The Three of Swords
The other night I had zero energy so I turned on the classic movies channel to watch an old John Wayne movie. I grew up in Wyoming; we watched westerns all the time. This seemed like a good choice to veg out. It started out fine. John Wayne was looking very handsome and his co-star so beautiful. All was great – until the shooting and killing started.
As I said, I grew up in Wyoming where the slogan, “The West wasn’t won with a registered gun” was on all trucks equipped with gun racks loaded with rifles. It was also a place of prejudice against anyone who wasn’t white, male and not afraid to use their power to preserve that place at the top of the society heap. The Old West lore was still alive. Ranchers shot Golden Eagles from helicopters (yes they did), cattlemen and sheepmen still fought it out, thankfully without the old gun battles (at least most of the time). There was a prominent attitude of “I fought for this (land, ranch, truck, gun, fill in the blank) and it is MINE and no one is taking it away from me. “Whiskey and fresh horses!” was still called out when some drunk guy at the bar wanted attention. (I was a bartender – one of the first women to be so employed as such in the city I lived in so I know this.) Are you getting the image?
Back to the movie. John Wayne and the other “good guys” were getting away from the “bad guys” who were chasing them on horseback. As soon as the “bad guys” got within range, The Duke let loose with his rifle shooting and killing, never missing a shot, but every bullet miraculously missing him. I had to turn off the TV.
I grew up with this. Watched a bazillion movies like this. So did everyone else. It was the accepted culture that represented the “winning of the West” when white people arrived from Europe and then proceeded to say MINE and committed genocide from “sea to shining sea.”
I chose the 3 of Swords to depict this cultural pattern. This card is about holding on to old thought patterns that continue to bring destructive results. We see this reflected all over our country. The battle over gun control. Killings happening because someone is interfering with what someone else wants or acting in a way that threatens what someone wants. Thinking there is entitlement and no punishment because “I am the good guy.” Prejudice and limited points of view poisoning our world. I could go on all day but you get the point.
In the card depicted above, we see a decimated land with three swords sticking out from dead vegetation. Two owls and a raven sit on the swords while a flock of birds, looking like ravens, fly off. The moon is full. What was begun has come to fruition. However bleak as this is, the owls give hope of a wisdom that is higher than the results and the raven offering a place of going between this land of sorrow and the land of wisdom beyond.
We know we are making progress. Attitudes are changing. But we have so very, very far to go. If the 3 of Swords is plaguing you, take heart and try to locate the origins of old thought patterns that hold you in sorrow, cruelty and that pierce your heart and perpetuate the madness. Call upon your higher wisdom to help over-ride the old stories and traditions with more loving, supportive, and inclusive ones.
We all carry the scars of heartbreaking devastation. It is up to us to turn our thoughts around and make the changes we want to see in the world.
…Kathryn Ravenwood July 8, 2015