The Meaning of the Five of Swords

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The Meaning of the 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.

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  • How can you aid others who are going through what you suffered in the past?
  • What can you do now to avoid making the same mistakes? How can you forgive yourself and get rid of negative thinking?
  • Now is a time to give up bad habits. What new, positive activity can you bring into your life? 


  • When this card is presented upside down, that may mean you’re trying to get away from a conflict. Is someone in your life holding on to resentment or anger about you?
  • You may have had a tough time in your past that required you to fight for what was right. Is this conflict revisiting you and opening up old feelings of bitterness on your part?
  • Sometimes, you may be trying to move on from a bad situation, but someone from your past won’t let go. How can stay compassionate while making space for yourself away from negative influences?

Interpreting the Symbols

  • The Swords : The five swords in different positions may represent words from your past or conflict that could be lingering.
  • The Cloudy Sky : Instead of a clear day, the card depicts a tumultuous background within view of clearer skies - understanding is coming or understanding that existed is now becoming uncleara.
  • Three Figures : Stages of grief progressing toward understanding; movement away from obsession and toward openneness and forgiveness.
  • The Man in the Foreground : The main figure has taken the swords away from the others, and his expression shows contentedness and even happiness as he glances backwards into his past. He takes things lightly and does not harbor grudges. Alternatively, he may be narcissistic and vengeful if dealt in reverse.
  • Water : Integrating experience into the self requires a balance of intellect and emotional openness, but too much intellect or emotion could result in stunted growth.

Charmaine’s Take

The Five of Swords is a card that may indicate you’ve got a rough time ahead of you. In most situations, this card may point to some sort of conflict that is upcoming or being reborn from the past. Sometimes, you may be the aggressor in the conflict, as illustrated by the man in the card who takes what he wants without worrying about the consequences.The end result of this attitude could be represented by the two other figures walking away, which could be people you’ve hurt or wronged in your quest to be right.

Some people interpret this card as representing a conflict that you may not necessarily be fully aware of. There may be a person secretly working to betray you with lies or other tactics.The card may serve as a warning to you to watch your back and to make sure you know who your friends really are.

For those wondering about a romantic relationship, this card could be a bad sign of things to come. This may be an indicator that the relationship is not healthy or that it could turn ugly. Whatever your life situation is, this card could help you determine how to deal with a conflict.

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