. She however, is there as the Imagination, which rules our consciousness and emotions. She, being a "womb with a view", is not a true Page but the "ruler over form" on the earth thus enthroned in the Authority of The Great Mother, the feminine of the Divine Creative. She is our "inner goddess".
THE THOTH PRINCESS OF SWORDS, represents the earthly part of Air. She is the fixation of the Volatile. She represents the influence of Heaven on Earth and brings about the materialization of idea. There is some suggestion of the Valkyrie, in this card but She also represents Diana (Goddess of the Moon and the hunt) and characteristics of Minerva (Goddess of Wisdom). To some extent, she represents the anger of the gods, and wears a helm of serpent crest, that symbolizes the serpent-haired Medusa, who as imagination, can turn men's rational ego into motionless stone.
The heavens and clouds whirl about angrily, while she is stabbing downward with her sword. In the back ground is a profaned altar, whose "eternal" fire is unattended by the Vestal Virgins and gone out due to lack of attention, which seems to anger this Valkyrie.
Since Princesses are the "throne of Spirit", the Princess of Swords has the option of "throwing everything overboard" and/or "blowing everything sky high." The Character of this personality Archetype, is stern, and revengeful. Her logic is destructive, as she is both firm and aggressive. She also shows great practical wisdom in material things. Being adroit at controversy,when affairs are controversial in nature, she shows great cleverness and dexterity in the practical management of these affairs.
[Illustration from the Book: The Qabalistic Tarot-by Robert Wang]
Since the Princess of Swords is under the number 7 of the Divine Feminine, those born in the month of February on or between the days of 9-18, are of this personality archetype.
When the Page or Princess of Swords is thrown during a reading, it may represent:
- A young woman with brown hair and blue eyes who shows great wisdom, strength, acuteness, subtleness in material things, She is graceful and has great dexterity.
- The querent's moods are out of bounds and clouding mental clarity.
- Defensiveness. This person is being defensive even to the point of being aggressive in defense.
- Stability of mind, as the querent has stabilized that which is volatile in the mind by recognizing the truth within.
- Is taking risks in life style and communication.
- Is able to cut through cloudy thoughts to get at the truth of a matter.
- Is experiencing the urge to action both impulsive and rash. This is a time of activity and starting new projects.
If ill dignified,
- She is both frivolous and cunning.
- Often she becomes incoherent as all her talents tend to combine forming a species of low cunning. This produces a kind of mental slowness and her mind becomes the prey of constant anxiety, crushed by every kind of responsibility, especially in family affairs.
- She is either a mood fighter or defensive to the point of rash decisions.
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