It’s odd that I find myself tongue tied and lost for words when approaching the subject of an archetype to whom I relate so strongly, the Page of Swords. While the majority of my Suit of Swords illustrations were all completed consecutively, the Page and the Knight were done well before the other cards in the suit. I distinctly remember feeling inspired to delve into my Page of Swords illustration shortly following my work on the Page of Pentacles when I was spending a lot of time visiting my then-mother-in-law in the hospital. It may sound selfish to admit, but it was a gloomy time for me on multiple levels and I found myself feeling isolated which more than likely translated into the idea of the Page wandering the icy shores of the Kingdom of Swords with only snowmen to keep him company.
The Mental Labyrinth Constructed by the Page
Pages are youthful by definition so it was interesting to explore the concept of a child growing up within rigid structures of iron or exploring harsh fields of ice beneath cold skies of gray. The Page of Swords is a child of the mind so, while he can become obsessively fascinated with the world around him, he’s also quite aware of his own cleverness. His precociousness can lend itself to a sense of arrogance which could easily be mistaken for cruelty though that’s not really his intent.
A Game of You
Rather, the Page of Swords is often engaged in some sort of mental game to further reinforce his brilliance… it’s just that the other players may not be willing participants or even aware they’re in the game. This exposes a weakness in the young Page in that his playful mental jousting shows little to no regard for the emotions of others. Here we find the Page of Swords among “friends” he’s created from snow. These men of frozen water (water being a symbol for feelings) have been hacked at and stabbed without a second thought by the strong-willed Page. It’s all a game but we see frowns on the faces of the maimed snowmen showing that the Page’s idea of a good time still has consequences, no matter how innocently he means it.
A Childish Sense of Communication
Due to his intense interest in human behavior, the Page of Swords will often indulge in gossip. He may also explore the power of deceit if it furthers his ideas or perspectives or fall back on language carefully designed to be offensive or insulting to break down a mental challenger. While the enlightened will point out that arguments aren’t meant to be won or loss but rather to find solutions, the Page is too immature to recognize this and deeply wants to win… so much so that he may not accept any alternative.
The Stirrings of Independent Thought
These traits may seem negative but they’re actually the heralds of independent thinking; a vital component to the human experience. The Page of Swords can be admired in that he’s taking his initial steps onto the frigid fields of emotionless thought with confidence. Of course, it’s not unwavering confidence or he wouldn’t delight so much in mentally besting as many people as possible. Still, with maturity, he will perhaps awaken some consideration for the feelings of others. For now, he’s having fun exercising his mental muscle and boldly seeing how far it can take him.
Symbolism of the Page of Swords
I designed the Page of Swords to wear a lot of spikes and thorns to symbolize his mental sharpness along with his wild, unrefined use of it. That being said, he uses his sword with intense accuracy and, even as a child, is one of the best sword fighters in the Kingdom of Swords. His sword’s guard is a mouth lined in spikes symbolizing his tendency to deceive to get what he wants and to gossip. He is seen casually stabbing at a snowman with one hand while using the other to hide his mouth as he leans back to gossip to another snowman. Behind him is a chilly ocean with sharp spires of iceberg mountains jutting forth as water turns to ice. This symbolizes the Page’s coldness turning emotions into concrete thought. In the borders, we see talking mouths engaging in gossip while the corners depict a sword with a spiked handle stabbing alongside a strong gust of wind. This is meant to remind us that the Page is firmly an agent of the Air element.