Five of Blades: Defeat
Historical: Lord of Defeat
Pent #5 “Root” – Fire of 兌 (Tui) The Joyous, Lake
Berashith: “And Elohim separated the dawn”
Ruling Hexagram: Hex #9 (小畜 xiǎo chù), Taming Power of the Small
Tiered Bigrams: Fire (Above), Earth (Middle), Fire (Below)
Element/Planet: Air of Mars (Gevurah, Severity)
Planet/Sun Sign: Venus in Aquarius
Keywords: Refreshment, Trickery, Perspective, Sincerity, Returning, Loyalty, Progress, Transmutation
Keywords (Ill-Dignified): Bloodshed, Decay, Loss, Compromise, Misery
Golden Dawn: Called The Five of Swords, Lord of Defeat, The Five of Swords card corresponds to the planetary Venus and the zodiacal Aquarius. It places at Sephira #5 in the Golden Dawn system. Its angels are Aniel and Chaamiah.
Five swords point up. The center sword is destroying The Rose which lies in tatters over a degenerating solar disc. It has a face on its tsuba. The rest of the swords have winged discs as hilts and one of four birds as the handle, a dove, a swan, an eagle and a pheasant.
Thoth: Sentiment, treachery and pacifism are identified by Crowley as the disruptive energy of Geburah in the card. The inverted pentagram is present. Here Crowley’s incessant racism and comedic Victorian snobbery are present in his ranting and raving, and I cannot pay any more attention to him. He doesn’t have the nature of the card right, at all. He always descends into bigotry whenever and wherever he is frustrated by a lack of correct information. It’s not much of an excuse for his behavior and writing, but it does tell us something about his demons at least.
Mutational Alchemy Interpretation: The image of a crucible is present in the tiered bigrams, with Earth sandwiched between the two Fire elements. The pentagrammal structure seems to suggest as much, being named “Root” referencing something which is hidden, yet active and essential and slightly sinister, being of the cthonic. In the trigrams we find Sun, Wind, in the above and Heaven in the below. Called the “Taming Power of the Small” in the Changes, the image is of a small unassailable force, a son, taming an aspect of heaven through friendly persuasion and trickery, but perhaps this trickery is nothing more than misdirection or illusion. There is nothing to be done in this situation except to work on one’s character, to “cultivate one’s person” as Confucius would promote.
The influence of Heaven is under Wind and this is paired with the influence of Air of Mars, signifying clever military strategy and subterfuge. Spy agencies like the CIA, the Mossad, India’s IB and so forth are good representations of Air of Mars. Technological research is also especial to the card however, and care must be taken not to confine the nature of the card too readily into one sort of context or another – it is not that simple.
To further mix it up we find Venus in Aquarius, indicating a bizarre love affair of some kind. Aquarians are strange lovers who find themselves in stranger relationships as my wife and I can attest (I am an Aquarius) and so we find that the attack on the girl is probably born out of some kind of divine love.
The adventures of Raven are well known to the local Coast Salish tribes here in the Pacific Northwest, and here he is shown in his shadowy spirit form, up to no good, or good, as it were.
It should generally be regarded as a very suspicious card. There is a trap about to be sprung for good or for worse, and divine guidance should be sought immediately if the card is drawn in any context whatsoever. If one is not able to do so themselves they should seek the aid and skill of a Hermit, Hierophant or knowledgeable Seer in this matter very soon to determine if action must be taken or not.
The Scene: There was no reason not to put Raven on the card, but originally I had thought of the old story about Raven turning into a pine needle and being swallowed by the daughter of the chief who kept the sun in a box. Raven is born to the girl who is prized as a grandchild by the chief, but soon the ruse is up and Lord Raven flies out of the smokehouse with the sun in his beak.
m1thr0s did not agree that the story fit the card, and so we made up our own.
The girl is examining herself and destroying parts which are “not her” this is why the figure on the ground whom she is about to slay with an arrow of Mercury is a doppelganger. Raven, the lesson delivered, and his form free to go, disintegrates into his true form with a signature Sumerian Mushussu at his heart. I am Coast Salish and grew up amongst the tribes here in the Pacific Northwest. It may seem like there isn’t very much American Indian imagery in this deck and the reason for that is it is perhaps too familiar and it was supposed to be a global deck, first and foremost.