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Thursday, 25 June 2015

Can you untell what you've told?

The Dreamer Princess is the Princess of Swords. It's important to make a distinction between tarot Princesses and tarot Pages. They aren't exactly the same thing. An RWS Page of Swords is characterised as a studious young person who enjoys playing devil's advocate and challenging those in authority to debate, someone who is always questioning why. Armed with this knowledge, the verse assigned to Dreamer Princess may puzzle:

Her leaves are whispers on the wind
She will tell them how and why you sinned
She gleans her knowledge from the earth
And dreams of what its gift is worth...
                                                 - Emily Carding

That doesn't exactly sit well with our contemporary RWS vision of the Page of Swords as earnest and questioning student, but look what Crowley says about the Thoth Princess of Swords:

'The Princess of Swords represents the earthy part of Air, the fixation of the volatile. She partakes of the characteristics of Minerva and Artemis, and there is some suggestion of the Valkyrie. She represents to some extent the anger of the Gods...The character of the Princess [of Swords] is stern and revengeful. Her logic is destructive. She is firm and aggressive, with great practical wisdom and subtlety in material things. She shows great cleverness and dexterity in the management of practical affairs, especially where they are of a controversial nature. She is very adroit in the settlement of controversies.'

You look at the figure in the card differently now, don't you? She's got a lot of power, this one. She's no student. She's in control of what she unleashes -- but is she in control of the consequences? Can she really control where those leaves go, or does she just think she can? She might just be a little too big for her britches.

'If ill-dignified,' continues Crowley, 'all these qualities are dispersed; she becomes incoherent, and all her gifts tend to combine to form a species of low cunning whose object is unworthy of the means.'

We've all got the gift of telling, but should we always unleash all we know? Should we say everything we think? Can we control those leaves once we set them loose on the wind?

The Buddha's teaching about right speech has been rendered by some unknown person into this memorable verse:

If it is not truthful and not helpful, don't say it.
If it is truthful but not helpful, don't say it. 
If it is not truthful but helpful, don't say it. 
If it is truthful and helpful -- wait for the right time. 

That's worth thinking about.


  1. Definitely worth thinking about! I'd say we can never control how others hear what we say. However, we can also work on choosing what to say and what to keep silent, as well as how to communicate what we want to... Fascinating about the difference between Pages and Princesses, though Crowley's descriptions always annoy me. He tends to be so negative about female characters!

    1. He was definitely no respecter of women, but to be fair most of his card descriptions are pretty downbeat. He will give you one positive sentence, quickly followed by a five or six explaining the negative. Strange guy.

  2. "Monks, a statement endowed with five factors is well-spoken, not ill-spoken. It is blameless and unfaulted by knowledgeable people. Which five?"

    "It is spoken at the right time. It is spoken in truth. It is spoken affectionately. It is spoken beneficially. It is spoken with a mind of good-will." ~ Vaca Sutta

    I've got to agree with IW - Crowley didn't seem to respect women very much (unless they were useful to him).

    1. Crowley didn't seem to respect anyone. Very distasteful character. Love his deck, though!