Thursday, 25 June 2015
Can you untell what you've told?
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.