Visconti-Sforza Tarot (Cary-Yale 1466): Maiden of Swords
Swords were typically depicted with curved blades in ancient tarot decks to distinguish them from staves. They correspond to the playing card suit of Spades, (in Italian, spada means sword). This suit represents the element Air, and the social classes of Nobility and Military. Swords are considered a Masculine suit. Swords typically represent intellect, reason, mental clarity, and the sciences. They may also represent conflicts surrounding the questioner.
The Maidens concern children on the cusp of adulthood. They can represent innocence and playfulness, novices, amateurs, and young students, learning, naivety, and youth. They often represent the beginning of an adventure or an exploration. In their most symbolic form they represent a girl or sometimes a boy embarking on a fairy tale journey, about to earn wisdom through a rite of passage. They can represent the young and good defeating an older foe, or challenging out of date traditions. They may also represent fresh perspectives and the washing away of prejudices.
Precocious individual. Academic. Communication. Intelligence. Scientific discovery. Invention. Eureka moment. Spark of understanding.
The Maiden of Swords is a very precocious girl who displays many talents. She may represent the questioner or someone in the questioner's life, not always female. She is an eloquent, learned individual who excels academically. She is capable of great things, but only if nurtured and allowed to grow in the right kind of environment. She needs protection, but also the freedom to explore the world for herself, and encouragement to do so. She may represent a discovery or a eureka moment for the questioner – and this may include insights into their own mind, or problems they have been turning over.
Reversed Meaning: Delayed understanding to an obvious solution. Confusion. Conflict of interests. Practical issues getting in the way of problem solving.
Reversed, the Maiden of Swords can indicate a mental block or a delayed understanding of a problem with an obvious solution. She may indicate a puzzle or an unsolved problem. She may also indicate a conflict of interest between an abstract or rational matter and practical reality. This card can even indicate temporary setbacks in research.