Sacred Circle,  Swords

Journey into: 9 Swords

Written by: Emma Sunerton-Burl

Continuing her series, Emma Sunerton-Burl looks into the cards of The Sacred Circle Tarot, by Anna Franklin and Paul Mason, published by Llewellyn:

I look at the card and it seems both restrictive and yet beautifully ordered.

I walk into the card.

I feel it is a warm and sunny day and there is a gentle breeze, I look at the swords and they gleam in the sunlight. The greenery and countryside behind seems less glaring and more soothing and gentle. I feel the swords are a barrier, despite being very shiny. They almost seem mesmerising and captivating, distracting me from the peacefulness behind.

“What do you have as a message in this card?” I ask them.

“Look at us we are shining and ordered, we form a pattern which is intricate and beautiful, we are a barrier yet you almost do not see that as you look at us and our shining light. We would have you stay where you are with no possibility of seeing beyond. We represent the thought patterns you have formed in your mind – they are rigid and intricate, and there seems to be no other way – the patterns show you something so loudly you do not see all the choices there are, often this leads you to confinement and trappedness; as if there is no way out. Sometimes you enjoy the feeling of security, trapped by your own belief systems; knowing where you are provides a sense of the familiar and indeed is likely similar to your own family or origin. We are that which distracts and confuses someone, what they can’t see past that holds them where they are. We are the learned ideas of life seen as rigid stereotypes and behavioural ‘shoulds’, sanctified and unquestioned.”

The central sword speaks:

“I am the discernment based on old habits and also the cutting edge; the sword that can cut you free if you allow me to. I can divide the structure and show you what is beyond if you allow me to. I need to be given permission to divide for the pattern to be broken, also you need to allow the structure to fall in order to experience what is beyond – do you dare?”

“Thank you – I understand – you form a powerful picture.” I can feel the security more than I would expect too.

I say: “Yes cut the structure – allow me through.”

The central sword cuts the others in two and they fall away into a thousand jewels – many looking like diamonds –”Wow how beautiful!” I say.

“Yes, we are the beauty that comes from have the courage to cut away the old – there are many gifts from the courage expended to do this.”

I walk forward and a pick up a few diamonds to take with me.

“We are facets of your soul; your light from the highest planes. You gain us as you break your patterns of behaviour and accept more freedom into your life – we are with you for ever now – nothing can take us away from you.”

“Thank you.” I say.

Then I walk into the undergrowth and see how the organic shapes, the trees and plants make, look both balanced and also uneven; there is a beauty in the unsymmetrical and I see that every plant and every leaf has its space however different it may be from the others.

“Yes indeed.” The tree says. “Each person is unique and as you allow yourself to stop trying to fit the mold of what you think you should be like, by what others told you and what you see when you compare yourself to others, so you find your own space; your perfect place in all creation. You fulfil the ‘you’ shaped gap in the universe and become perfect in your imperfections. This is the reward for unlocking the potential within you – there is no struggle or ‘try’ – just being who you are in all the ways you can be is enough. No judgement, no wrong doing, only being, only love.”

“Thank you.” I say. “I really feel your love in this and I feel you all together as one, yet each of you, each plant, twig, and leaf has its place and function.”

I go and sit in the tree and look out onto the land before me as I look back at the way I have come I see jewels and colourful flowers along the whole way. All has been beautiful. As I see how it has transformed through my walking I get the image of a worm with how through its progress through the earth enhances the earth and makes it more suitable for plant growth. It is like, through my own journey, and each of us through our journeys, I make the energy around me and around my life, more suitable for others to grow in. It is as if our own courage, pain and struggle provides fertile ground for others to achieve the same.

This is a wondrous card, I am loving being here; so often I see this card as a painful struggle, yet here the beauty, joy and peace that come from this seems emphasised. I am feeling it wants to tell me that this is the truth of the card and that though often it appears amidst the darkest times, its true meaning is transformation of the highest order after only deciding to do so. That very decision is what makes the change occur.

“Thank you all.” I say.

“What if you are reversed?” I ask.

“Well, we will stand strong in the way of the person who is yet to be ready to move and change. We can be the comfort of ignorance and we can be the illusion of love and joy, where someone doesn’t wish to know the truth. It is almost as if the time is not right for transformation yet, and a sign that the illusion has to be more fully known before it can be released.

The card can be righted if there is a choice to do so, by deciding that following the truth, at whatever cost, is the way forward. However to continue with the stability of the known is not wrong, one of the few cards where to stay in the reversed position is not all disastrous, but simply a compassionate understanding that ‘not yet’ is the way forward. This can be – ‘not now to leave the job despite dissatisfaction’; ‘not now to leave the relationship – more inner work is needed to be clear in oneself why one created the pattern in the first place’. Once understanding has occurred and the pattern of us swords understood fully and clearly – then you can let it go and allow the chaos, and organic growth of nature. Structure serves to hone our skills and understanding in all things.”

“Thank you – this has been really interesting.” I say. I jump down out of the tree and say good bye to all and walk through the door.


Written by: Emma Sunerton-Burle
Deck: Anna Franklin
Publisher: Llewellyn


Emma welcomes any comments on this article or the visualisations you do following this method. Email her on

Emma works as an intuitive psychic tarot reader and runs one to one online training courses on reading with the Thoth tarot deck using a unique blend of intuition and psychological techniques. This has now been extended to working intuitively with RWS style decks too. She also mentors other professional and non-professional tarot readers. She offers visualisation MP3 downloads for intuition development, tarot readings F2F, telephone or distance, and healing – see her website for details: 

Emma has a Bsc in Psychology and is a trained counsellor, counselling supervisor and trainer. She integrates this experience in her Tarot work, and in her self-written training courses for personal development, Tarot, and Tarot mentoring.

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