The Card of the Day: The Knight of Swords Reversed
"Be kinder to yourself!"
The Knight of Swords is an ambitious man. He is always striving to prove he is a successful adult. No matter how much he achieves, he can't seem to be happy or rest. The only thing he knows how to do is push ahead. Once he has completed his objective he doesn't even know how to absorb it. He is already rushing ahead to the next task, driving himself mercilessly to win, hoping that someone will acknowledge his value through deeds.
Are you rushing through life? Do you stop to savor successes you've already achieved, or do you rush ahead to the next task? Do you feel guilty about resting when there's so much to do? Do you cram your day with so much activity that you feel drained and depressed?
The Knight of Swords reminds us that this is no way to go through life. In fact it is downright harmful to your health. In this card's imagery, the horse represents our physical body. The horse is uneasy, anxious, tight, and trying to outrun his rider. The horse looks back at his master with an expression that says "Seriously, you want me to run faster?!" The Knight brandishing the sword represents the "cruel master" within. That nasty voice that tells us to shut up and keep going, even when we feel we are going to drop.
Our culture glorifies suffering through work. When someone says you are "a hard worker," that's almost as good as being one of the troops! "She worked until the day she died," is another one of our highest honors. But is your tombstone really going to be inscribed with all the hours you heroically put into your job? Is that really an authentic encapsulation of what you amount to? Our country has the highest death rates for stress related illnesses. Why don't we allow ourselves a siesta like other healthier countries? Is it a sin to have more "vacation time" than one paltry week a year?
Today, you must take responsibility for your own health and wellness by actually scheduling relaxation. No one is going to say "Boy he needs a break, let's make him take one!" Working toward achievement is marvelous, but as with everything it needs balance. The Oracle at Delphi had a saying that guaranteed a satisfying life. "Nothing too much." That includes work, activity, play, food, drinking...everything!
Slow down today. Turn of the phone and take a relaxing walk or sit in the yard for twenty minutes. Stop being a slave to clocks, demands, emails, texts, televisions, and social media updates. You aren't living a full life if you are constantly cracking the whip across your own back to achieve. Balance work with rest today and your body will thank you.
When the Knight of Swords appears reversed he calls your attention to how you are managing stress in your life. The horse on the card is a symbol for your physical body while the knight can be seen as the taskmaster within. The Knight of Swords reversed usually appears as a warning to slow down and replenish yourself. Stress is a fact of life. However, just because there is stress does not mean that you should be cruel to yourself while confronting it. The main critique of the Knight of Swords is that he is so focused on accomplishing his goal that he forgets to be present. When reversed, this can indicate that he is also unknowingly hurting himself in the process. External demands are probably increasing, so ask yourself, “How does my body feel while I am getting these tasks done? Have I been getting enough rest, nutrition and water? Is there a way I can be kinder to myself as I get all of this done? Is there a way I can make this stressful task more fun or enjoyable?
The Knight of Swords reversed can also represent obsessive thinking. If you are noticing that you are exhibiting “tunnel-vision” at this time you may need to consciously choose to place your thoughts on something else for a while. Restore your personal balance and look around you. Notice something beautiful around you. Take your lunch in the park today. Consciously let go of your tasks for a moment and take a break. The Knight of Swords reversed asks you to be your own best advocate and to realize that your mind and your body are on the same team. Each part of you needs to be kind to the other. Take a deep breath in and exhale all the tension and the stress. Slow down and allow yourself to feel at peace with certain areas of your life still being “works in progress.” Give yourself a little gift today to show your appreciation to your body and mind and all that they do for you each day. The present is where beuty and magic is happening. Restore yourself now, not later.