Creative energy, its its purest form, does not know division nor gender. Such concepts eventually solidify as energy gains experience. The Fool symbolizes this raw potentiality: energy not yet focused in a specific direction.
Many believe the Fool represents stupidity or idiocy, but this is not the case. On the contrary, its associated element of Air rules the mind. The card can thus also signify naive curiosity and childlike fascination — intellect untarnished by opinion or bias. Each thought is recognized in its pure, undiluted beauty and wonder. The Fool therefore epitomizes the blissful moment of experience free from judgment and/or preconceived notions.
Referred to as “Completion” by Aleister Crowley, the Four of Wands represents the benevolent influences of Venus and Jupiter upon the Third Decan of Aries. In layman’s terms, it represents warmth, stability, and energetic serenity. Sometimes viewed as the “ideal home” in other decks, it can denote a “place” (physical or mental) of personal power, untainted by doubt or regret, charged with vibrant energy.
One must inhale before exhaling. The Devil represents this inhalation in a broad sense, denoting the accumulation of energy before action. Some tarot decks will interpret the card as representing bondage or servitude, but it should be known that the bondage in question is self-imposed and easily escaped. Constraints such as discipline or organization can be exceptionally beneficial when properly applied. Thus, the Devil represents the necessary winter rains preceding a glorious spring bloom.
The gruesome imagery found in the Ten of Swords denotes its inherently negative characteristics. It represents the “perfect storm” of unhappy occurrences coupled with an inability to properly react to the inertia of the universe. Plans fall through, ideas are ridiculed, and projects disintegrate before one’s eyes. To struggle further is to strangle oneself. An entirely new approach is necessary to achieve success in a specific endeavor.
This card has been named “Defeat” by various authors on tarot, and though the title is not inappropriate, per se, the card more effectively implies submission and withdrawal from an overwhelming and possibly dangerous situation.
A peace-loving mediator attempts to counsel two people enraged beyond reason. No matter how logically sound, their gentle words of wisdom fall upon closed ears. Knives are drawn instead.
A local mom-and-pop business advertises and offers competitive prices, but is somehow unable to cultivate a regular clientele. Barely making their rent payments each month, they pull out and search for a better location.
Ultimately, the five of swords symbolizes the failure to apply sufficient strength to succeed against the odds. A protracted struggle would prove utterly disastrous. The only logical choice is to retreat and reevaluate one’s strategy.