Tarot Perspectives: TWO OF SWORDS / TWO OF FEATHERS / PEACE
How can I find some personal space and mental serenity?
What follows is a comparison of the imagery and interpretation of the Rider-Waite, The Haindl, and the Collective Tarot decks' respective 2nd cards in the air suit.
Rider-Waite shows blindfolded figure holding their hands crossed over their heart, holding two long swords pointing upwards. They sit on a bench at the edge of the water, with a clear blue sky and a waxing crescent moon - is it rising or setting? Rachel Pollack in The New Tarot Handbook points out that the swords are held in an unsustainable position- the subject will either drop them or be pushed backwards "into the choppy waters of emotion". The image denotes a choice to have been blindfolded- a way of blocking out or cutting off accessibility from those outside the figure's personal space.
Haindl's deck names this card Peace, using the I Ching 11, T'ai, or Peace. The reversal of this is 12, P'i, or Standstill. The I Ching hexagram is a combination of two trigrams, which describe receptive creativity. Peace is found in allowing oneself to channel creative flow. Reversed, the Standstill hexagram indicates the lack of peace that comes from inability to communicate. The image on Haindl's card is of two swords, pointed downwards, in a symbol of controlled mental will. Peace requires some amount of creative control, ownership, and balance. The swords are perfectly parallel to each other, contrary to the Rider Waite deck where they cross, there is no chance of them being used to block out. They are at no risk of being used in this image. Their mere presence is enough to maintain balance and focus. They are suspended between the stone walls of the temple and what appears to be the trunk of a tree, possibly part of the background scene of a full moon above a quiet grove. The balance between the controlled stones and the wild tree is the balance between creative refinement and freedom. The fullness of the moon is illuminating, there is no hiding from what stillness and serenity can enlighten.
Collective Tarot shows a nude figure with feathers crossed over his heart in a permanent ink gesture that says "none shall pass", but softly, with easily-moved feathers. He is packing or peering into an empty box, in a room that is mostly empty except for the patterned wallpaper showing birds in flight. He is certainly alone, and consumed in his endeavors, eyes downcast, unaware even of the breeze as it blows the curtains of the window, inviting him outside to enjoy the day. The Collective Tarot's booklet emphasizes the warning that closing off from the outside world can be isolating and rooted in "personal mythology that no one understands you, or that you're better off alone." This is what essentially sets the 2 of air cards from the Hermit-- it is a temporary mental state of retreat, not a full immersion into the identity of a loner, that makes this card an active minor arcana.
Thanks to @inthe78cards and @thetruthinstory for hosting this month's awesome challenge, as I'm loving the wealth of information coming from all these comparisons.