6 of Swords – Just An Idea

Artemis Artemis says:

“Science is a way of life. Science is a perspective. Science is the process that takes us from confusion to understanding in a manner that’s precise, predictive and reliable – a transformation, for those lucky enough to experience it, that is empowering and emotional.” Brian Greene

Crowley’s Title: “Science”
Tree of Life: Tiphareth through Air
Astrology: Mercury in the 2. decan of Aquarius
Suit: Swords
Arcana:  Minor

Initial Impressions

I love this card.  It is my “life path” card and, in essence, describes one of the more important lessons I have learned this lifetime (thus far).  I believe Crowley had the absolute best title for this card; Science.   6 of Swords is transitioning from one shore to the other in a mental/ideas sense.  Some process you have didn’t work and you must now move on to something new.  This is a lot like science – true science – real science in it’s rawest sense.  When one idea stream doesn’t seem to be meshing with reality, we must depart from old structures and move on to a whole new paradigm.  This card, to me, is the mental paradigm shift.

How does one wrap up the old while doing the new?  It’s been quite the ride for me.  I went from a corporate individual to working for a hippie egalitarian restaurant/theater to starting my own business in the esoteric arts.  I went from Muslim to Wiccan to Militant Atheist who ran my university’s Atheist club, to mystic.  I’ve gone from shore to shore with my thinking, and each time the shift has happened an intellectual melancholy has threatened me akin to the looming of the 9 of Swords.  After my transition from atheism into mysticism (which was grinding through an awkward stage of agnosticism), I went through the gloomiest few years of my life.  How could everything I believed have been shattered by a mere few experiences?  But I was so sure!

Thoth deck 6 Swords "Science"

Thoth deck 6 Swords “Science”

How can I trust myself again?  Why did I treat others so badly based on my dogma?  It was, to say the least, a very eye opening experience getting to know the essence of this card up close and personal.  It taught me some very important lessons.  Once a very fervent belief system has been shattered in your hands, treating situations and others with a righteous sense of dogma should be harder for one to do.  If you take a truly scientific approach to life, then there must be a flexibility of mind.  You were not a failure or stupid in the past, just experimenting with ideas.  Without experimentation, science has no basis at all.  Without measuring and trying – without transitioning from one paradigm to the other – we would wholly remain stagnant in one world view – which will never teach us the full picture.  Without experiencing all the nuances in life, you can never understand the method to the madness.

If we look to the past – especially to any spiritual or scientific radical thinkers – we can see that they are met with a sort of… harshness…

1980 Soviet Poster Burning of Bruno

1980 Soviet Poster Burning of Bruno

Martin Luther nailing his radical thoughts on the church doors, Darwin informing us all of his evolutionary observations, Copernicus telling us that the solar system could perhaps be helio-centric, etc etc etc  All of these radical, transitional 6 of Swords thinkers have been met with contempt and scorn.  So yeah, transitioning from one paradigm of thinking to another is usually met with a lot of hostility, regret, gloominess and the like.  Keep this in mind.  There will be those that meet you with harshness when you are within the energy of this card, so tying things together and melding paradigms will be exceedingly difficult at times.  But, on a personal level, this card is amazing.  It means you have finally moved on from something that was keeping you back, and now greener pastures are ahead for you.  And again… and again… and again…  the experiment never ends.

“You cannot convince a believer of anything; for their belief is not based on evidence, it’s based on a deep seeded need to believe.”  – Carl Sagan

Rider-Wait Depiction

6 of swords

All 3 characters in this card are facing away from us.  The man is rowing the boat while the woman and child are seated looking away.  The woman is wearing a shroud – giving us an indication of a sort of mourning.  There are 6 Swords before her, showing us the view in front of her is obscured but she is moving forward.  The colors in this card are very Mercurial (blue and orange), and a steel grey sky in the distance indicates a steely, blunt energy to this card.  The waters are vast, indicating that some work must be done in order to transition to the other shore.


Alas, this is true science.  Experimenting.  Empiricism instead of dogmatic structures purely based off of thought bubbles.  Unfortunately human nature slips back into dogma – even about the scientific process itself.  This card is about method, but be careful not to turn the method into the paradigm.  Once we have an experience or come into contact with an event that shifts our former way of thinking, we must come up with a method in order to transition from one to the other.  The energy of this card could get dogmatic.  One could slip into a state of hyper rationalism when focusing on method, or drop into a distrustful nature about everything.  How can you trust anything anymore after such a horrible paradigm smashing experience?  Every idea is in evolution at all times.  How do you transition between ideas, and how do you mediate between ideas?  This is the 6 of Swords.

The strangest part after having a mental paradigm shift is interacting with individuals and events that deal with your old paradigm.  How do you communicate the ineffable?  How do you translate your new language into the old?  This is the method behind the 6 of Swords.  One must learn that you start at the root, just like any scientific experiment, and build your way up.  You don’t immediately start using the new language of the new paradigm, but slowly bleed the new into the old.  It takes time, patience, and a lot of courage to move forward when you are blind to exactly what the future holds (and you are coming from the blind past).

The 6 of Swords has a “regret” about it.  A lot of tarotologists will say there is a gloom to it because you must leave something important, something that was very sacred to you behind in order to reach the other shore.  Not everything will fit in your boat of transition.  The best part about this card is knowing that whatever you are leaving behind you must leave behind.  Something about it is false, old, not real.  The figures in the card are looking away because if they look back they know they can never get to the other shore.  This card has also come about often as an indication of finally moving on from a past anxiety, which is a great indicator card for the present if you have – say – something like the 9 of Swords in the past position.  It is okay if things in the past were “just an idea.”  A lot of things in your life, paradigms you try, will be “just ideas.”  We move on and transition to the next shore through experience and empirical data, and to do that we must dive into different worlds all the time.  It is no failure on your part if something you clung onto so tightly turned out to unravel in your hands.  Without these “experiments,” how would you know if things actually tick correctly?

So allow the old to die, find the method to moving forward, and try and slowly meld until you reach the other shore.  Aquarius is the transition period between the old paradigm (Capricorn) and the new (Pisces).  They are perfecting, merging, method, connecting.  How can you connect from one thing to the other?  The best part about this card is that it is already happening when it appears in your hand.  You are already in the midst of a transition.  Now will you get stuck in the mud right off the banks, or will you row steadily to your destination?  Taking a scientific method to any situation is very rough, but it is the true nature of the air suit.  This card is the air suit at it’s best – its most active and at it’s most “at home” state.  This is your mind doing what it does best; figuring shit out and melding ideas, comparing, throwing useless data away, and moving forward.  This is rationality at it’s finest.  This could also be rationality at it’s worst if the user of this energy allows it to make the method the dogma.  So, in essence, check yourself.

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