Card of the Day – 6 of Swords

6-of-swords-editToday I drew the 6 of Swords. A strong, barebacked ferry man pushes the boat across the still waters of a lake or still flowing river. The boat contains a woman and child, bundled against the cold or against their recognition by others. This is a card that used to mean travel by water, such as taking a journey on a ship. Most people travel by plane now, or ground transportation, so the divinatory meaning of the card can now mean travel over water, such as an international trip, or to water, such as a pond or lake. This card is also the card that represents science and scientific accomplishments.

The astrological components of this card are Mercury in Aquarius. The communication capabilities of mercury are channeled into the pioneering energy of Aquarius to deliver new scientific discoveries.

So, one way to see the boat is to see a complete human represented by man, woman, and child setting out on a journey of discovery. Each scientific discovery comes from a thesis and the scientist is never sure whether the journey will be fruitful. All of the figures in the card trust the journey they are making.

Another way to see this is the journey of forgetting across the river Lethe. Shades were required to drink from the river to forget their earthly lives. The river Lethe also flowed through the cave of Hypnos, God of Sleep. In any journey across a river of forgetting, that which is forgotten makes room in the psyche for that which has not yet been. There’s a link here between this kind of forgetting and new science. What had been assumed must be forgotten entirely, so that new discoveries can come in.