The 5 of swords in tarot is a card of conflict. The figures in the card in the background look as if they are in despair, where is the figure in the foreground looks rather pleased with themselves. Lets first explore the upright meaning of the card, and then I will go into details of the reversed meaning.
The action in the card
Clouds in the sky gather and the water in the background looks as if a storm is picking up. It appears that some kind of battle has taken place here and the losers are the people in the background. The person in the foreground has collected 5 swords for himself and appears to have the upper hand here.
The suit of swords in Tarot is related to mental constructs, logic and rationality. When the energy of Swords is positively expressed it can be a great asset of clarity and clear thinking.
When negatively expressed however, it can often represent tension and conflict within and between people. In the case of the 5 of Swords it can represent conflict at work or within families where someone is gaining all the power and repressing others. At first glance it appears someone has won, but in reality, no one has truly won here because as we are all connected on an energetic level there will be consequences for the person who appears to have gained all the power. It is kind of like a case where they have ‘won the battle but lost the war.’
The reversed meaning
When this card is reversed however, it can be an indication that the so called ‘perpetrator’ is becoming open to new perspectives and therefore willing to take on the ideas and contributions of others around them. Their stance has softened and they are more wiling to be a team player rather than someone who feels as if they are lacking power and energy and therefore trying to ‘win at any cost’.
Another way of looking at this card in the reversed position is that it can indicate energy that is not yet expressed. For example, there is someone you may be in collaboration with who is feeling as if they are powerless and therefore has the potential to disrupt equilibriums and vulnerable to wanting to act on their own and cause conflict within a group. It is not yet obvious this could be happening but if you keep your intuition fine tuned you may notice who this person is. Be open to the perspective this person could also be you.
On a global level, this card can relate to political campaigns where groups of politicians are trying to work together for some kind of change, and yet they are conflicted between serving others and advancing their own career. They might think that what they need to do to advance their career is not in harmony with the greater good of the community or others they are working with. They therefore decide that to advance their position they will ignore the fact they are making decisions that can hurt others around them and not stay in line with the cause they were originally trying to bring about.
But, in the reversed position, the 5 of swords can indicate that although they may have made some decisions that were not so positive for the greater good, they are now softening their position and moving back into wanting to be of service to all concerned and bring about change where ideally everyone wins.
What is your experience of this card?
Can you think of some situations in your life where this card relates? Were you the victim of someone like this or have you had moments where all you wanted to do is ‘win’ at any cost? How did it all work out in the end?
I hope I have brought some clarity around the meaning of the 5 of swords reversed for you. I’d love to hear from you so feel free to comment below!
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