The Swords Tarot cards can provide a wealth of insight into our lives. They provide clarity of tough decisions, and can help us shift negative energy or say no to things that are no longer serving us.
There are 10 cards in total, all with their own unique intuitions. All of these Tarot cards can also be read in reverse, providing alternative ways to look into our lives in the present and future.
To help you get the most out of your tarot readings, we’ve compiled all ten cards so that you can learn more about how to move through difficult times and celebrate upcoming successes.
The Ace of Swords
In Tarot, the Ace of Swords is a sign of new ideas and breakthroughs — big “Aha!” situations. It appears when you’re on the brink of a big realization — that “lightbulb” moment when things become clear.
The Ace of Swords can relate to justice or problem-solving, or can indicate an opportunity that brings clarity and makes everything click into place.
The Ace of Swords asks you to set aside your emotions and desires and make decisions from your head, not your heart. It calls on you to focus on the task at hand and to be rational as you sort through the facts and choose your path forward.
Like the hand of Spirit extending the sword to you, the Universe is offering you an idea or something that will allow you to define your truth and bring you to your purpose. If you’ve had a project waiting in the wings, now is the perfect time to move forward — the Ace of Swords is your green light to get moving! The Universe is saying “Yes!”
The Ace of Swords cuts through illusion straight to the truth of the situation or question. It brings clarity, but can also bring conflict. As indicated by the double-edged sword - the truth will set you free, but it may not be what you want (or others want you) to hear.
Trust that this clarity is the new start you need to move forward.
Swords are also about communication and the Ace can be a sign that you’re ready to share that story you’ve been waiting to tell.
Is there some sort of information you’ve been holding back? Are you being called to share your knowledge with others? Now is that moment.
How to Read the Ace of Swords Reversed
When the Ace of Swords appears reversed, it indicates a lack of clarity or focus. This isn’t the time for making decisions that will have a lasting impact.
Take this as a red light to stop what you’re doing because it’s not going to work the way you have it planned out.
The Ace of Swords reversed can also herald delays or setbacks in your plans or it could be that you, yourself are still guarding your new idea and aren’t ready to move forward to the next stage.
The reversed Ace of Swords may be a signal that there is some illusion or misdirected thinking and you need to sort through the relevant information to find what you’ve overlooked. It can also sometimes mean that you’re indulging in conspiracy theories and need to find the real truth of the matter.
The Two of Swords
Stalemate. Difficult choice. Impasse. Avoidance. Closed off. Defensive.
In Tarot, the Two of Swords is the card of standstill. It appears in a reading when you’re having a difficult time figuring out your current situation.
You might be feeling like you’re in the dark and lacking important information to make an informed decision. The Two of Swords can also mean that you’re pulling the wool over your own eyes and just don’t want to accept the truth of what’s going on.
If the latter rings true, don’t hide from making a choice. It’s better to settle it now, or it might fester and become worse.
Often, the Two of Swords indicates that you’re choosing between two equally bad options and there is just no winning right now. You’re in catch-22.
When you’re at odds with another person, the Two of Swords can point to a deadlock where neither side is willing to give up any ground. The whole situation is at an impasse.
But there is no progress without compromise. You need to both come out from behind your barriers to try to work out the conflict.
When the Two of Swords appears, you’ll need logic and reason to reach a decision. You might benefit from isolating yourself in order to gain new perspective.
Sometimes cutting off other people’s voices and distractions (including the endless scroll of social media) can allow you to tune in to your intuition and hear your own voice.
How to Read the Two of Swords Reversed
Settlement. Decision. Arbitration. Regret.
When the Two of Swords shows up reversed, it can be a warning to think twice before you move forward with your decision. You need to reexamine your choice, because it may be leading you down the wrong path — particularly if you let your emotions or other influences come into play, rather than being logical and looking at the issue from all angles.
If you’ve been putting off making any decision at all, the reversed Two of Swords can indicate that you can no longer avoid the problem. I could even that you missed your chance to have any input, and the decision has been made for you.
