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The Sword of Clear Thinking

Once the weapon of choice for the warrior, the sword has acquired special symbolic meaning. From the Palace of Justice in Rome to the Tehran courthouse in Iran, justice has been depicted as a young woman (“Lady Justice”) holding a set of scales in one hand and a sword in the other. It’s easy to understand that the scales signify weighing up counter arguments. The sword is generally said to indicate that justice can be “swift” and “final” but that does not tell us much. In Western esotericism, too, the sword is associated with the intellect. There — in a world that often emphasizes feelings — the sword often has negative connotations. In the Tarot, for example, most sword cards indicate difficult circumstances. But why is the sword associated with justice and the intellect, or, we could say, with truth? There is more to this archaic weapon than we generally

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