[Updated July 2021. Essay on Tarot: 5 of Swords]
The 5 of Swords indicates a general feeling of fear. Considering the number 5, this card could indicate fear of change or fear of the unknown. Then there is fear of the future. When you think about it, aren’t all three the same?
Looking at the image on the card, we get more information. The sky looks tumultuous. If there is a storm coming, it is still beyond the horizon.
For a moment, let’s examine the three individuals. The one closest to the water appears to have his hands up to his face as if he’s crying. He looks distraught and defeated. The man in the middle is peering at the other or possibly the horizon, and seems to be curious and reticent. He looks as if he’s passively awaiting whatever fate has in store for him. Lastly, you have the one in the foreground. He has collected three of five swords possibly deserted by the others. He may feel fear, but he has not given up yet.
[Note: the fact he holds 3 swords is not an accident. It is an important hint indicating that he is still creating despite the challenges that lay before him. He is thus within his power and dare I say purpose! It could be helpful to think about and relate both the 2 of Swords and the 3 of Swords.]
Why might each of these men react differently to the same approaching storm? Well, because their histories are different. A person who has been beaten down too many times may feel they just can’t fight any more. Yet one who has known success at the hands of challenge can find the strength to seek it once again. If you are experiencing fear, I want you to ask yourself which of the three shown you most resemble or relate to.
Anxiety is a manifestation of fear. The following post may be insightful.
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“Anxiety is being in a trying place.”
When I first received that message, I chuckled at the double meaning. Since then, however, I’ve been giving it a lot of thought.
In the most basic terms, anxiety exists when I am trying to solve a problem. In those moments when I am most anxious, I am very aware (and focused) on a problem I cannot find a solution to.
Interestingly, a particular problem can exist for a while, yet my anxiety around it comes and goes. I now understand that I feel anxious when I am actively trying to be or do something (in response to the perceived problem). In most cases, the problem isn’t so much a problem right now, however, I can too easily imagine it becoming a bigger problem over time.
As if to really bring my understanding to a head: I got sick this weekend. I had a mild fever, a sore throat, and felt achy everywhere. When I get like that, I put myself to bed…and I put all of my concerns to bed too. I don’t try to do anything. I just rest as comfortably as possible.
While I was lying there, feeling very uncomfortable, I noticed that my anxiety was completely absent. It occurred to me that I had given myself permission to not try and solve any problems. Here I was feeling terrible (in physical terms) yet breathing more easily than normal.
In my ailing, I suspended my fretting.
In writing that last sentence, it occurs to me the power in rewording the experience. Instead of saying, “I feel anxiety,” I should say, “I am fretting.” That way I can tell myself to stop. It is easier to stop doing an action than it is to stop feeling a feeling, don’t you think?
The word ‘anxiety’ feels like a big, dark thing that has power over me. The word ‘fretting’ puts the power back in my hands.
Earlier, spirit gave me another gem. It said:
“Actions do not create solutions. Rather, solutions inspire actions. Don’t look for actions to solve problems, reach for solutions, which will inspire the right actions.”
One last thing. I think just about anyone would agree that anxiety is a form of fear. But think about this for a moment. In my mind, there are two different things we describe with the word fear.
1) Fear is a feeling. We feel fear when we are in present danger, when we are threatened, when sitting in front of us right now is something that can hurt or harm us.
2) Fear is also a concept.
To better describe fear as a concept, consider this:
The opposite feeling of fear is love.
The opposite concept of fear is trust.
Trust is not really a feeling. In fact, it’s hard to say what trust actually is. However, we know what, when, and who we trust, and when we don’t trust. When we trust, we feel ease. When we don’t trust, we feel dis-ease, uneasy, anxious. When we don’t trust, we fret.
Anxiety is being in a trying place. We try when we don’t trust.
If we trust others, we relax in their presence. We don’t fear getting hurt by them and we understand that when we are hurt, it was not intended.
If we trust ourselves, we believe we can solve what needs to be solved. We believe in our ability to care for ourselves, provide for ourselves, and find happiness for ourselves.
When we trust the Universe (God/Goddess/All-That-Is), we begin letting go of control.
Imagine what it would be like to let go of all fear and control. To trust that we are blessed and loved and cared for…always. To trust that all problems are temporary and that solutions abound.
Imagine trusting that life could be grand no matter who sits in the oval office.
Imagine believing that you can be, do, or have whatever you want; that it is simply a matter of time and never a matter of if.
Imagine believing in your ability to create a reality for yourself no matter what anyone else thinks, says, or does.
Keep this in mind: birds don’t need to trust the branches that they land on because they have come to trust their own wings!