Swords generally express aggression, struggle and strife, boldness and courage, sometimes indicating hatred, battle, enemies, and severing ties. These cards often indicate a great potential for misfortune and disaster. They also refer to mental activities and abstract thinking; this suit prompts you to examine the way you think – whether you’re clear-headed or allowing your emotions to overpower your mind and generate conflict.

The direction of this suit is north; its creature is the sylph, an elemental being of the air. The Sword temperament is said to be melancholy. This is the suit of the warrior. When referring to a specific person, it is usually someone with dark brown hair and possibly gray, hazel or even blue eyes; however, it may simply indicate an energetic and active person.

ACE OF SWORDS – The equilibrium of mercy and severity which maintains order. Conquest, triumph of power, great activity. The power to love strongly or to hate. Possible birth of a child who will be of heroic temperament. Championship. Overcoming opponents. An aggressive new beginning in projects, with the promise of victory. A card of great force.

Reversed: Conquest, but the results are disastrous. Obstacles, great loss, infertility.

TWO OF SWORDS – Being blind to a situation; ignorance about the issue, not having enough information to make an intelligent assessment. Indecision or stalemate. The querist would be advised to do something, make some sort of move, even if it is unclear what should be done. A well-developed sense of balance and rhythm but needing direction. Can also indicate tension that maintains a certain balance in relationships. Military friendships, or working with a partner in a situation where you watch each other’s backs.

Reversed: Release; movement of affairs, sometimes in the wrong direction. Avoid those who aren’t what they seem. Disloyalty. Duplicity. Sympathy for those in trouble.

THREE OF SWORDS – Stormy weather for the affections. Tears, separation, quarreling. A broken heart; separation from a loved one, possibly a permanent loss. This card often appears in triangular emotional situations: threesomes, friction between parents over a child, or one person dealing with the conflicts of being involved with two people. Rupture and division. A general upheaval of the environment. Possibility of civil war. Political strife.

Reversed: There is still confusion, loss, sorrow, upheaval, but in lesser degree. Mental alienation; distraction. Clearing away the negativity of tortured emotions.

FOUR OF SWORDS – Retreat, solitude, possibly exile or banishment. Withdrawal in order to rest and regroup. Regeneration and perspective gained from time spent alone. Rest after battle. Relaxation of anxiety, release from suffering. There will soon be a change for the better. Not a card of death.

Reversed: No rest for the weary. Renewed activity; qualified success. Movement in one’s affairs; social unrest. A caution to be circumspect and economical. Rationing of one’s resources. Wise administration.

FIVE OF SWORDS – Failure, defeat. Degradation; dishonor; disgrace. Unfairness, slander, cruelty, cowardliness. Destruction. This may refer to the querist or to adversaries; note the placement of the card or surrounding cards.

Reversed: Beware of pride and ego. There is a chance of loss or defeat. Attendance at a funeral. Empty victory. Sorrow. Weakness. Slander and disgrace. Burial.

SIX OF SWORDS – Refuge; leaving behind difficulties, pain and sadness. The future will be better. Success after anxieties. Relocation. Sending someone to represent you in an undertaking. Also a journey in consciousness. Possible journey by water.

Reversed: You will stay where you are. No immediate way out of present difficulties. Unfavorable issue of a lawsuit or other undertaking. Declarations and public confessions.

SEVEN OF SWORDS – A plan that may fail. An unwise attempt to make away with what is not yours. Unstable effort. Arguments over plans. Spying on another. Partial success. Victory after struggle; won most, lost some. May indicate efforts and new plans with some uncertainty.

Reversed: Possibility of unexpected good. Sound advice. Instruction. Wishes about to be fulfilled. Helpful counsel. Possibly unsolicited advice. May also indicate slander and gossip.

EIGHT OF SWORDS – Narrow or restricted surroundings. Bondage. Imprisonment through indecision. Betrayal. Fear to move out of a situation. Temporary sickness. Crisis and conflict; not disaster, but things are at a point where it can swing either way. You may have the power but be unable to use it. May also indicate censure or criticism.

Reversed: New beginnings now possible. Impulsive, generous nature. Relaxation from fear. Freedom. Disquiet, difficulty, opposition. May indicate an accident or treachery. Something unforeseen.

NINE OF SWORDS – Suffering, loss, misery. Burden, oppression. Doubt. Loneliness; desolation. Illness. Disappointment and despair. Depression. Worry. May indicate sickness or death, possibly death of a loved one.

Reversed: Time brings healing. Tomorrow is another day. Have patience. Compassion; unselfishness. Possibly suspicion and doubt; reasonable fears. May indicate shame or imprisonment.

TEN OF SWORDS – Though the Nine of Swords showed despair, the meaning here is even more serious. Ruin of plans and projects. Defeat. Disruption of home life. Tears will fall. Trouble will come in spite of riches and high position. Not a card of violent death. Pain, affliction, sadness, desolation. Mental anguish. May indicate the end of an illusion; ignorance is dispersing about an obsession. Death of something in which the querist is greatly invested. A suggestion to give charity freely to those in trouble.

Reversed: Overthrow of evil forces. Some success and profit. Courage to rise again. In spiritual matters, looking to higher powers for help. Advantage and favor; this success will not be permanent, however.

PAGE OF SWORDS – A feisty youth. A young, energetic person who might be a page in the diplomatic service or something of a similar nature – an assistant, an aide, a “go-between.” This person already has great understanding and knows how to use tact and negotiate. This card can also mean a message and certain types of spying, as well as grace and dexterity. Vigilance and alertness; watching, gathering intelligence and information. Trouble may be brewing.

Reversed: Impostor, likely to be exposed. Informant. Cunning. Possibility of ill health. Be prepared for the unexpected. May indicate paranoia. Inappropriate frivolity.

KNIGHT OF SWORDS – A dashing, brave young person. Though this individual may be overbearing or domineering, there is a clean heart and much courage. Skill. Aggressive space and activities. War. The card may also mean the coming or going of misfortune.

Reversed: Extravagance. Given to bragging. Tyranny over the helpless, be it human or animal. A person always ready to start a fight. Destruction may come about through the knight’s activities. Imprudence.

QUEEN OF SWORDS – Someone who knows how to weather a crisis. A person who has been separated from a lover, perhaps someone mourning for loved ones who are far away. This card may mean widowhood, mourning, privation, possibly inability to bear children. Kindness but also firmness. A subtle, keen and quick-witted person. Gracefulness; perhaps a fondness for dancing or intellectually stimulating conversation.

Reversed: Narrow-mindedness. Prudishness. Unreliability. Gossip. Deceit. Malice. Artifice and manipulation. Someone who enjoys playing mind games, inflicting guilt, or utilizing the intellect in an abusive way.

KING OF SWORDS – Law and order, the power of life and death. An individual who may be a lawyer, a judge, a general or a governor. This person gives wise counsel, is firm in enmity as well as in friendship. A person of many ideas, thoughts and designs. This person can cut through the extraneous information and get straight to the heart of the matter. The card may also mean power, strength, authority or military intelligence. A lawsuit may be in the offing. An authoritative person who may be judgmental. May be a jealous or possessive lover. More generally, it may indicate oppressive institutions – government, etc.

Reversed: Distrustful, suspicious. Also harsh and malicious. Plotting, barbarity, and power for disruption are revealed. Cruelty, bigotry, abuse of authority.

© Copyright 1993 by D.V. Gray, Queen Z & Hunter MacKenzie. Revised and republished 2005, 2006, 2007, 2011, 2013, 2015.

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