What card did you choose & why?
“I chose the Knight of Swords, and there’s so much to say about why I chose it. I’ve been really fascinated by the Swords recently, because I feel like the Swords get a bad rap. We view the Swords with this innate negative connotation. A lot of times we view the Swords as being external to ourselves, whereas we look at the Cups or the other suits as being more embodied.
“When we talk about the path of manifestation, emotion is right after thought. It goes spark of creativity – which is fire, and then the breath of thought, the air of thought; and then you have the waters of emotions and the earth of manifestation. And so it’s really hard honestly to be in the Swords and not have the Cups come up. We always as humans have a feeling about our thoughts. They make us feel a certain way. That’s one of the reason it’s so hard to get through the suit of the Swords as an experience.”
“I guess my biggest thing is taking this archetype and allowing it to be internal, and allowing it to have positive aspects as well, even within the pain and even within the negativity. Once you reclaim your own thought, your own mind, and hold your own Sword in your hand and learn how to wield them, learn how to use them; have the discipline of the Knight – anything is possible.”
What would you tell a baby queer who might pull this card?
“I would tell a baby queer that the Court is about action, especially when you get to the Knights. The Knights are discipline; the Knights are utilizing their element in an active way to change their environment. And the Knight of Swords is taking all of this knowledge, all of this experience, all of these wonderful things that we have as queer people because we’ve broken out of the patterns & rhetoric that have been handed to us – and we’ve taken out the things that are not true to ourselves, and rebuilt ourselves in this way that is full of truth – and within that truth there’s obviously pain, but taking and having that knowledge and utilizing it, and utilizing it to affect the world around you and your community is beautiful. When you pull the Knight, it’s time to act on all of the information that you have, whether it be information of yourself, or information of your community, or information of the experience of the world and the expansiveness of the world. It is time to take that information and move forward with it – go into battle. Make your surroundings change so that that information doesn’t have to be painful.”
What would you tell your younger self…
“I would tell my younger self that it’s okay to get lost, and it’s okay to be in that stagnant hurt space. But that space isn’t forever, and those ten swords that are in your back are not actually pinning you to the earth, and you can take them out of your back, and utilize them as your own defence and offense. Or you can leave them in and they make really great porcupine quills. I would tell my past self that this pain – while a lot of it comes from other folks, it is yours. It is your experience, and it is yours to claim and to use. And so use it – use it to create something better for yourself, and for all of the other queers that come before, after, everything – because time is not linear.”
“The Swords get this super bad rap of being torture and pain and suffering and trauma – and yes, that’s a thing. But I feel like there’s so much more to that archetype that is unexplored. Because as humans when we start to experience pain in the way that the Swords bring – because again the Swords are the element of air, which is this element of thought and intellectualization – as humans when we start to intellectualize and think about our own pain, we get very stuck in this place of trying to keep our pain outside of ourselves, and trying to make it something that is happening to us rather than owning that experience and making that experience part of ourselves. And that’s the thing about trauma – it is ours, we own it. That’s where we get our strength – is from taking what we’ve been through and processing it, and having all of this thought where you have things spin in your head forever and torture you, until you’re able to be like: ‘Okay, but here’s who I am because of this, and here’s how I can utilize this, and here’s what I have learned.’
I spent a very long time where every reading that I would get, I would get the ten of Swords, which is very much so a stagnant position – it’s a very trapped in your own pain and your own thought type of position. And it took me a long time to internalize the things that had happened to me, and the thoughts that I have that are painful, and realize that they are tools that I can use both to heal myself and to protect myself. Right now in my life I know my trauma, I know where I’ve been. I’m at a place where I’m working through that and processing that, and doing a lot of thinking. And once you move out of the numbered suits and into the Court of that suit, there’s more discipline and more action to be had. I feel like with the Knight – the Knight is not necessarily where I am in my life, but it is where I’m trying to be. The Knight in any court is a very disciplined player – they’re somebody who takes the archetype, takes the element and works it until they know it completely and are able to utilize it.”
“Right now I’m making art about my trauma. I’m just reclaiming Self and reclaiming my own mind. Because again the element of air is thought, and I think that that’s one of the reasons why we associate it with pain – because we get trapped in our own patterns of self-abuse and negative thought patterns. And so for me, I as a trauma survivor am reclaiming those thoughts – reclaiming my own thought and being able to focus my intellect and focus my creativity in a way that is active rather than passive. That is utilizing this: whether that be like I said making art, or building a foundation for myself that is true to who I am and where I’ve been, or communicating with people in my community – which I’m just starting to come back to again. I literally had to go and hide in the woods for two months. And now I’m at this place where I’m trying to have community in my life and trying to be more active with people. I very much so keep to myself, because reclaiming my own thought is difficult and I do still get lost in that whirlwind of pain thoughts and trauma thoughts. But like I said I’m trying to claim that and reclaim my thoughts to put them in the direction of manifesting my creativity and manifesting what I want from myself and my community.”**
**Transcription of Filmed interview
Knight of Swords – Beatryx – Ze/hir/they/them – Trans femme non binary
It was such a pleasure to film this in Chicago when I visited in 2019, darting back and forth between trains to get this photo and interview done. This was shot in January so it was FREEZING!! My fingers nearly fell off holding the camera and Beatryx was a real champ resisting the cold to create this gorgeous card with me. Thank you so much again for sharing your story with me and this project.
The Queer Tarot Project has been sending financial support to Beatryx during the pandemic.