The Knight of Swords of the Running Press Tarot and the Prince of Swords of the Thoth Tarot, both represent a mental element of ideas that can be constructive or destructive. By now, the reader may know that Crowley's Knights were seen as Battle Kings, and the traditional Tarot Knights are his Princes.
On the Knight of Swords, a traditional placement of this card of archetypal personality, we have the Knight/Prince, riding astride an eagle, with his sword held high. The spade playing card, which is the suit of swords in playing cards, which is a "game" that evolved from tarot, so that the practitioner's wouldn't be executed for heresy by the Inquisition, is shown as his sword hilt. The eagle was sacred to the ancient sky god's such as Jupiter, and Zeus. In fact, it was thought that the Roman Emperor's soul was supposed to incarnate in an eagle upon death.
The yellow corners of this card declare it as under the influence of the Universal Element of Air (Conscious Mind). The card is an upbeat card and according to the author, is implying that one can be an understanding listener, and know just what to say to please others. But the caution here, is to not become so close to associates that one forgets to think for one's self.
The Thoth- Prince of Swords is also called the Chariot of the Winds, Prince and emperor of the Sylphs and Sylphides.
Zodiacally, he is the last Decan of Capricorn and the first two Decans of Aquarius.
He is Specific Air of Primal Air. The Element Air, is Mind, so this one is like the mind itself, which can love thought alone, and not care what it does.
The Tarot of the Golden dawn card, had two fairies pulling the chariot but in the, Thoth Tarot card of the Prince of Swords these fairies are shown as spheres of light in front of the Chariot, accompanied by three winged children who are pulling it. Implying that, this chariot may be pulled capriciously and/or mischievously in any direction, imitating the Conscious Mind itself. Also there is significant Yesod-Moon symbolism here to suggest this is a card of mind. Fairies are "children of the Moon".
In the right hand, the Prince is swinging the Sword of invocation and creation and in his left is a sickle which immediately destroys that which is created. With childlike innocence, the Prince of Swords wields his Sword of Geburah/Severity. The logical mental processes of the Prince has reduced the Air (mind) into geometric symbols that represent no real plan, but are demonstrative power of undefined purpose.
Once again, the Prince of Swords represents the airy part of Air which as air is directed by "outside influences" such as the heat of passion and the coolness of pure coldness.
This is the Archetypal personality of the intellectual, pure mind, as such. The Prince of Swords is dressed in woven-full armor of definite device. His chariot is composed of geometric ideas. This chariot is drawn by unharnessed wing children "who are flights of fancy" and may go any-which way they like, as the reins are attached to passing geometric ideas. This is like, " the knowledge of Euclid expounded upon by an idiot" (Crowley), whose argument takes any twist and turn it wants to, and yet be totally "rational". Thus the chariot is easily moved but unable to go into any definite direction---except by accident.
This is pure intellect without the direction supplied by empathy. Never the less, the Prince of Swords is crown by a Child's Head, for there is a secret Divinity here that is linked up to Tiphareth (the Son/Sun of God), but usually, if this personality thinks in terms of the divine, one believes they are above all others and suffers from the righteousness of an fanatic.
Since the logical process of the Prince of Swords has reduced the Air to many diverse geometric patterns, they reduce the power of creative mind, as they have no definite purpose. This is symbolized by the Sword in his right hand (willingness to create) and in his left hand a sickle, which destroys what he immediately creates. Being that his thoughts require no practical effort, he is purely intellectual, full of ideas that tumble over one-another in a mass of ideas unrelated to each other. He has all the apparatus of the Mind, intensely clever, admirably rational, thought in its highest degree, but unstable of purpose as even his own ideas are approached with his indifference. He knows that any idea is as good as another and can rationally persuade an Eskimo into buying a “walk in freezer” even though nature has already provided one! By removing the substance of an idea, he can place every idea into an ideal world of ratiocination....it always looks good on paper no matter how impractical it is to build!
Being that ratiocination is purely formal, even the very facts that promote his ideas are ignored so that his ideas become baseless and unreal.
This person is immensely powerful because of their unsettled principles which enable them to put forth any argument without regret or remorse...kind of like an insane-used-car salesman from hell. The Prince of Swords personality is glib to quote scripture, cunningly supporting any thesis without considering the fact that he supported an opposite thesis earlier in his bombast. He is impossible to defeat because any position is as good as another and ready to enter into combination with the nearest element available. He really doesn't care if his or her ideas are detrimental to life, the idea is its own purpose! His/her momentary Vision is above all else!
These elusive and elastic people are only of use, if mastered by the Greater Will and Intellect of Spirit...as in the 6th Sephiroth on the Tree of Life known as Tiphareth-Beauty, which is the Divine Child in manifestation. The Chaotic nature of Pure Mind must be controlled by the Understanding Mother of All form--- as Force for its own sake is utter destruction of all life. Without the Understanding of Spirit and its purpose for life, these personalities become faddists, fundamentalists, fanatics, devotees of drink and drugs, humanists (those who believe that mankind is the center of the universe----all else can cease to exist) and bible thumping theologians. But even in such directions there is not stability, and they wander from cult to cult, vice to vice, supporting fanatical convictions for the sake of whim. It is easy to be deceived by such people as they manifest great potency of thought and are often describe as having great depth and breadth of mind. As in all readings, the surrounding cards will show the dignity of this card.
There is however, a bright light here when Pure Mind aligned with Pure Spirit, ideas can become living image. Pure Spirit does not reside in religion...that chaos of ideas belongs to the idiots that praise god for creating life while their fanatical ideas destroy it all around them. Rather the Purity of Spirit that is the Life itself, that resides as the Great Ocean of Mother all around, in and through us....AS US! So once again, "above all things know thyself", is necessary here. I Am Love and all around me Love is expressing itself as another way of being. We belong to each other, and not to ideas that separate us from each other. Ideas, have no purpose unless applied to the unification of Life---for that is the Great Work of Spirit. Ideas make God in their own image, while The Soul-makes us into its image! Thus it is obvious, that to know The Divine Creative is to know thyself!
As a person, The Prince of Swords or Knight of Air personality is purely intellectual:
- Overflowing with ideas that tumble over each other in a mass unrelated to practical effort.
- This is a brain that won't quiet itself down long enough to focus well on one thing.
- Intensely clever, admirably rational, with high degrees of thought, yet unstable of purpose.
- There is in this Prince of mind, and indifference to their own thought, as any idea is worth exploring, but not for too long.
- By reducing every thought to ratiocination, this personality has removed all substance from thoughts, making them formal and fantastical, as they no longer relate to any facts; even those upon which the thoughts are individually based.
- Thus, this person is completely free from settled principles and is capable of conceiving and putting out any conceivable argument without the clutter of remorse or regret.
- This is a mind so glib, that it is able to forget the contrary argument it produced minutes before and go sallying forth with a new argument.
- These people often become faddists, cultists and devotees of drink, drugs, theologies, humanitarianism or music and religion, but without stability.
- The querent feels the need to release creative and intuitive thought while cutting through any barrier to this release.
- There is a tendency to think too fast so slowing down the thought process is advised if success is to be achieved.
- The querent is showing the tendency to be overly rational, missing the subtle emotional points that would heed success in communication.
If the querent is able or has achieved the ability to focus their thought, they are committed to acting out their ideals and philosophy in their own lives; not really caring about how others do it, as they put incredible energy into supporting or examining particular beliefs.
- They often present a magnetic personality that is extravagant, careless and excessive.
- Ruthlessly brilliant, they can have good business judgment. There is a combative nature here that is courageous, turbulent and skilled in the war of wits.
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