Matter and Spirit: Deconstructing the Court cards and our Solar Year
Part IV of XVI, the Princess of Swords: manifesting the power To Know
The Princess of the Rushing Winds; The Lotus of the Palace of Air
In this series, each of the Princess tarot cards will follow the post of the Prince of the same element, as the sign they are most associated is the fixed sign of their element, like the Prince. The Prince in his chariot, like the Chariot major arcana card, is tasked with a duty to carry forth and protect a precious object. That precious thing is the bud of elemental power that will flower in the Princess. If you have not yet seen it yet, here is a comprehensive article on the Princesses, and their role as mediator Between Heaven and Earth.
Yet the Princess cards rule over a quadrant of Space, rather than a quadrant of Time, so they don’t have decanic Minor cards associated with them in the same way. They rule over three entire signs of the Zodiac, centered around the “Kerubic” or fixed sign of their element. They are also said to be the “thrones” of the Aces, and the flower of what the root of the element, the Ace, draws from. Thus the Princess wields the elemental power from that throne of the Kingdom of Malkuth, and wears the Crown of Kether of their elemental world.
Her associated card is the Ace of Swords. But we can also associate her with the four trumps associated with the three signs in her quadrant: the Devil, the Star, and the Moon. But centered on the Star. One can almost picture it: the Devil with his cloven hooves planted firmly up the earth, guarding the Gates of Matter, with the dark waning moon of witchcraft hidden somewhere in the sky. But since it is the dark of the moon, the stars are that much clearer and brighter.
The Princess of Swords wields the power of Air, which of the four powers of the Sphinx, is Scire, or To Know. From the Ace of Swords, Root of the Powers of Air, the Lotus of the Palace of Air unfolds and blooms forth in full glory. The Princess of the Rushing Winds is also the Empress of the Sylphs and Slyphides, the air spirits or elementals of air. Her quadrant of space centers around the fixed air sign of Aquarius, and includes the sign preceding (Capricorn) and the sign following (Pisces). While she includes those signs in her sector, she is mostly identified with the air sign.
Each Princess takes up a sector of space, dividing the circle four fold. This division of space into four quadrants can be seen in the symbol for Malkuth, the sephira of the Tree of Life she resides in, which is the circled cross. The circled cross is also a symbol of Earth, as Malkuth is the sephira of Earth, or the material world we live in. All of the Princesses are the Earth, or matter, of their suit. They are us! This one is Earth of Air.
Her crest is the head of Medusa, with serpent hair. Here is an excerpt from Book M: Liber Mundi, the guidebook for Tabula Mundi Tarot:
The Princess of the Rushing Winds, Lotus of the Palace of Air, has as a crest the head of Medusa with serpent hair. The name Medusa comes from the Greek word for “guardian, protectress”. She was a Gorgon, from ancient Greek word gorgós, meaning terrible or dreadful, that comes from the Sanskrit word “garğ” which is a guttural sound similar to the growling of a beast. The Gorgons were three sisters with hair of venomous snakes. Looking at their flashing eyes was said to turn one to stone. In ancient Greece, the Gorgoneion was a stone carving of Medusa’s head placed above doorways and used as an apotropaic amulet to ward against evil. The Medusa head design also was used by Athena as an aegis on an animal skin mantle, and sometimes on a shield. The Aegis implied divine birth or protection; doing something “under someone’s aegis” means doing something under the protection of a powerful, knowledgeable, and benevolent source. The Princess of Swords is the earthy part of Air, smoke, and she represents the wrath of the gods and the influence of Heaven upon Earth. She has the power of settling controversies, and is stern and avenging. Hers is the grounded action taken in response to Idea. Her battle is on the astral level; she is the warrior of the mind. She battles to liberate herself from delusion.
When she comes up for you, like all court cards she can represent a person. But often she is you, and a sign that it is time to wield that elemental power. So when you see this Lotus of the Palace of Air, know that within your grasp is the power to stand strong, fully and of yourself in your own power To Know.