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Sting, the Stilling of Hearts & the Two of Swords, Part I


Original Sting sketch by Tracy Lawler available for purchase here

Be still my beating heart It would be better to be cool It's not time to be open just yet A lesson once learned is so hard to forget

 

It would be hard to find a more apt way of imagining what’s going on behind the blindfold for the figure in the Two of Swords than the opening to this classic Sting song, 'Be Still my Beating Heart'.

 

The Two of Swords in tarot correlates to the Moon in Libra in astrology and guess what, Sting has a Moon in Libra (along with Sun, Saturn & Neptune).  Let’s explore the intriguing relationship between this song, the astrology and tarot meanings and see what magic is revealed along the way.    




 

Firstly, the Two of Swords corresponding to the Moon in Libra tells us straight away that this is an energy of duality; yin and yang, passive and active, both internally focused and external, masculine and feminine (Moon is feminine and Libra is masculine).  It is both airy (Swords) and watery (the 2s are cards of relating) and we see that in the card, with the blindfolded figure seated, holding a pair of swords and the sea behind them.  Immediately there’s a clue here to how this duality is being lived which is by keeping them apart. 

 

According to Isabel Radow Kliegman in her most excellent book, Tarot and the Tree of Life; finding everyday wisdom in the Minor Arcana, the Two of Swords is in fact one of a handful of ‘separation’ cards in the tarot deck, where the figure is removed from the scene or natural environment.  The Moon in Libra person wants to remain dry (air, Swords) and avoids getting wet (water, Cups).  This is a person who approaches relationships in the hope that they somehow won’t lose their head:

 

Be still my beating heart, Or I’ll be taken for a fool.   

Yet, it’s an uneasy placement and for a number of reasons.  The Moon is most at home in the sign of Cancer which is square to Libra in the Zodiac and squares in astrology represent tension, agitation and discomfort.  Cancer represents being held in the loving unconditional embrace of mother (in another Sting song, “Sister Moon”, he sings of lying in a mother’s arms, the primal root of a woman’s charms).  It’s the deep inner security of being immersed in a symbiotic love. 


The Libran archetype retains the yearning for this symbiotic love (which we see in our cultural contagion for co-dependency), but it knows it must move beyond the safety of the womb into the realm of Other. 


Libra is a balancing act between these two forces, trying to eke out a fair compromise between the need for inner security and the drive to take on the world.   

 

Squares can can make us squirm.  Later in the song, Sting evokes his own vivid image of this;

 

I wriggle like a fish caught on dry land Struggle to avoid any help at hand.

 

Wet and watery lands on solid, dry ground. 

 

The inner struggle between wanting to stay safe in the comfort of the familiar versus the impulse to rub up against the world and carve out one's independence.  

 

Kliegman in her book argues that the Two of Swords is never going to be easy because to approach relationships via the intellect, as this card wants to, is inevitably going to leave the heart cold.  Relationships don’t work very well as a rule, if we try to figure them out… [for}…Once we start analysing relationships the simple joy is lost" (p.109).


I've been to every single book I know, To soothe the thoughts that plague me so.

 

The Two of Swords is nothing if not a reminder that we cannot think our way to love nor beyond the barriers that keep us separate from it. 

 

In Part II, we’ll explore how Sting’s Libran gifts offer a talisman for the collective and especially the Pluto in Libra generation (now in its 40s and 50s parents and grandparents of the world). 


In the meantime, here is the song and lyrics of Be Still my Beating Heart in full.  from the album Nothing Like the Sun, released 5 October, 1987 when Sun, Venus and South Node were all in Libra!



 

Be still my beating heart It would be better to be coolI t's not time to be open just yet A lesson once learned is so hard to forget

Be still my beating heart Or I'll be taken for a fool It's not healthy to run at this pace The blood runs so red to my face

I've been to every single book I know To soothe the thoughts that plague me so

I sink like a stone that's been thrown in the ocean My logic has drowned in a sea of emotion Stop before you start Be still my beating heart

Be still my beating heart You must learn to stand your ground It's not healthy to run at this pace The blood runs so red to my face

I've been to every single book I know To soothe the thoughts that plague me so Stop before you start Be still my beating heart

Never to be wrong Never to make promises that break It's like singing in the wind Or writing on the surface of a lake

And I wriggle like a fish caught on dry land Struggle to avoid any help at hand

I sink like a stone that's been thrown in the ocean

My logic has drowned in a sea of emotion

Stop before you start

Be still my beating heart

 

Songwriters: Gordon Sumner

Be Still My Beating Heart lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group


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