Two of Swords

2 of Swords from Anecdotes Tarot: two crossed arrows at a bow, with rural scenes around them

And that is all I want here:
to draw my gaunt spirit to bow
beneath what I am allowed

Joanna Newsom, “Leaving the City” (Divers, 2015)

Image Description

Two pale blue arrows are crossed in an X-shape, pointing upward. They are against a pink bow wrapped in green three-pointed ivy leaves. The sky above the bow is light gray. Below the bow, the four quadrants created by the crossed arrows each contain a different scene. On the left, there is a dark brown horse wearing a white bridle in a red landscape. On top, there are rays of orange and yellow light emanating from above. On the right, there is a red barn in a dark brown landscape. The barn has a bird weather vane, white bars on its upper window shutter are arranged in a triangle pointing upward with a horizontal line through its tip, and white bars on its doors form an asterisk shape. There is a pile of hay with a pitchfork in front of the barn. Finally, the bottom quadrant shows a gold landscape with a black road winding through it.


The Two of Swords is a step back from the Ace of Swords, from action to deliberation. The narrator of “Leaving the City” waits to make a decision, striving to work within her limits. The question “Are we leaving the city?” is addressed to a group, and thus this card also has the meaning of cooperation or decision-making as a team. Throughout this suit, pale blue is associated with spirit and pink with flesh, and here the tension between them is like a strung bow. The crossed arrows create four quadrants. The bridled horse is opposite the barn, contrasting obligations with romanticized self-sufficiency. In the top and bottom, the passively beautiful light is opposed to the dark road that one must toil along.

This card links to the Nine of Swords, where the partitions drawn here are dissolved.