The mind can be a fickle creature; a powerful weapon that slays its opponents with a single well aimed sentence in the battlefields of heated conversation or a talented artist that envisions the brilliance of its capabilities and plans the map of their execution. It can be a waiting mistress that hears only the longed for whispers of passion and loyalty from her devoted lover, but also the creator of monsters that heckle and threaten the protective castle walls of a child’s bedroom in the dangerous and uncertain hours that fill the darkness.
My mind can create and destroy at will, and within the time it takes to draw breath, the endless and immortal worlds of my creation lie discarded and un-manifest, like a deluge of space waste orbiting a planet. I have created perfect dreams of heaven and then destroyed them with my apocalyptic visions, more times than I care to remember, and I often wonder at the quirk of fate that gave man such a powerful and mighty tool, and yet not the ready knowledge to use it wisely. I guess that our other skills must be honed and perfected before most of us are able to use our minds to anywhere near their capabilities, for such is human nature that wisdom and love do not seem such a common currency, especially in these uncertain times in which we dwell, for we would be a danger greater than we are already to the safety of our world.
Today I go in search of The Prince of Swords, who, it has to be said, has been the court card that I have found to be the least visually attractive in the whole of the Thoth deck. He has always seemed aggressive and ruthless and I have rarely felt connected to him in the span of time that is now stretching to 30 years!, but as he has made a point of attracting my attention lately, I have grudgingly accepted his invitation to enter his realm and to discover the relationship that I have with him.
The days are drawing in again already and it is only weeks since mid-summer….. how brief and fragile are the minutes, as they slip without a second glance from my life, and I squander my life in the pursuit of my small desires that seem so important at the time. . The moments of god pass unheeded too often beneath eyes that are so habitually set towards the future that they sometimes miss the precious eternity that lies on the sleeping face of my son and which whispers in the tall summer seeding grass at the edges of my garden. The morning is darker than the last time that I traveled, and a murmur of autumn can already be heard faintly in the furthest reaches of the Hallway of Beginnings, but nonetheless it is still summer here and so I sit and gather the power around me in order to make the journey into the world beyond the doorways. The energy is strong today, something that I was not expecting, and I walk slowly and calmly up the stairs, feeling comfortable and capable in my ability to find The Prince of Swords.
I open the door, and walk into a bright and open landscape that defies any sort of explanation, as it appears to contain no features whatsoever. I look around me, and no, there is nothing there, there is no feature at all, apart from the detail contained within the ground. Flat hard and shining, it stretches away on all sides, with a rapidity that gives me a sense of horizontal vertigo and I realize that I appear to be standing amidst an enormous and infinite chess board of large green and yellow squares. The sense of movement is powerful, and I can not really understand whether it is I who am moving or in fact the ground, either way it is difficult to maintain my position and I feel like I should fall to the floor and become horizontal too.
I feel unsure as to what to do, and I look around me to see if there is some clue or indication as to where I should be going and as I do so, I begin to understand that The Prince needs to clear away all that is unnecessary in order that his mind can have free reign; this may seem harsh to others but it is merely his nature and the way he operates… there is no other option for him, he cannot bear to be hampered and this is why the land seems so featureless.
I see a figure in the distance, and whether I am moving towards him, or it is him that is moving towards me I am not entirely sure, but when we get closer I can see that he is quite familiar to me, he is the carved white boxwood knight from out of the Staunton Chess Set, an item of shrouded family lineage that came to me from a dusty and distant relative that went by the name of Uncle Ivan, and who died long before my mothers birth. He tells me that the thought process of the Prince is like the movement of the knight, strategic, indirect and not always obvious in intention to the outside observer. He is also cunning, sometimes devious and a master of design, being able to attack from all directions even when it might seem impossible, and although he cannot move a huge distance in any one go, he can be immensely effective when least expected, he is the secret weapon.
Inspired by the conversation with my faithful family retainer, I move along the chess board in the manner of a Queen, covering a vast distance in a short space of time, and very quickly come face to face with a figure who I take to be the White King. He towers above me, statuesque and un-moving, and tells me that the Knight represents his strategic mind; The Knight is his envoy, and in thought represents what he would have done physically in his younger days, but can now only do on the mental plane. He says that the Knight is his power of creative thought form, that he carves reality out of the stuff of his mind and helps to bring the idea into a workable shape, unhindered by need or want, emotional and spiritual limitations, he is at liberty to shape his ideas free and unencumbered, he can cut away all that is unnecessary in order that the perfection of truth can be revealed.
I thank the towering King, who, incidentally, stopped talking to me immediately after giving me his message, and I stand alone again in the clean clear space of the Prince of Swords. The wind is fresh and there is a scent of verbena in the air and I gain a sense of moves being made and battles being fought beyond the peripheral of my vision, battles of strategy and planning, potentials and indications, shaping the world of the future in this bright clear world of form and potential. I turn away from the vast clarity before me and catch sight of the softness of the green and gold silken banner that heralds the Prince of Swords. I walk towards it, clear and calm, realizing that it has been nothing like I would have imagined. I step through the doorway and descend the stairs, glad to be home I think, in the familiar wooden shadows of The Hallway of Beginnings.
The Prince of Swords
The Prince of the Chariot of the Winds
Prince and Emperor of the Sylphs and Sylphides
20 degrees of Capricorn to 20 degrees of Aquarius