The traditional sword penetrating a crown, is here replaced by a fruit
knife which has just sliced an apple. The knife points to apple's core
and its seeds. On the knife handle we see the moon, sun and stars. The
apple rests on a blue plate (water or sky), and is surrounded by a
mud-coloured table (earth or darkness).
The proverbial apple of knowledge has already been plucked from the
tree, and sliced in half with a knife, revealing its inner core and
seeds. The deft slicing of the knife suggests the power of intellect
to penetrate to the core of a matter, and the power of loving
understanding to reach deep into a person's heart. The exposed seeds
suggest an opening to new life, new possibilities.
The knife blade, and the apple's red colour are also suggestive of
blood sacrifice, and the apple inevitably recalls the fall of man. The
apple offers up its tender flesh (quoth Aoife) in a ritual first blood
sacrifice. Knowledge is gained, but innocence is painfully lost,
bringing consciousness of separation, and burning desire.
In cutting through apples as light cuts through darkness, the knife
also symbolizes the magic of dispelling shadows by making
distinctions, manifesting worlds by means of words just as God created
the world by pronouncing "let there be light".
Some words are easy to utter, they pass inconsequentially like wind;
but words from a deeper place seem to carry the weight of blood as
though written in our flesh. To speak them is to bleed and be bled; we
release them as though from our flesh and are freed and purified.
Penetration of the knife into apple reminds us of the word
made flesh, divine manifestation, and heralds the
Lichtspaltung a sudden irruption of the miraculous into the
When the Ace of Swords turns up, a grand "yes" is yelled from the sky,
a wish may come true. There may be a great realization, a
manifestation, a liberation, an awakening, opening to the truth that
sets you free, something miraculous.
Pencil, water colour pencil, and gouache on paper, framed and titled
Firemaiden is a classical singer, currently
living in the San Francisco Bay Area. One minute after completing the
painting for this card, she was offered a long wished-for part in an
Go back to the project index, read the traditional card meaning, or get a free tarot reading with this deck.