Five of Swords

"Even as I care for myself, I am mindful of the needs of others."

V: Five of Swords

selfishness hostility irrationality self-preservation

A change of ideas or plans becomes unavoidable. Being forced by circumstances to see things from a different angle. Cause here we have defeat, loss, torments, corruption, treachery and a lack of understanding. It is better to accept these limitations and face one's own inner laws, own believes and also the capabilities to deal with poverty and anxiety. The mind has reached the impasse and tries to come out of it by brainstorm.
Inverse: Mental panic, refusal to face the inevitable, fear, complaining, false pride, cowardice.



  • Acting in your own best interest.
  • Choosing to stand up for yourself.
  • Not backing down from disagreement and discord.
  • Taking a stand.
  • Refusing to go along with an unethical plan.
  • Knowing when to bend the rules.
  • Shadow

    • Taking advantage of others.
    • Intimidating others.
    • Acting in an unethical manner.
    • Picking fights.
    • Using words to goad others into violence and irrationality.
    • Ignoring rules you've agreed to abide by.
    • Looking out for yourself while allowing harm to come to others.
    • Gloating over victory.
    • Symbolism

      The Stolen Swords

      Many see the figure in the foreground of RWS-inspired cards as a thief, stealing Swords at the expense of his associates. Just remember: victory achieved through dishonesty robs you of your integrity. Karma is a law; how long before someone steals your Swords?

      The Jolly Victor

      The victorious knight depicted on many versions of this card is gloating over his triumph. How we act when we win tells a lot about our character. What does your recent behavior say about you?

      Unstable Logic

      When the instability of the Five combines with the thoughtfulness of the suit of Swords, logic gives way to irrationality. Rules are shattered, and the whole world turns upside down. What would happen if you broke some rules?

      The Marseilles Image

      Again, a central blade comes to cut down the growth we saw taking root in the Four. The four curved, protective blades remain, but now they are guarding a single decision. How has a protected decision (or sacred cow) influenced your situation today?

      Five of Swords' Advice


      • It's crazy to think that one person in a relationship deserves more pleasure or power than the other.
      • Balance must be restored.
      • You're not thinking clearly now, so back off and rethink your approach.
      • Take care of yourself, but try to do so without hurting those you love most.


      • Occasionally, one person's success will bring about another person's loss.
      • When you're the successful one, don't gloat; be humble.
      • When you suffer the loss, don't despair; pick up the pieces and move on.
      • Don't drive yourself crazy asking "Why?" Breaking a rule may prove to be the key to innovation.


      • Suffering is a fact of life.
      • How does your spiritual path deal with the reality of suffering or the pain of inequality?
      • It's easy to be spiritual when all is well.
      • Insulate yourself from instability by thinking - in advance - of how you'll deal with adversity when it comes your way.

      Personal Growth

      • You can't win every fight.
      • With this truth in mind, think in terms of how you want to win...and how you want to lose.
      • Rather than be driven by emotion, make conscious choices in both situations.
      • Resolve to be noble in both victory and defeat.

      Fortune Telling

      • Someone is stealing from you, financially or romantically.
      • Be wary of friends who talk behind your back.


      • Between January 20th and 29th.

      Questions to ask

      • How do I behave when I win? What does that say about me?
      • How can I do what's necessary without making others feel defeated?
      • What's the difference between selfish action and acting in my own best interest?

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      Major Arcana

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      Parts of this page's description of the Five of Swords tarot card are taken from "A Guide to Tarot Card Meanings" by Mark McElroy.