Ace of Swords or The Game Genie of Tarot

According to the bible, Moses received the two stone tablets with 10  commandments from God on Mount Sinai.  Not only did the Tablets contain valuable information on how to behave, they were written by God’s own finger!  According to Jewish tradition, God also gave him the complete Jewish Bible + interpretation. 

Forget about the tablets, forget about the Bible.  Because according to the Talmud, Moses also received a goodie bag containing some small presents from the angels.  And those presents are many times more interesting!  Moreover, 1 of those presents leads us to Ace of Swords in the Tarot …

The story goes that Moses did not just receive the tables and the bible.  A discussion preceded this.  God conferred with the angels whether the people were “worthy” to receive the knowledge of the tablets and the Bible.  Moses countered the critical questions of God and the Angels and stated that the Jewish people certainly deserved this.  He won the debate, and while God was apparently writing with his finger in stone, the angels celebrated the success with Moses. To congratulate him, Moses did receive some presents from the Angels as well.  The Angel of Death gave Moses a special kind of incense, with which the Jewish people could be protected against diseases such as the plague.  From another Angel he received a manuscript with magical formulas and recipes.  This manuscript is known as “The Sword of Moses” (Harba de-Moshe). 

The manuscript describes every angel and how they are placed in the hierarchy. Four Archangels are responsible for “The Sword”.  For whoever controls the Sword has power over all Angels. Therefore, possessing the Sword (and knowing how to handle it) actually gives you same power as God!  The manuscript also includes a list of all the names of Angels that you can theoretically summon… Just like a genie in a bottle.

The last part of the manuscript is entirely dedicated to the formulas on how to invoke those Angels  when you want to do or achieve something.  First you do a ritual to gain control of the Sword.  This takes 3 days and mainly consists of praying and bathing.  In the prayers you must incorporate magical spells that have a performative character (you speak as if what you wish to happen has already happened).  Then you can consult the manuscript on which Angel to turn to in this particular situation, as well as which spell to use.The list is particularly long and obviously includes topics like healing people, fertilizing fields and winning the heart of someone you have a crush on.  But also when you want to become famous, there is an Angel who will help you (provided you engrave the spell on a piece of lead and bury it in front of your house). 

The more you read, the more specific the situations become.  For example, you have a spell in case you suddenly fall into a ravine (and you have to remember this spell while falling) and also one for when you are drowning.  It is striking that many Angels can be called in order to harm someone.  For example, you can ensure that someone is murdered, or that their house burns down, that someone becomes demented, that someone’s baby is aborted or that someone is hated by everyone.  Well, cruel times they were…

Yet there are also many practical spells for handling everyday problems and situations: You can open or close a door, communicate with dead people, walk through fire, make mountains disappear, let hail fall down from the skies and walk on water.  There is also an Angel who is happy to assist you while holding a lion by its ear in case you want to eeeeh…..hold a lion by its ear  (I hope for this Angel that he or she has also received other tasks from God). Of course, this refers to strengthening and controlling the Ego.

The Nintendo gameboy with the game genie

Justin Sledge created a nice short video about “The Sword of Moses”.  He compares the manuscript to the Game Genie that you could click into your Game Boy, somwhere back in the nineties of the last century.  With this Game Genie you could pause the game for a while and then arrange extra lives.  Or you could go to the next level without completing the game (basically just cheating).  The Sword of Moses is actually also a Game Genie, but for real life. You have the power over Angels and you can ensure that everything you want actually happens and that nothing stands in your way.

What can we learn from this story?

First, of course, that the one who is the richest and most powerful does not necessarily give the most valuable presents; Always look inside your goodie bag!  It is also a bit more clear why Moses smashed those stone tablets that he had received from God so easily.  Adoring the golden calf seemed to be merely an excuse, like accidentally dropping the ugly vase you received as a birthday present. 

The real moral of the story is, of course, that you can influence and change your situation or circumstances with your mental strength and thoughts.  The one who controls The Sword has the same power as God.  If you are not able to handle it properly, it can also have negative consequences.  The Swords in the Tarot depict this concept.  And the Ace of Swords thus represents the chance to control ‘The Sword” and let the power of our thoughts work in our favor.  The Ace of Swords is the Game Genie of the Tarot! 


Yuval Harari translated the Harba de-Moshe manuscript in English and you can download a free pdf from the Academia website.  You can watch Justin Sledge’s video here.

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