Friday, November 22, 2013

Those Deviant Swords

I love the Deviant Moon deck, and it’s interesting how much I love it given the amount of time it took me to actually decide to buy it. I remember the first time I saw the box at the bookstore. I was considering getting a new deck, but was resolved to only buy from U.S. Games because I know I can count on good quality card stock (and I’m really, really picky about card stock – a flimsy or overly stiff stock can really ruin a beautiful card). That particular day the only U.S. Games deck to be had was the Deviant Moon…but I took a look at the box and said, “No, thank you!” I didn’t like all the male figures with lipstick and curved chins. At all.  So I left the store empty handed. (Only to eventually come to purchase it, and subsequently come to really love it). I feel like every time I want to post about a card, I end up writing a preamble about this deck. * Sigh * It’s clearly had an impact on me, probably because of the emotional evolution I experienced!

The suit of Swords is never my favorite in any deck. The strife, sharp edges, feelings parted from thoughts.  An interesting fact is that I absolutely love the Swords suit in the Deviant Moon – in fact I think it’s my favorite suit in the deck. This alone is like a breakthrough. I find the images portrayed on the cards of the Swords suit in this deck to be softer in a way, but very “real” in terms of how they portray meaning. Today I am going to talk about three of those cards: the Ace of Swords, the 2 of Swords, and the 8 of Swords.

Deviant Moon Tarot
Patrick Valenza, US Games 2008
The Ace is divine.  I normally don’t really connect to the Aces of Swords in many decks, but this depiction says something to me. I suppose it evokes “feeling” for me, which usually doesn’t occur with other versions of this card. I love the look on this lady’s face – the determination and resolve. She is holding the Sword upright with clear purpose.  She’s ready to know the truth, to cut through the fog, to free herself from relationships or connections that are no longer serving her in a positive way. She’s open to fresh insights and ideas that will take her forward, and she has the will to see things through.  I love the green vine that winds around her sword, indicating the new, healthy growth that this card heralds.  Her sword isn’t slicing through the vine wantonly…. It is discerning and clear in its focus.

2 of Swords - Deviant Moon Tarot
Patrick Valenza - US Games 2008
The 2 of Swords often depicts a woman sitting on the edge of an ocean with a blindfold on, holding two swords that criss-cross in front of her. It’s about denial, avoiding having to make a decision, uncertainty about how to create balance between two disparate elements in one’s life. Unlike the Ace, this card is about not wanting to confront the truth.  What I like about the Deviant Moon’s version of this card is that it brings to light in a powerful way how those feelings and mental blocks can create inner conflict in an individual.  This card shows what looks like one man divided in two. Half of him is dark, the other half light. The upper half of him is at war, each brawny part exerting force against the other side of himself.  From the outside you wouldn’t see this, but there is a battle raging within. He’s stuck in limbo, and his indecision is robbing him of peace, and keeps him from taking decisive action. Each possibility carries too much of the unknown, or offers different but equal cons that make neither option the clear winning choice. I love how the inner world is depicted here – it carries a lot of power in the feeling it conveys.

8 of Swords - Deviant Moon Tarot
Patrick Valenza - US Games 2008
Finally I want to show the 8 of Swords. In a traditional deck this card would show a blindfolded woman trapped within a circle of 8 upright swords, buried in the sand. She’s on the edge of a rocky sea shore, and salvation is so close, but she can’t see it. Like the 2 of Swords, she may be avoiding the call to focus on a challenging issue.  There’s a sense of powerlessness to this card – that external forces are exerting a control over one’s life that isn’t possible to overcome. The key to this card is in understanding that those limitations are often mental – we convince ourselves that things are too difficult to manage, that we have no power over our lives.  In reality we do have the ability to take off the blindfold and start the path toward shore, we’re just afraid of what we might see.  The Deviant Moon card shows a similar but very unique perspective: a woman stands at a dark window at night, and the moon above appears to be sucking her over the sill.  She’s in danger of falling, where 8 swords wait to greet her below.  What’s interesting about this card is the way it portrays illusion.  The moon represents our fears and confusion, and the deep impact that those feelings have on us and our behaviors.  This woman is allowing her fears to consume her, and to take her deeper into the darkness.  What she hasn’t figured out yet is that the moon’s power is fragile, and she has the strength within her to break the illusions that have her in a helpless trance.  All she needs to do is stand up and walk back in the house, and she can shed the “blindfold” and free her mind.


  1. Hi Olivia, I am so happy for you that you have such a strong connection with this deck. This will encourage you so dive deeper and deeper in to the pictures and the meanings and to let you intuition run free.
    I usually like the swords suit very much: it is all about me :) I am especially fond of the queen. This ace looks a bit like a queen to me too. Have fun working with your special deck :)

    1. Thanks, Ellen :) It's funny how true it is what you say - it has become a special deck to me! I am rather stuck on it right now. There is so much to explore. Yes, the Ace does have the semblance of a Queen. Actually I love the Queen of Swords (can't believe I'm saying that ;-). I really find her to be lovable, yet she doesn't sacrifice any of her important qualities. I think I posted a picture of her somewhere on this blog… if not I'll probably do it soon!