Well isn't this interesting! This reading is almost identical to last week's. Temperance continues to hold its ground as the middle card, the Queen of Wands has moved to the final position, and the Five of Pentacles has been replaced by the Five of Swords.
Beyond the sychronicity, what does this shuffle mean?
The cards are showing us in their magical way that we're continuing last week's journey in getting to know our personal power. And we've done well. The Queen of Wands has shifted from frist to last position, telling us that we were able to embrace some of her qualities. Now we're being asked to further our understanding of this card and what it means for our self-esteem and ambition.
The new factor? We've shifted our sticky spot from the material concerns of the pentacles to the mental challenges of the swords. Somewhere along the way we got tempted to take some shortcuts, perhaps getting carried away by the authority represented in the Queen of Wands.
It's one thing to be confident, and it's an entirely different thing to think you're right all the time. And oh how tempting and easy it is to fall into this trap! How many popular images of power involve being omniscient and completely sure of oneself all the time? The Five of Swords depicts moments when we dig in an defend our thoughts and beliefs with no holds barred. We're righteous and fearsome in our convictions. What's more, we think that in defending them we're doing everyone else a favor.
What happens in this situation? While me might feel victorious initially - just look at how eloquently and passionately we stated our opinions! - when the dust settles we realize that we've left a wake of bruised egos and hurt feelings. Our passion came across as bluntness, maybe even rudeness. Our conviction came across as steamrolling. Unsurprisingly, we find ourselves isolated and confused.
This is a key moment in digging deeper into the meaning of the Queen of Wands. Being right isn't enough, and being authoritative isn't enough either. Without wisdom and good judgment our actions can get out of hand and destroy the goodwill we might think we've been cultivating.
The stance of the Five of Swords also hides a layer of fear. While we might think we sound convinced of our opinions, the way we're expressing them tells a different story. Needing to be right shows a discomfort with complexity. Dismissing others' opinions shows insecurity and fear of losing power.
This is part of the process, though it may seem messy and harsh. We're really in a period of learning and assimilation and we're pretending to have mastered everything already. This is very, very human.
Temperance shows up once again to tell us to take it slow. I can't think of a better card to lovingly direct us towards an easier, balanced path. We can't assume we know it all and the fact that we have a long way to go is exciting instead of deflating. Maintaining the stance of the Five of Swords is lonely. Our lesson now is to take a step back, balance our passion with compassion, and see how we can learn to lead with a sense of service and connection instead of commandeering power.
We end up back at the Queen of Wands with a new undertanding of her authority. The snake depicted in Kim Krans's version of this card is a poignant and helpful image for this moment. We see the Queen stripped down to her most basic way of being, coiled around her precious eggs and single wand, a mass of potential waiting to strike. If she acts and reacts like the Five of Swords, striking out randomly and with wild abandon, not only will she leave a wake of desruction but she'll quickly become exhausted, leaving her potential unguarded.
This Queen knows that she doesn't need to be constantly demonstrating her power. Her glistening coils and beautiful scales are enough. Anyone looking at her knows her strength and what she's capable of. And they respect her without having to get bitten first. Here we're being asked to rest in our confidence and self-knowledge. We are enough as we are and we must conserve our energy for what really matters. In doing this we open ourselves to a world of possibilities and embody a more positive, humane version of leadership.