A young woman dressed in the garb of an apprentice straddles a grassy outcropping wielding a sword. Behind her, trees bend under strong winds, billowy clouds race across the sky, and a flock of birds takes flight.
The Princess of Swords represents the “earthy” element of air, the quality of air that is most tangible to our senses. We see it most obviously in the bending branches of the trees on the horizon and in the birds soaring in the sky. There are ten of them, symbolizing the airy aspects of the Tree of Life, and they represent the beneficent side of the Princess—she “puts the wind to their sails” for their migratory flights—while the trees represent her destructive side, which we see most plainly when they she topples them in hurricanes and tornados.
Like her brother the Prince, the Princess has typically been assigned to the sign of Aquarius, the Water-Bearer. As a fixed sign, she is determined in her zeal and can be ruthless when provoked; in our waking lives, she can provide us with energy by powering wind turbines, or she can destroy whole cities with storms and typhoons. Besides representing the “breath of life” that animates us, air represents motion—the passing from one plane of consciousness to another. As such, the Princess suggests “news on the wing” that might be beneficial to us—or perhaps not, depending on how we respect her.
Meanings in a reading can include: News arriving, the mind put in motion, original thought, youthful ardor, a helpful ally, or mundanely, a young woman born under an air sign; but also secrecy, suspicion, plagiarism and deceit, cruelty and malice, an implacable foe, or the destructive powers of the air. She is arguably much craftier than the other Princesses—because unlike fire, water, and earth, she is formless and thus is invisible to us; we can only feel her most benign and malign aspects.