You might be experiencing regret over a decision you’ve made, and are now second-guessing your choice.
But sometimes, the Two of Swords shows up in the reversed position when it’s time to settle a dispute and move on. That means it’s time to release any grudges, and move forward.
The Three of Swords
Sorrow. Heartbreak. Pain. Strife. Loss. Turmoil.
When the Three of Swords appears in a Tarot reading, it means you’re likely going through a storm of emotions. You’re experiencing intense heartbreak, depression, or despair — and it could likely be because of a betrayal by someone very close to you.
Often, the Three of Swords notes that you’re opting for anger to express and release your pain and heartbreak rather than being quietly sad.
As an air sign, swords cut to the heart of the matter. The Three of Swords shows us that the truth will come out — no matter how much it hurts.
At this point, you can no longer avoid that truth. But in knowing, you can take the first steps to move on from the shock of it all and begin to heal.
The Three of Swords in a reading can indicate severe arguments with loved ones -— the kind that change your relationship and how you feel about one another. It can also indicate that someone is speaking unfairly against you in a very impactful way (slander/libel), or that you’ve been the object of public humiliation.
But in the end, the Three of Swords is a reminder of strength and resilience. This, too, shall pass.
The red heart shows us that this extreme heartbreak you're experiencing is because you have a heart. Things are dark and stormy now, but the storm will pass.
Try to look at the situation as an opportunity for growth and gained wisdom.
How to Read the Three of Swords Reversed
Need for reconciliation. Emotional healing after heartache.
The Three of Swords reversed is still a card of loss and hurt, but to a lesser degree. This card shows that your heartbreak is not permanent and you will begin to heal.
In the reversed position, the Three of Swords may indicate that you have the ability to express your upset and vent about it — or perhaps that your heartbreak is accompanied by arguments and drama.
Either way, this is more positive because at least you are releasing your feelings rather than keeping them bottled up inside.
The Three of Swords can also point out there is a need for reconciliation with the person who has wronged you so you can move forward emotionally.
The Four of Swords
Recovery. Reward. Preparation. Passivity. Contemplation.
The Four of Swords card in a Tarot reading is a card of rest and recuperation.
You’ve just fought through the heartache of the Three of Swords card, and are facing the “battle card” of the Five of Swords card. Now is the time to rest, and prepare for what’s to come.
You need to take a break from the action and try to find peace now — before launching into the next challenge.
When the Four of Swords appears in a Tarot reading, it’s a sign that you should take some quiet time to yourself to meditate on the situation before rushing to a decision.
Taking a step away from the action and listening to your inner voice may help you to gain a better perspective on what’s going on, and what your next steps should be.
The Four of Swords can also indicate that you have been ill or are getting worn down. You need to give your body time to heal and recuperate.
Slow down and conserve your energy.
In some cases, the Four of Swords in Tarot can also indicate that you’re receiving recognition or reward for the hard work you’ve put in.
Just as effigies were created for royals and warriors, you’re now receiving your much-deserved “retirement” after putting in dedicated service.
How to Read the Four of Swords Tarot Card Reversed
Lack of recognition. Exhaustion. Burnout. The rest period is over.
When the Four of Swords appears in a Tarot reading in the reversed position, it’s a dire warning that there is a severe need to take time out to rest.
If you keep pushing, you’ll suffer exhaustion and burnout and could even feel the effects in your health.
Sometimes the reversed Four of Swords points to the need for recuperation, but that you don’t have the ability to do so. There may be circumstances that are preventing you from taking the time to rest and recover.
The Four of Swords reversed can also point to frustration over a lack of action or progress. You want to make headway on a project or difficult situation, but nothing’s happening.
The reversed Four of Swords Tarot card may indicate that you’re not receiving recognition for your work — perhaps unfairly, or perhaps because you haven’t quite earned it yet.
The Five of Swords
Upheaval. Conflict. Loss. Winning at Any Cost. Disagreement. Bullying.
