In the 2 of Swords card we see a blindfolded woman holding 2 swords crossing her chest – she holds them close to her heart. Behind her is the ocean filled with rocks and she sits upright and vigilant. A new Moon is up with the dark sky.
Swords are the element of air, communication and intellect. The ocean and the Moon represents our unconscious. This card can represent the balancing of our conscious and unconscious mind or thoughts.
Our unconscious is a powerful influence on us that we are unaware of (as shown by our shadows that I wrote about in an earlier post.)
Our unconscious mind is connected to what Jung called the collective unconscious. It is where we are able to tap into information that we have no direct access to. This experience was shown by psychologists in the 100th Monkey Effect.
In our daily lives, our unconscious mind speaks to us in two main ways:
1. Dreams and
This is another way to interpret the 2 of Swords. She cannot see the ocean (unconscious) as she is blind to it but she is still getting the messages through her imagination and nightly dreams. (Perhaps that is why she is wearing her night gown.)
In both scenarios, when we get caught up in a daydream or when we are asleep – our conscious mind is shut off. An example of this is when you are driving your car along a familiar route and you get ‘lost in thought’ or get caught up in your imagination about something. You arrive at your destination and realize that you cannot remember the drive there. You were driving on ‘automatic pilot’ for part of your ride. This is a common example of our unconscious ‘taking the wheel’ for a while to give our conscious mind information through our imagination.
The 2 of Swords may be an indication that it would be wise to listen to your unconscious messages by paying attention to what you are daydreaming about or what you have dreamt about in your sleep.
When we are unaware of what is going on in our unconscious, we may behave in ways that we do not understand. Our shadow side may come out and we may over-react to situations or people in overly positive or negative ways. You may get an email and become furious about something in it but after some time has passed realize that you over-reacted and don’t know why. This is because something in your unconscious was triggered. (This may be represented by the rocks in the ocean of the 2 of Swords which churns up the ocean water – or our unconscious.)
The 2 of Swords reversed may indicated this over-the-top reaction we can have to things because we haven’t been paying attention to our unconscious. The 2 of Swords reversed is about not thinking straight, blurting things our or not being logical/ rational. This can be because our unconscious thoughts are jumping out and we didn’t see it coming or know why it happened. Another example is you may blurt something out and after you said it wonder “Why did I say that?” Or having an extreme reaction to something that has poked our shadow side.
So the 2 of swords like the High Priestess represents your relationship to your own unconscious thought patterns. How is your unconscious helping or hindering you? It may be time to start paying attention to the side of your mind that you cannot see but is sometimes driving your car and steering your life.
In both the High Priestess and the 2 of Swords, the woman sits upright. She is alert, paying attention, taking things in. These cards may be giving the same message – pay attention to your imagination and dreams – there is a message there for you.
Johnson, Robert A.; Inner Work; 9780062504319