Should You Accept Defeat? The Five of Swords is Giving You An Important Lesson

The five of swords is never a fun card to get during a tarot card reading, but what specifically does it mean and how does it affect you or your client's reading?

Photo courtesy of Edz Norton

We have had our fair share of the feeling of defeat, after all this is such a universal experience among humans, there is endless art, music, and literature about it. Conflict may be really hard to deal with and talk about, but try as we may, we can’t ignore it and the impact it has on us as human beings. Think back to a time when you felt so defeated that you felt you couldn’t come back to a normal state of self. Experiencing defeat can feel eternal but remembering this is a part of life and that many people go through similar experiences can help you feel less lonely about it. Whenever a five of swords makes itself known, it’s giving you a small nudge to come to terms with the feeling of defeat. 

We will be discussing the five of swords and the plethora of messages associated with that card. Tarot is always interesting because of the multitude of layers when creating and reading tarot card spreads. A card like this can add depth and understanding to a reading and it may not be as hopeless as it seems. 

The numerology of the number five

Numbers are important to take into consideration when reading cards in general. There is no way to ignore the significance of the number and as a matter of fact, it can give the card so much more meaning. So what exactly does the number five have to do with anything and why is it important? Let’s compare the tarot deck to a pack of playing cards, there are suits and numbers that are associated with playing cards and tarot cards. The pip cards can mirror the suit cards in a playing deck and the major arcana can mirror the court cards in a playing deck. 

The number five has been historically ruled by the planet Mercury, which is the planet of communication. In astrology, this planet is important because it can really show how and why you communicate the way that you do. Everyone has different forms of communication and it can really open up avenues to explore your communicative styles. The number five is also associated with the sign Leo, so you can imagine that this number holds strong energy because of the Leo placement. There is a sense of responsibility here with the number five that always falls back on the self. The fives never rely on anyone else.

The suit of swords

This suit is associated with action and change. It also deals with a level of consciousness that is far from earthly ties. It’s more of a mental consciousness that it deals with. This suit can also be associated with the element of air. Air elements mirror communication and thought systems, so this suit also concerns itself with those things. These things are never tangible and can be hard to wrap your head around, but it’s important that we have this suit within the deck to encompass the entirety of the human experience. 

Swords can signify a want in answers to mental complications during a reading. The truth can hurt, and the swords never hold back. Swords usually have a negative connotation to many tarot users but it’s totally necessary to understand what’s going on and how you can work on these issues. 

The historical attributes

The suit of swords follows the Rider-Waite Smith system which traces far back in time. The historical connotations for this suit stem from the first uses of the tarot card system. This card is traditionally coined “The Lord of Defeat.” What’s interesting about these historical names of cards is that the title is much more direct. There is a sign coming from the universe that it’s time to retreat and understand that you have been defeated by whatever problem or issue is going on. The astrological connotation of this card is Aquarius in Mercury and its alchemical property is a fixed air sign. This card is specific to the dates of January 21-30. It’s associated with the major arcana card The Star as well as the Fool and the page of Swords. The optimal season for this card is winter.

There are many ways to interpret cards in a tarot reading, but really understanding the multiple layers associated with the card can optimize your reading. Photo courtesy of Kayla Maurais

Five of swords keywords

  • Arguments and disputes 
  • Aggression
  • Bullying
  • Conflict
  • Resolution
  • Reconciliation 
  • Cutting losses 

The five of swords in a tarot card reading 

There will be a few ways we will be exploring the meaning of the five of swords and it’ll be in the form of discovering what it can mean in different situations. Remember that there are so many layers of meaning associated with these cards, these are just guides you can use as a base. The spreads we will be going over are:

  • Love spreads
  • Career or finance spreads
  • Life journey spreads

These will be discussed in the upright and reversed positions. 