When the Five of Swords Tarot card appears in a Tarot reading, it’s likely you’ve recently experienced a falling out. You could now be feeling sadness and a sense of loss after the conflict.
You may have resorted to unsavory tactics in order to win the argument. Even if you won the battle, you may now be paying a price for the bridges you’ve burned.
The Five of Swords can also be a warning to pick your battles wisely. Just because you can fight this one doesn’t mean you should.
In some cases, the Five of Swords could be an indication that despite your best and boldest efforts, you’ll end up on the losing side.
When the Five of Swords appears, it can point to you feeling resentful of others for having “unfair advantages,” and now you’re trying to “knock them down a peg.”
Just as the man with the swords appears to be gloating over the other men’s misery, are you acting as the bully and trying to make someone else feel bad — just because you do? Or are you perhaps the man in the background, finding yourself on the receiving end?
Ultimately, the Five of Swords Tarot card asks you to weigh the cost of winning. Consider if the actions and decisions you’re making are worth the cost, or if you’re investing time and energy in all the wrong places.
The Five of Swords Tarot Card Reversed
Contrition. Penance. Reconciliation. Past Resentment.
The Five of Swords Tarot card reversed indicates a hopeless argument. No matter how hard you defend your position, there is no making the other person see it your way.
The Five of Swords reversed can also appear when you have a desire for the conflict to be over so you can move on. It could mean you’re ready to call a truce, and make amends.
The reversed Five of Swords Tarot card can sometimes be a message that it is time to accept your defeat — and move on.
The Six of Swords
Transition. Change. Escape. Releasing baggage. Better times ahead.
The Six of Swords tarot card often appears in times of change — moving, traveling, changing jobs, etc. It indicates that now is a good time to make a needed transition. It can signal that you are moving away from troublesome situations toward a period of peace and harmony.
The Six of Swords urges you to rely on your rational mind rather than your emotions to carry you through the current transition. You may be moving through turbulent emotions but are headed for a calm future where you can see things clearly.
Sometimes, the Six of Swords will appear when you need help from others to move through or away from a difficult situation. The change you seek is a team effort — you can’t do this alone.
When the Six of Swords comes up in a tarot card reading it could indicate that you’re transitioning through a rite of passage or mental shift on an internal level. Your daily surroundings may not change, but the way you experience them will.
How to Read the Six of Swords Tarot Card Reversed
Resistance to change. Unfinished business.
The Six of Swords reversed might indicate that you’re running away from something that still needs to be dealt with. You’re forcing a change but haven’t tied up the loose ends yet.
When the Six of Swords appears reversed you may be resisting a needed change in your life. Your current situation is coming to an end but you don’t want to take the necessary steps to put it to rest and move forward.
Perhaps this change has been forced on upon you, but try to focus on the benefits rather than what you’re reluctant to leave behind.
The reversed Six of Swords can also indicate delayed plans.
The Seven of Swords
Deception. Impulsiveness. Strategy. Evasion. Dishonesty. Theft.
The Seven of Swords may indicate someone who rebels against the normal way things are done. There may even be an attention-seeking motive.
The Seven of Swords may appear when someone is disregarding the consequences of their actions and will do anything to get their way. It can also point to someone fleeing from something they have done that they are not proud of - an ulterior motive or deception.
The Seven of Swords can also indicate fibbing or telling “little white lies” - there is not the calculation or malice of the Five of Swords and it seems that the decision to manipulate or cheat the system is likely a spur of the moment decision.
When the Seven of Swords appears in a reading it could be a warning of a false friend — someone who is backstabbing or scheming.
Finally, the Seven of Swords may be counseling you that you need to take clever action to handle a situation and get the outcome you desire.
Things are not always as they appear — the trickster in the image may be acting cleverly with good intentions (taking back his own swords, stopping an oncoming assault or teaching a lesson, perhaps).
How Do You Read the Seven of Swords in Reverse?
Reparation. Unfounded accusations. Paranoia.
When the Seven of Swords appears reversed it can point to unfounded accusations and paranoia. Maybe you believe that someone is getting away with something or is behaving badly, but in fact they are not.
