The Suit of Swords | Minor Arcana

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The Meaning of Swords in the Minor Arcana

The suit of swords in the Minor Arcana represents mind, decision-making, spirit, and accuracy. In the early, French Marseille tarot deck, the sword suit was depicted by a pike or scimitar, called a pique in French. One of the undeniable uses for the sword is its use as a weapon, and it’s capability to do violence. In the cards, however, it is a metaphor for the discerning mind, the mind that penetrates issues and ideas the way a sword penetrates a body. Rather than settle for the superficial, the sword dives in straight for the root of life and pierces it. Such frankness can cause hurt, but also brings about freedom from mental slavery. Each thought is a sword when freed from the mire of a sleepy mind. The clear headed person holds within herself an army of knowledge and wisdom, and this can be used for good or evil. Without conscience, knowledge can be used to dissect, calculate, and judge cruelly.

In their negative connotation, swords can indicate that a person is undergoing psychological disturbances, a difficult transition, or a feeling that their ideas about who they are and how the world works no longer hold true. They may be experiencing deep sadness, trouble with beaurocracy, and an overall feeling that life is a letdown and their efforts are fruitless. The sword is also a tool one can use to sort through a chaotic conundrum, hacking way the weeds of stale ideas and exposing the lifeblood of true insight. 

Swords also represent maturity or great achievement, for example, when a person is knighted. Even today the Queen carries on this practice, knighting people for their achievements, such as an artist or musician. Knighting is a rite of passage marking the apprentice”s crossover from amateur to master. The sword is a tool that takes time to weild skillfully. It can be used recklessly, engendering drama and discord, or genuinely to bring about peace, harmony, and understanding. 

Swords slice through the air travelling to the target, so air is the element associated with this suit. Its association with this element further teaches us that swords are spiritual and powerful, magical and mutable. Ancient theories note that air is calm nearer to the heavens but, closer to earth, it is wetter and can even become violent and stormy. Storms pull houses off foundations and force us to surrender, cancelling our plans: the brute forces of nature. Wind makes signs shudder, flowers lose their petals, and horses neigh. It thrashes all without regard for status. 

Air connects us: it the medium through which all our human senses function. It carries smell, the light we see with, the space between us and what we touch or taste. It is the main medium through which we hear each other speaking or music playing. It is also the pure substance connecting all beings, travelling distances. It enlivens fire with its oxygen, carries the light through which plants grow, penetrates the smallest gaps and dries up impurities. Like mind, air can be furious or settled like a silky Hawaiin breeze. Therefore, the suit of swords represents both the ferocity of mind and spirituality as well as the clarity and peacefullness arduous study and concentration can bring.

Ace of Swords

At a Glance

Minor Arcana Ace of Swords is a tarot card that symbolizes the mind and the intellect. It often represents sudden mental clarity that can help you achieve your goals.

If You Drew This Card…

While tarot cards can be interpreted many ways, this card can help you look inward to create positive change. Below are some of the ways the card can represent a shift in your life.

Eight of Swords

At a Glance

The Eight of Swords carries mixed meanings that can bring both relief and pain. Ultimately, however, it being pulled should be a sign to pay careful attention to your coming situations.

If You Drew This Card…

Due to the duality of this card, it is very easy to misinterpret its meaning. Be careful when considering how it relates to your life and the other cards that are drawn alongside it.

Five of Swords

At a Glance

The Five of Swords Minor Arcana Tarot card could be interpreted in a variety of ways. This card is associated with aggression, loss, conflict, betrayal and resentment.

If You Drew This Card…

If this card appears in your tarot reading, there are several approaches to determining the meaning. The position of the card and your current life situation could help you interpret it.

Four of Swords

At a Glance

The serenity pictured on the Four of Swords Minor Arcana Tarot card points to a period of life that could be filled with calmness and relaxation. This card is closely associated with rejuvenation and taking time out for yourself.

If You Drew This Card…

Making meaning of the cards requires an open mind and an understanding of the position of the cards. Here are some ways you could figure out the purpose of this card and its symbols.

King of Swords

At a Glance

The King of Swords represents clarity and rationality, with little room for gray areas. This card calls for careful consideration when making decisions.

If You Drew This Card…

The King of Swords represents a particular type of personality and way of acting. Drawing it suggests that there is an aspect of this personality that is especially influential for your life right now.

Knight of Swords

At a Glance

The core meaning of the Knight of Swords is action without consideration. Whether this leads to victory or strife is determined by context, but in any case, the night is swift action, whether or not that action happens to be backed by wisdom.

If You Drew This Card…

If you drew this Minor Arcana card in a reading, there are a number of possible interpretations. Before settling on one, consider the full situation and the orientation of the card.

Nine of Swords

At a Glance

There are few tarot cards that people are more distraught to see than the Nine of Swords. Tarot readers often recommend not interpreting any cards as inherently good or bad, and sure enough, there are ways this card could symbolize something beneficial.

If You Drew This Card…

Do not despair if you see this card pulled. Pay attention to its relation to your life, as well as the other cards that were pulled alongside it.

Page of Swords

At a Glance

The Page of Swords is an energetic card depicting a youth holding an unsheathed sword. Hair blowing in the wind, the youth stands on a hill and looks towards an unseen horizon.

If You Drew This Card…

Court cards sometimes have a reputation of being tricky to understand. Here are some questions that can help you meditate upon what this card means to you:

Queen of Swords

At a Glance

The Queen of Swords is most commonly seen as absolute victory, the kind that does not even involve joining the battle. This is accomplished through maturity, wisdom, and the power that comes with it.

If You Drew This Card…

Considering the place of the Queen of Swords in your reading involves both understanding its role in the Minor Arcana and its orientation when drawn in your particular reading.

Seven of Swords

At a Glance

The Seven of Swords is a strange tarot card that inspires balance because it can both imply wealth and downfall from greed. There are several meanings that drawing this card can impart.

If You Drew This Card…

Any card that you draw should be interpreted in light of all the other cards alongside it. Here are a few of the things that the Seven of Swords may mean for your life.

Six of Swords

At a Glance

The Six of Swords, or The Boatman as it is frequently called, has its meaning frequently disputed. Many claim it is a sign of leisure or success, but others say it is representative of doom or failure.

If You Drew This Card…

While it may seem unhelpful that the meaning of the Six of Swords is disputed, remember that the supporting cards drawn will provide insight into what this card means and help you understand what it holds for your future.

Ten of Swords

At a Glance

A prone figure lies in the foreground of the image, their back pierced with ten swords. A trickle of blood is seen just underneath their head; in the background a still river reflects distant mountains.

If You Drew This Card…

This card certainly seems to suggest destruction and disappointment, so thinking carefully about these topics is necessary in order to gain a deeper understanding of the Ten of Swords.

Three of Swords

At a Glance

The Three of Swords may not be the card you want to see drawn. In addition to the obvious negative implications it holds, this card represents relief, acceptance, and progress.

If You Drew This Card…

Remember that the key to understanding the cards you draw is to interpret them together and relate it to the specifics in your life. This card may seem negative, but its true meaning cannot be revealed when it is alone.

Two of Swords

At a Glance

There are few cards that give way to such power and diverse interpretations as the Two of Swords. Drawing this card may be a sign of great things if the proper precaution is taken.

If You Drew This Card…

The card itself is positive, but its context is set by other cards that are drawn, as well as your personal situation. Do not draw meaning from this card alone, but take everything as a whole.

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