The Tarot Suit of Swords

The suit of Swords indicates conflict and tough decisions. Image © Patti Wigington 2009

In the Tarot, the suit of Swords is associated with matters of conflict, both physical and moral. It's also connected to the element of air, and subsequently, the direction of East. This suit is where you'll find cards that relate to conflict and discord, moral choices and ethical quandaries. As with the Major Arcana, the Sword suit does include meanings if the cards are reversed; however, bear in mind that not all Tarot card readers use reversals in their interpretations.

Keep in mind that this is just a quick-reference summary of the Sword cards and their meanings. For more detailed explanations and images, click on the link for each card.

  • Ace or One: Well-deserved success -- if you've attained victory, you've earned it.
    Reversed: Sit back and let things calm down a little, or you'll push someone over the edge.
  • Two: Damaging situations are causing you to put up an emotional wall. These defenses guard against further pain.
    Reversed: You may be too overprotective, both of yourself and of those you love. Try to be more open minded.
  • Three: Heartache and pain, sometimes related to a love triangle of some sort.
    Reversed: Disagreements and petty jealousies can be resolved, if you open up the lines of communication.
  • Four: You're going to burn out if you don't take some time to rejuvenate.
    Reversed: Fatigue or illness may have been plaguing you, but now that you've recovered, it's time to move ahead.
  • Five: You've made your point, and everyone knows your opinion. Now it's time to mend the feelings that you've hurt along the way. May also indicate a betrayal.
    Reversed: Don't push the issue. Once you've won the argument, don't gloat about it.
  • Six: Life is on the upswing and you are learning how to better deal with conflict and turmoil.
    Reversed: Your situation may be improving, but not as quickly or efficiently as you'd like it to.
  • Seven: Someone is being less than truthful -- there is deception in your life.
    Reversed: While you may feel left out of the loop, understand that there's no maliciousness intended.
  • Eight: Fears of failure restrict your ability to get things accomplished the way you'd like to.
    Reversed: You're learning to deal with your frustrations, so now you can move on to the next step.
  • Nine: Depression, misery and sadness can be overwhelming. Find someone willing to listen to you - it's easier to carry a burden if you don't have to do it alone.
    Reversed: Anxiety and fear can be debilitating. This card indicates there may be a need for professional mental health intervention.
  • Ten: Grief and heartache, possibly death of someone or something that has meaning to you.
    Reversed: Someone may intentionally be trying to cause you harm or pain.
  • Page: Enthusiasm and excitement will allow you to tackle new beginnings. This card also is a messenger card - take a closer look at the things around you.
    Reversed: Someone is behaving erratically and impulsively.
  • Knight: Someone with determination, loyalty, and conviction. Also indicates that you need to pay attention to the truth - even if you don't like what you see.
    Reversed: Sometimes our zeal leads us to hurt the feelings of others. If this is you, make amends.
  • Queen: A stubborn but deeply loyal woman, who may be seen as a bit aloof.
    Reversed: A woman who is judgmental and narrow-minded.
  • King: Indicates a man in a position of authority, also represents truth and fairness. May indicate someone in the military, or who wears a badge.
    Reversed: Overly structured in routines. Someone who may be very harsh and over-judging of others, because of his own intolerance and narrow-mindedness.