The Seven of Swords reversed also suggests that if you’re thinking of doing something unethical you’re likely to get caught and have to answer for your actions.
It can also indicate that you need to stand your ground against someone else and not be outsmarted. You might need to think like your opponent in order to even the playing field.
The reversed Seven of Swords may indicate that reparations for past harms are coming.
The Eight of Swords
Restriction. Isolation. Disempowerment. Helplessness. Victim mentality.
The Eight of Swords represents perceived limitations, feeling stuck or lost — trapped by circumstances. But this inability to move forward is because of fear-based thinking, not reality.
Perhaps you’re in a job that you dislike but you feel you can’t leave, or your relationship has gone sour but you don’t know how to end it. When the Eight of Swords appears in a reading it is delivering the message that you do have choices, even if you don’t like them.
The Eight of Swords can also indicate the feelings of isolation and vulnerability. You’re experiencing a difficult situation and feel that you have no one to turn to for support.
When the Eight of Swords appears, it can point to victim mentality. You believe you’re lost in the current situation, and everything is working against you, but just like the woman in the image — your binding is loose.
You can get out as soon as you take back your power and figure out how you got there in the first place. Only you can free yourself, so it’s time to shed your limiting beliefs about your situation and strip off the blindfold.
Finally, the Eight of Swords is a red flag that you need to start looking for an exit from a bad situation. If you’ve been waiting for something to change and improve, take this as a sign that it’s not going to and now is the time to get out.
How to Read the Eight of Swords in Reverse
Releasing negative thoughts. Clarity. Freedom.
The Eight of Swords reversed can indicate that you’re finding freedom and are being released from what has been holding you down.
The reversed Eight of Swords shows that the blindfold and bindings are slipping off and you’re now seeing things clearly. You’re now able to learn from your past mistakes and overcome the negative patterns and beliefs that may have contributed to the situation.
The Eight of Swords reversed can also sometimes indicate that you are preventing yourself from moving forward by holding on to your self-limiting beliefs.
You’re unable to shed the inner critic or the beliefs you hold about yourself and your life experiences, so you’re unable to break the cycle you’re in.
The Nine of Swords
Nightmares. Fear. Anxiety. Worry. Isolation.
The Nine of Swords is the card of nightmares — you’re losing sleep over a situation and can’t stop playing the worst-case scenario over and over in your head. You may be feeling alone with your troubles and like there’s no way out.
The Nine of Swords indicates, however, that whatever is causing this stress is all in your head rather than an actual threat from the external world. You may be letting your thoughts control you and drive you into a cycle of negative thought patterns and self-doubt.
When the Nine of Swords appears in a reading it is a wake-up call to examine what you’re worried about and replace it with positive beliefs. It’s time to break the cycle of negative thinking so you don’t bring about the exact situation you’re afraid of.
How to Read the Nine of Swords Reversed
Despair. Secrets. Guilt. Releasing worry.
The Nine of Swords reversed can mean an even deeper sense of despair or guilt, but it also indicates that you’re at the low point of this cycle and those feelings will soon begin to wane.
If you’ve been keeping your worries to yourself it’s time to talk to someone about what’s bothering you — an outside perspective could help you move forward, or at the very least you’ll be able to get it off your chest.
The reversed Nine of Swords can appear when you begin to realize that things are not as bad as you thought. You’re now ready to let go of old pain and haunting thoughts and move forward.
The Nine of Swords reversed being drawn in a reading indicates that your nightmare is coming to an end and you can now see the light at the end of the tunnel and hope for things to improve.
The Ten of Swords
Endings. Wounds. Loss. Betrayal. Crisis.
The Ten of Swords appears when you’re experiencing difficult life challenges. Things have gone all wrong and now it’s truly and completely over.
Perhaps you’re feeling betrayed — you’ve been “stabbed in the back” by someone close to you and that relationship will never recover from the wound that’s been inflicted. Now there’s nothing left to do but accept the loss and move on.
