The Six of Swords

Fffffffuuuuh… It’s swords again. Not even a court card, either.

I mean, I don’t have anything against  swords, but I haven’t had a lot of positive experiences with them lately, either. At least this one isn’t so bad.

They (though I’m not exactly sure who “they” are) say that you change every seven to ten years. Depending on who you ask, this comes from either a physical place, or a metaphysical one. Some hold that our body cells are effectively replaced every seven or so years — not all at once, mind, but every seven years you can be reasonably confident that you no longer contain the same cells you did on that day seven years ago. Some hold that our luck or our spiritual growth move in seven-year cycles.

All of this is to say that this is a Six of Swords kind of week.

The Six of Swords doesn’t really look like a happy card — if anything, it’s bittersweet. Three people, presumably a family, load up a bunch of swords in their rowboat and shove off. Their backs are to the viewer, indicating that they are leaving, not arriving. In the Rider-Waite-Smith deck, the two seated figures almost appear huddled. It is abundantly clear that this is not a pleasure trip.

Still, that aside it’s not all bad. Interpretations vary, but all of them have one element in common: letting go and moving on. As unhappy as these people might look right now, they’re headed away from the source of their unhappiness and moving toward something better.

Trouble is, they don’t look happy to be leaving.

The Six of Swords is about cutting your losses. It’s letting go of something you might want to keep holding onto, but which is ultimately not actually helping you. Whether it’s a situation, an idea, a feeling, or a habit, it needs to be dropped for growth and progress to take place.

In some interpretations, the Six of Swords stands for healing. I can understand why — these people are leaving a bad situation. Things are looking up, but they can’t see that yet because they are still in the midst of the pain of leaving.

When I was younger, I was fortunate to learn something in the midst of a very frustrating job search. I was underemployed, in a bad relationship, annoyed at my lack of progress, and fed up with the dearth of opportunities in front of me. A set of circumstances — far too long to delve into here — taught me that every chance I was denied was a sign that something better was close by. When I didn’t get the job I was hoping for, it was because the opportunity I stumbled upon a week later was waiting for me. When my relationship finally ended its interminable death throes, it was because there was an incredible set of experiences that I never would’ve gotten to have if it hadn’t.

I wanted to know more, though. The Six of Swords isn’t a bad card to pull, though it’s a bit thorny. But what am I supposed to be leaving?

I pulled Justice.

I have to admit, I’ve been holding on to a very particular idea of fairness. They say the best revenge is living well, but it can be very difficult to enjoy if your enemies don’t know you are, you know? People often talk about a very westernized idea of karma. Rather than the sum of one’s actions deciding their fate in a future life, it’s regarded as a kind of manifestation of “the golden rule.” You do unto others, and life does unto you. If only things were so simple!

I get what the cards mean, though. In this cycle of life, I have to let go of the last nagging part of me that wants things to be fair. Life isn’t fair. I left my enemies behind so they wouldn’t have a negative impact on my life anymore, but, but continuing to live in hope of justice and some kind of fairness, I’m still allowing them to affect me. It’s only when I can rid myself of their influence entirely that I’ll really be free.

We’ll see where this week goes.

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