Reflections on The Princess of Swords

Q: Great news: Late yesterday afternoon, I received a solid job offer, a writing gig at a well-known advertising agency. It doesn’t start for another three weeks, and while I don’t receive any benefits since I’ll be working as an “independent contractor”, the pay rate I’ve been offered is outstanding—more generous than I could have imagined. At the risk of sounding premature, it feels as though my prolonged career drought may be finally coming to an end. How should I be feeling about this?

A: Like this, of course!Page

Considered the “junior” members of the Tarot court, Princesses often signify the onset of news—in the case of this Aquarian maiden, of “news in the air”—or the arrival or commencement of an event or enterprise. In either event, this is a fortuitous card for a would-be job seeker, for it would suggest that his or her hard work may be about to pay off in the foreseeable future. Princesses also being associated with study and apprenticeship, the card reminds us of the value of continued study and willingness to learn, regardless of rank or status in the workplace: that we must always be willing to “do our homework” or “pay our dues” whenever we begin a new job or commercial venture, even if we have attained positions of honor in the past. Other attributes of the Princess of Swords are diligence and fortitude, the willingness to persist at a pursuit even when the forces of nature seem to be aligned against you (in the case of the Princess, facing into the wind), and these are likewise admirable traits to be applied to any new job. There is always a “learning curve” of some degree for us to scale whenever we embark upon a new line of work, and we need the willingness to be patient and “stick things out” until the winds are in our favor.

There is a dark “hidden” side to this Princess as well, as the New Vision deck shows us ever-so-slyly:PofS-NVIt may be difficult to make out here, but viewed from behind, we can see that the Princess’s right foot is standing squarely on a rock that is shaped like a man’s face. This suggests the power to “turn men to stone” as the serpent-maned Gorgon Medusa of ancient myth, and other decks have alluded to this attribute as well. The black-and-white Hermetic deck states it plainly while the Crowley Thoth deck implies it with the herald of snakes on the helmet of the sword-wielding figure who is (hint, hint) facing away from us,Screen shot 2015-07-30 at 3.08.41 PMIn practical terms, this reminds us that the ambitious qualities that signify the card—diligence, fortitude, and the perfectionist’s persistence to keep going when others would have given up, or settled for a lesser outcome—can lead to an unhealthy single-mindedness, and to intemperate outbursts of frustration and rage, if unchecked by our willingness to acknowledge our shortcomings. We all want to impress our bosses in order to “get ahead” in the workplace, but we should be careful not to flog our colleagues (or worse, ourselves!) in the pursuit of unrealistic and unachievable goals. It may seem like a smart move in the near term—such boundless “hustle” shows initiative and drive, right?—but over time, people who repeatedly engage in this sort of behavior tend to wear out their welcome amidst their peers, and find themselves being “frozen out” of their company’s social circle. If that isn’t exactly like being “turned to stone,” it is a close approximation.

Dante DiMatteo

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