(The above image is a copy of The Five of Swords card in a standard Rider-Waite Tarot deck. The 5 symbols pointed out above are explained below.)
The Five of Swords illustrates the aftermath of a disagreement. The card questions the validity of an argument won if the means to that victory involved pain. The Five of Swords asks us to take a look at the process we use to reach our objectives. In other words: ends do not justify means.
For more information about The Five of Swords card, check out A. E. Waite’s description here.
Point 1 – LARGEST MAN
A large man is depicted in the foreground, picking up fallen swords. It is unclear his relation to the two other figures in the card. Perhaps they all had a fight and the large man won. Perhaps he is thinking of attacking them while their backs are turned. Perhaps he is looking at the other two people and is thinking about his younger self. Interpretations from Tarot scholars vary.
Point 2 – TWO OTHER FIGURES
Two figures are seen walking away from the man with the swords. Perhaps they are walking away in defeat. Perhaps they are unaware of the man with the swords. In any case, these figure’s depiction adds a sense of melancholy and lost to the card.
Point 3 – TWO SWORDS ON THE GROUND
The two swords on the ground are reminiscent of the three fallen cups in the Five of Cups. They are the tools we haven’t used or forgot about. Perhaps they are the swords of the two figures walking away. In that case, they can represent defeat or our shot comings.
Point 4 – THREE SWORDS IN THE MAN’S ARMS
Likewise, the three swords in the man’s arms are reminiscent of the two standing cups in the Five of Cups. They can represent resourcefulness and being prepared. On the flip side, they could also illustrate hoarding and being a miser about resources.
Point 5 – WATER
The water in the Five of Swords is a reiteration of the water found in the Two of Swords. It represents the subconscious coupled with the intelligence. Perhaps this indicates that the man with the swords is out of touch with his subconscious.
An Upright Five of Swords is about conflict and illustrates the loss that comes from fighting. Whether you won or lost a conflict, the battle can take its toll. An Upright Five of Swords encourages you to pick your battles wisely. Not everything is worth fighting for. Try your best to see the situation from your opponent’s perspective before you escalate things into an argument.
A Reverse Five of Swords suggests that you have been fighting an uphill battle for a while now without any progress. There is no shame in admitting defeat. In fact, it is a necessary step to maturity. A Reverse Five of Swords encourages you to appreciate your effort and to move forward in a positive direction.
For more Tarot Card Meanings, check out our blog here.
About the author: John Taylor is a content writer and freelancer through the company Upwork.com. You may view his freelancing profile here. He has a B. A. in English, with a specialty in technical writing, from Texas A&M University and a M. A. in English from the University of Glasgow. You may view his previous articles about Tarot here and his LinkedIn profile here.