Month and Day Card: Five of Swords and Ace of Cups (engage but abide)


It’s a lovely rainy morning here in the Northeast USA. Finally cooler after a blistering stretch of sun, heat and humidity. The two cards today reflect that transition. It is much like the magic of sunset, a doorway or portal of sorts. It’s been said that the veil is thin between the worlds at twilight and dawn.

I suppose you wouldn’t normally associate all the swords cards with that kind of mystical thinking. I usually associate that feel with either wands or cups myself. But I also think it is important for swords to be a part of that wavelength too. There is a difference between the Tarot sword and a medieval combat sword. It’s the difference between self-cultivation and egoism, between martial arts and combat preparation, between lifestyle and task, between warrior and soldier.

Today’s combination of cards reminds me of the idea of wei-wu-wei, or non-dual action…action without action. I think of it in terms of “engaged, but abiding”. It isn’t blissed out calm, but it isn’t activity either. It’s calm awareness…not asleep at the wheel, not busting a gut either.

Today’s card combination reminds us first of all that such a state exists, and second, that this is a good time to give it a try.

Swords are typically cards of action, outward, engaged, very yang. The ace of cups is inner light, almost the epitome of yin. Wei-wu-wei is an exquisite balance of the two. ┬áReady to act, engaged, watching, yet not acting or interfering. This card combination hints at just letting things be what they are, letting everyone do what they do, and accomplishing much by simple awareness all while not lifting a finger. It’s about being in the moment, not of the moment.

This combo and moment resonates well with the Queen of Swords from yesterday too.  Compare the images of the Black Cats queen and the traditional RWS Queen:


The RWS queen is holding her hand forward and her sword up (one might say awkwardly and in a way not suited to actually using the darn thing) in an outward, active, guarding way. The Cat Queen is calm, poised, alert, ready for action but the sword is down, relaxed and nonthreating…but neither is it vulnerable. This queen is paying attention but not up in arms while she does it. The RWS queen asserts authority, while the cat queen is a warrior-leader in a position of wei-wu-wei.

The combination of the 5 of swords and the ace of cups gives us a very similar energy…outward, active knowing plus inner awareness, inner light. All of these cards hint at that active engagement blended with calm observation. It is a day to engage, but abide.