Mourning the Past, Eyes Toward the Future: The Six of Swords

Has the six of swords shown itself to you in a reading? Everything you need to know about the meaning of the card is right here!

A woman sitting upon a cloud as she ponders, There is an anchor holding her cloud steady.

Photo courtesy of Twist the Leaf.

The card representing the six of swords is depicted here by a woman sitting inside a cloud. She is facing away from us in contemplation as six grey clouds surround her home base cloud. Beneath her is the place she seems to be drifting away from, while an anchor settles itself beside the town, and on the other side of the rope there is a star. The feeling of this specific card is movement or stagnation, the way you read it depends on your interpretation. This article will discuss the various ways to read this card in a tarot spread. 

What does the sword suit represent? 

The suit of swords is known to be aligned with consciousness and intellect. The swords  connect with these elements and presents itself in a tarot spread as your thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes about a situation. The sword itself is a double-edged weapon and it shows the careful balance between intellect and power, but  some are more unbalanced than others. The six of swords is usually coined, “earned success,”  and we can see that the balance between intellect and power is fairer than its predecessor, the five of swords. 

Numerology of the number six 

Since the tarot deck is closely related to playing cards, we can compare the suits in the tarot to the suits in playing cards. Numerology is just as important when looking at the suit cards or “pip” cards. The number six is the number of self-actualization, the combination of masculine and feminine energy, and the importance of balance. 

The number six in the Kabbalist tree of life also represents harmony and communication. The number six is included in the emotional triad of the Kabbalistic tree of life. When talking about the six of swords, it’s important to remember how this number impacts your reading. 

The astrology of the six of swords

The six of swords’ celestial counterpart is Mercury in Aquarius, which represents moving forward from a hard or debilitating situation for the greater good, The card of “earned success,” typically signals to move on from a tough situation. But because this card is also associated with Mercury in Aquarius, the situation can be a little tricky to move forward from. Mercury is quick-witted and clever, while Aquarius craves revolution and complete destruction of the past. The card offers that double-edged balance between both Mercury and Aquarius. 

Aquarius’ celestial home is in Saturn, so in this case, when Saturn sets boundaries, Mercury passes them. This card is the transition between the five and the seven, and it is arguably the most important card within the sword suit. These three celestial bodies at work are what makes this card so special. What exactly does it mean for you when this card comes up in your reading? 

These are some of the major arcana cards highlighted in the Mystical Moments Tarot. Photo courtesy of Benebell Wen

The six of swords keywords 

  • Emigration
  • Escape 
  • Leaving a problem behind
  • Journeys 
  • Traveling over water 

The six of swords tarot spread

Once this card comes up in a tarot spread, there are a lot of different possibilities. We will be looking at upright positions concerning love, career, and life in general. Likewise, we will look at this card in the downturned position, which can sometimes have the opposite effect of the upright position. 

Upright positions in love

When the card comes up in a relationship or love tarot card spread, the six of swords could feel confusing if you’re dealing with certain issues within that relationship. The six of swords in the upright position shows that your relationship is moving into the right direction. Perhaps there was an altercation between you and your partner, this represents that there will be smooth sailing from here on out. It also draws attention to the balance between power and communication between you and your partner. 

It could also be a literal representation of travel, specifically over a body of water. It could be giving you a clue to look into getting away with your partner from a certain situation that is causing both parties harm. 

Upright positions in careers

When the card comes up in a career tarot card spread, there’s good news! It is an indication that you will soon be able to walk away from an altercation that might have been causing a stagnant position in your work environment. If you were questioning if this job is right for you, it’s indicating that there are more opportunities ahead. There’s no reason to stay stagnant in your work environment. Take the risk of perhaps pursuing a new job or career. 

Upright position in your life journey

In general, this card indicates that you are heading out of troubled water and to a safe haven. It could be generally speaking to your life journey in general, or to another question regarding any other personal problems. The upright six of swords indicate that you are transitioning right now, and you’re headed in the right direction. The swords can be a more difficult suit to work with so when this card comes up, it’s a beacon of hope. 

It could also recognize your pain and sadness about a certain situation, offering solace and refuge. The card reminds you that all will eventually work itself out. The key is patience because pushing too quickly could cause that journey to become more difficult for you. This card is showing that your happiness matters, so being able to move out of a toxic state is a very brave thing to do. 

These cards represent the sword suit. Which cards are your favorite? Photo courtesy of Benebell Wen.

Downturned position in love

The downturned position of the six swords regarding a love tarot spread can indicate that this isn’t going to end well. While you know that the right thing to do is leave a toxic situation behind, you remain stagnant because it’s what you know. The unknown can be terrifying to you and so you will choose to suffer because of this. This card becomes a warning: look at your surroundings and relationships. Escaping toxic situations will work in your favor in the end. 

Downturned position in careers

The downturned position in the case of career concerns is telling you that the work could be causing a negative impact on your life, therefore affecting your relationships. There is a lot of stress that is residing in the workplace and it feels as if there is no way out of it. You could be holding onto things that are not good for you or your work environment, causing a disruption between coworkers. 

It could also indicate that you are running away from issues without trying to solve or understand them. These feelings will catch up to you in the end. Take a moment to reflect on why you might feel this way within your work environment. 

Downturned position in your life journey

The six of swords in the downturned position can show that you have an interest in starting anew, but this present is all you know, therefore you become stagnant. You could find yourself seeking safety in negative situations and people, these are what keep you from moving forward into a new phase in your life. 

You can also be avoiding these transformations that are trying to manifest themselves in your life. This causes chaos and instability. There are unresolved issues that grow bigger and bigger because you may be afraid to take the risk and leave the situation.

Creating a space where you can answer yes and no questions can create a difference in reading the six of swords. Photo courtesy of Jen Theodore

The six of swords in a “yes” and “no reading

Many people use tarot when trying to decipher a specific question, use the yes or no tarot card spread. The six of swords is generally a neutral card when asking questions but there are obvious differences when you ask different questions. 

Do they want to be with me?

It is possible that their feelings for you are developing with caution. 

Will I be traveling soon?

It is possible that you may be traveling over a body of water, it could also push toward some sort of retreat beside a body of water. 

Will I return to my ex-partner? 

It may be likely, but there could be significant roadblocks that will cause you to continue looking for another partner.

What does this mean for my relationship with my family?

Your family is getting through a rough period, but things will look different once you leave the bad situation behind. 

Lessons from the sword suit

The suit of swords focuses on the balance between communication and power. The double edge sword represents that harmony that must be intact in order to fully realize questions or concerns. The swords can also be a brutally honest suit, so it can be intense when reading a spread with any sword cards. It reminds us to consult logic before acting upon feelings without thought. It can keep an emotional person grounded, but also a flighty person to ponder on the balance between power and communication. What are your associations with the sword and how do you interpret them in readings? 

Brandee Robles

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