Reach For the Windlord

Daily Draw May 25th, 2009

From The Lord of the Rings Tarot:

ACE OF SWORDS – The intervention of Gwaihir the Eagle represents a major breakthrough.


This Ace is one of my personal cards; I call it the “Reach” card, because the energy allows you to reach for the sky. All things are possible with this energy.

Because of the association with Gwaihir, in this deck the card is more about sudden resolution, breakthrough and intervention, as if the energy came from outside you, but the image also makes me think of an eagle rising from the torso of a person, the eagle of the soul and heart inside, rising upward.

The Great Eagles in Tolkien mythology are much larger than regular eagles and are intelligent and can speak. It reminds me of the eagles that Tolkien’s friend C.S. Lewis used, and particularly Far-sight the Eagle in The Last Battle from The Chronicles of Narnia. The authors seem to have had similar views in their writing about intellectually elevated races of animals that talked and were larger than normal.

The eagles from The Hobbit lived in the Misty Mountains as referenced in the script at the top of this image on the card. When Goblins intercepted the dwarves in this book, the eagles rescued them. Gwaihir is specifically the eagle in The Lord of the Rings who rescues Gandalf when Saruman has him trapped in Isengard, and Gwaihir and two companions rescue Frodo and Sam from Mount Doom at the end of the book.

In the Poetic Edda, there are several references to eagles. An eagle of much knowledge (who isn’t given a name) sits at the top of the world tree Yggdrasil, which is the ash tree that Odin hung on for nine days. A squirrel called Ratatoskr runs up and down the tree carrying messages to the eagle from the wyrm Niohoggr or Nidhogg (a dragon or similar serpent) at the roots of the tree. The wyrm and the eagle seem to have been rather envious of each other, sending forth mutually malicious, ratty messages via the squirrel. As well as eating a root of Yggdrasil, the dragon sucked the corpses of the dead, so not a terribly nice fellow. I can imagine the eagle rising above such nastiness and giving his attention to knowledge instead: Reach for a better thought.

Ratatosk is the squirrel who there shall run
On the ash-tree Yggdrasil;
From above the words of the eagle he bears,
And tells them to Nithhogg beneath.

In the Prose Edda, mention is also made of a hawk that sits between the eagle’s eyes, but the hawk isn’t mentioned in the Poetic Edda.

Gwaihir means “windlord,” so perfect in my mind for the Reach card of wind, sky, and intellect.






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