Upright in love spreads

When this card is in the upright position, it won’t be a pleasant card to deal with. We can look at this card in two specific ways: committed relationships and being on the lookout for potential relationships. The latter definitely means that there is an obstacle holding you back from finding someone you will truly be happy with. Perhaps you’re having a fling and you find yourself catching feelings, but you know that this person does not want to be exclusive. It’s only hurting you to stay, you need to accept the situation and move on. This is causing a lot of pain for you. 

In relationships, it can signify arguments and issues that have bubbled up for a long time. This is truly a testing period during your relationship and it’s going to be hard to accept what’s been going on. Are you or your partner having a hard time compromising? You both know why but accepting defeat can be difficult. This is a sign to really look at your relationship in a different light. 

Upright in career and finances

There are conflicts in your workplace right now that may or may not involve you. Whether or not it does, it’s affecting you and your performance at work. This is a cesspool for misunderstandings and this can lead to arguments and perhaps the loss of a job. There is a lack of communication and poor leadership in this environment and it’s bringing the entire team down. Perhaps it’s time to accept defeat and look at new ways to solve problems. This can be difficult in an established workplace. 

Finances may be in trouble with this card. Are you ignoring the massive amount of spending you’ve been doing and now you’re stuck with debt up to your ears? It’s time to understand that this isn’t the way you take care of your hard-earned money. If you’re having trouble keeping your finances afloat, it’s time to think about new strategies that may help. This can be difficult because you must look at the faults in yourself and how you got here in the first place. 

Upright in life journey

You have officially become one of the most negative people to be around. It’s not fun when all you do is think about all the defeats you’ve gone through. It’s all you can think and talk about but there is no urgency in trying to fix what’s been going on. Perhaps there are many disagreements going on in your life and it’s affecting you in a way you never thought they would. You’ve been on the road to isolating yourself and ignoring your issues, blaming others, and trying to avoid the consequences of your actions. 

This can serve as an important reminder that if you continue these actions, your life won’t get any better. Wishing things away won’t work, only proactiveness in trying to learn from your defeats. 

There are many tarot spreads when working with tarot cards. These spreads can often change the meaning of the card, and the more obscure your tarot spread gets the more specific your card's meaning gets. Photo courtesy of Edz Norton

Reverse in love spread

Reverse cards are always scary to many people, but in this situation, it can be a really good thing! Reverse cards are often the opposite of upright cards. Resolution and reconciliations are coming your way with this card. You’ve gone through a lot of tests and you’ll come out on top this time. When you’re single you’ve reached an understanding within yourself and why certain relationships haven’t worked out in your favor. It’s likely that you have just realized what’s been happening, so there’s still a long way to go but you’ve made it. You’ve really dug deep and understood what your inner self needed in order to be able to finally be in a healthy relationship. 

Your relationship has made it through the test of arguments and other unfortunate events. You and your partner stand hand in hand and it’s not without a few scrapes on the way that you made it through. Working with your partner can be hard work, and it’s something you don’t think about in the honeymoon stage. There is a lot to be said when this card is reversed, and you should be proud of yourself and your partner. Your relationship perhaps will become stronger than ever. 

Reverse in career and finances

Your work environment has finally calmed down and all your coworkers have come to a mutual understanding. There is no more stress between you and others and it’s become a pleasant place to work in. Perhaps you left a job you really loved but left you emotionally drained, and guess what, a better opportunity has come rolling around. Your finances are recovering from a time period where it was hard to really have stability. There is still a lot to work on, but you’ve gotten this far and you should be proud of yourself.

Reverse in life journey

When you get this card in reverse you should be super proud of yourself. There is a lot that you have overcome and it took you realizing the mistakes you made and accepting the defeat. There may still be lingering issues, but you have chosen to accept and move on. There is still so much for you to explore and work on every single day. It’s a little nudge and a high five for all the hard work you’ve been doing. 

Bottom line

This card may be scary or a blessing in disguise but it’s nonetheless an important aspect of life. What have the five of swords impacted in your life? Let us know and happy reading! 

Brandee Robles

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