I sit, in a world beyond this, in my familiar wooden chair in the hallway of beginnings, steady of body and with my limbs soft and yielding; my mind slipping slowly, syrup like around my shoulders, falling like a shroud of melting toffee, to slide unnoticed onto the dark wooden floor. The battalions of thoughts that marched so relentlessly in the 10 of Swords have crumbled and dissipated like a routed army, their imaginings fleeing hither and thither into the early morning gloom, scattering in terror as their power diminishes with the rising of the sun, and it seems that it is now time to resurrect the power of Air again through my journey into the Ace of Swords.
I take my customary route, carefully treading the worn floorboards, whilst all the while drawing the power of this house to me, as I walk slowly up the stairs onto the upper landing.
Once there, I walk more quickly, past the other doors that I will not enter today, down to the large heavy door that belongs to the Thoth Tarot. I feel more alert all of a sudden, as if I have woken from a sultry summer’s dream, with a wanton wind rushing madly through the leafy trees. I feel alive with a mysterious fusion, my head swimming with words and joy as I carefully open the door and step through the azure and golden banner that proclaims The Ace of Swords.
After the excitement of the approach, I am shocked by the intensity of the calm that envelops me without warning as I enter a garden of magnificent structure, fabulous formality and daring design. I reel with giddiness as I gaze with childish wonder at the tall trees and the mournful monuments that surround my tiny person, and I am suddenly microscopic in comparison to the deified scenery that lies before me.
The garden is profoundly regal, an untouchable monarch in the world of gardens, and many paths, both large and small lead off the central avenue where I am stood at the present time. I get a very strong sense of deja vu, and it dawns upon me that I am in daylight version of the magical silver spangled enchanted garden that I discovered in the card Adjustment. This makes perfect sense when I consider that the goddess Ma’at in that card, holds the same great Sword that is evident in this Ace, and I wonder at what I will meet here in the lighted version of this garden.
I walk slowly down the path, now keenly aware of a minutia of detail; the gentle grey limestone edging that is encrusted with saffron yellow lichen, and the white tendril blooms of other moss like plants. Succulent berries of stone-crop cascade lusciously over the perimeter of the borders with their voluptuous softness contrasting well with the clean ardent lines of the limestone walls. I seem not to feel inclined to take any of the paths that lead away from the main central column of gravel that I am walking down, even though I feel strongly attracted to them. Their unknown destinations and the subtle tentative promises that they whisper in my ears, offer me a delightful sensation of being alive with possibility, longing, wanting, desire and passion, a yearning for completion, fulfillment and union, and I am happy to revel in that feeling for now, as I survey the potential at my feet.
I come at last to a gracious marble pillar that stands beside one of the larger paths leading off the main drag. It has perched upon it the figure of a large monkey, crouching playfully on the summit, looking here and there around himself and chattering excitedly at my approach.
I carefully ask the monkey what he represents in this card, and he tells me that he is the guardian of the chosen path. He tells me that he represents the love of learning and the gift of wisdom, but most importantly here, he represents the “monkey mind” that can prevent clear decisions from being made. He tells me that it is easy to see the potentials, and to walk only in the middle path, uncommitted and safe in the lighted area, the place where many walk. He tells me that it is far less easy to take a different path and to see it to its end. The monkey’s questions gather around my head, I can see them drifting in clouds of grey, wafting heavily on the still air that hangs above the garden, and I can hear his chattering voice calling to me …..“How will you know if it is the right one?” “What about all the other paths that you may miss?” “What about all the lost potential?”
I wonder how in Gods name I can decide which way to go with all this noise in my mind…… and then I remember the battalions of the 10 of swords, and I close my eyes and breathe…… I open them again to see a figure up ahead of me in the garden, and it is the sure and reliable form of my guide Malachai, walking calmly along the path away from me. I follow the comforting sight of his strong brown cloaked back, and notice that he has the heavy sword hanging at his waist, this valuable and noble sword that has many uses, but that is primarily a weapon, safest in knowledgeable hands. Malachai can use this sword, and I see gratefully that he can bear it with confidence and that I allow this. Malachi knows the path to take, and I can trust him with that decision, the most important decision, which we all have to take at some point, I can trust him to make the next move.
Feeling comfortable now with my decision to trust in my friend, the colors of the garden start to merge together, the golden lichen and the blue sky, scatter and spin themselves into the warp and weft of the azure and golden pennant of the Ace, and I find myself suddenly slipping again through the silken curtain, back into the upper landing of the Hallway of Beginnings.