Six of Swords

Ferrying over / translating. On a superficial level the picture – showing a scene from Eugene Delacroix’s 1822 painting Dante et Virgile aux enters (Dante and Virgil in hell) – represents movement, moving, or any other external change. But on a more subtle level, it symbolizes the power and the purpose of the mind to connect different worlds. It challenges you to be mentally alert and always up-to-date.

Ferrying someone from one shore to the other can be likened to translating words from one language into another. Different people and their respective truths are like two shores or two different worlds which need to be connected.

The ferryman depicted on the card confronts us with an archetype representing the controlling power and transformational abilities of the human mind. In many traditional stories the ferryman is depicted as being incomplete and unredeemed. In the fairy tale of the devil with the three golden hairs, the ferryman is cursed to ferry back and forth for eternity. In his novel Siddhartha Hermann Hesse created a very different version of the ferryman that millions of people have learned to love. Hesse’s ferryman is a symbol of enlightenment representing human consciousness as a bridge between two worlds.

Whether or not you will get ahead in your current situation depends entirely on your mental clarity and openness. Useless thoughts are like old luggage that you carry with you to each new destination. Useful thoughts on the other hand pertain to the real reason behind any issue in the same way the ferryman will only get ahead if his pole makes contact with the bottom of the river.

Practical advice:

Be thorough in all your dealings. Use your mental flexibility and the intensity of the moment to find out which needs really motivate you and others. Communicate what you need.