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Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Flowers from heaven in the 5 of Swords

The 5 of Arrows (Swords) from Sacred India Tarot depicts the scene in which Bheeshma renounces the throne so that his father can marry a woman. The woman's father had denied his permission for them to marry because Bheeshma had already been proclaimed heir. So Bheeshma renounces his right to throne and takes a vow never to father children, so that there will be no offspring of his to threaten the children of his father and the new wife. Before making this vow, Bheeshma was called Devavathra. After, his name is Bheeshma, meaning 'terrible vow' (or something along those lines.) His father, shocked and awed by this act (but still horny for the fisherman's daughter), transfers all his spiritual merit to his son Bheeshma, thus making him practically immortal.

We see in the card the fisherman's daughter, the angry fisherman, and Bheeshma, raising five arrows as he makes his vow.

Now the question is, what has this got to do with the 5 of Swords?

Biddy Tarot's website describes several characteristics of the 5 of Swords that can be applied here:

1. A time when it feels like everyone is against you. -- Bheeshma certainly feels that his existence is an unwelcome thing in this situation.

2. The need to make a decision about whether something is so important to you that it puts relationships with others in jeopardy. -- Bheeshma faces just such a situation. If he clings to his claim to the throne, he risks alienating his father.

3. You are in a struggle and there are more problems and obstacles ahead than you are aware of now. -- This is also true for Bheeshma. Bheeshma choice does not lead to the peace he had hoped, but instead to a war that wipes out his descendants and their entire world.

So, Bheeshma's sacrifice is indeed a hollow victory, even if the flowers in the picture have descended from the heavens, bestowed by the gods who are impressed by Bheeshma's vow.

What lesson can we take from this card? Do I need to make a sacrifice for my idea of 'the greater good'? And will there be consequences I cannot foresee as a result of that sacrifice? We can look at it from the noble side - a selfless act to create peace, or the shadow side, a misguided act that ends up being a futile gesture, or even makes things worse. Wow, that's a situation to watch out for today.

1 comment:

  1. How do you even go about looking out for a misguided act that will end up being a futile gesture?! I think I might take this as "don't try to make any big decisions today" :D