The good news is that this is the low point and if you can surrender to this ending, a new beginning is waiting to open to you. This ending, though difficult to endure may actually be a blessing in disguise, so if you can accept it and move forward a brighter dawn will rise.
When you draw the Ten of Swords it signals that a new phase is beginning and you’ll never have to return to what you’re leaving behind. What’s done is done and you are being released from the anxiety you’ve been carrying from the Nine of Swords.
How to Read the Ten of Swords in Reverse
Recovery. Resisting an inevitable end.
The Ten of Swords reversed is a sign that it’s important to acknowledge the fear and pain you’re experiencing in order to leave it behind. The worst is over and you can now begin to heal emotional wounds.
The reversed Ten of Swords can sometimes indicate a refusal to accept that something is over and that you’re not ready to face up to what’s happening.
In that case, it urges you to re-evaluate where you are and let go of anything that’s no longer serving you. Don’t dwell on the past, instead release it so you can look to the future for new opportunities.
The Ten of Swords can also show that you’re experiencing a release from the pain and sadness you’ve been enduring. When the card is turned upside down, the swords fall out of the man’s back and recovery begins.
How to Read the Page of Swords
Ambitious. Enthusiastic. Communication. Intelligence.
As a person the Page of Swords is intellectual and ambitious. The are very good at observing and cutting through the unnecessary complications of a situation. They are often a young person or student and therefore tend to lack experience. They can be quick to judge others and situations.
The Page of Swords, as a message, can denote sharp or unpleasant news or a sudden and unexpected change. It can also herald news regarding ambitions or other useful information. It can also materialize as a contract or agreement.
As a situation or influence, the Page of Swords is an original thinker and go-getter. It speaks to an interest in new technology and new ways of thinking and being the first to try something.
The Page of Swords can also indicate arguing a point, preaching, or taking the moral high ground.
How to Read the Page of Sword Reversed
Ignorant. Immature. Conniving. Untrustworthy.
The Page of Swords reversed indicates letting other people’s opinions or judgements affect self-perception. It is best to avoid gossip and don’t worry what others think.
The reversed Page of Swords can also point to the youthful qualities of self- righteousness, impatience and irrationality.
The Page of Swords can be a poor communicator, leading to unreliable information or perhaps even manipulative, deliberately stirring the pot to make trouble.
How to Read the Knight of Swords
Ambitious. Quick to take action. Driven to success. Fast-thinker.
The Knight of Swords is an unstoppable force. He is courageous and thrives in high-energy situations, jumping to make the first move. He is not fearless, but rather feels the fear and does it anyway. He is on a mission - once mind is made up there’s no stopping him.
When the Knight of Swords appears in a reading, now is the time to speak your truth. This Knight rarely backs down from a challenge or fight and right now, neither should you. Now is the time to channel your ambitions and refuse to allow anything stop you from pursuing your dreams.
The Knight of Swords is quick to take action, therefore there’s not always a lot of planning ahead. Be careful that you're not rushing in without knowing the situation or cutting corners to get things finished otherwise you might have quite a mess to clean up later. This “act first, ask questions later” attitude may also start you down a road full steam ahead just to decide later it wasn’t the path you wanted in the first place.
The Knight of Swords is good with communication - he can form solid arguments and is very clear on his opinions. He enjoys sharing his ideas with people who are of the same mindset and who can help motivate him to get moving.
How to Read the Knight of Swords Reversed
Unfocused. Restless. Impulsive.
The reversed Knight of Swords can be restless, frustrated and impatient. He is brimming full of energy but can’t find an outlet to channel all that energy. Perhaps the timing is wrong or the resources aren’t there.
When the Knight of Swords is reversed you may be making impulsive decisions with no direction or planning. Perhaps your thoughts are scattered or you keep changing your mind. Either way, it’s time to slow down and think things through. If you continue to charge ahead you’re going to burn out, and then nothing will make any progress.
The reversed Knight of Swords can also indicate bluntness or rudeness in communication.
How to Read the Queen of Swords
Independent. Clear boundaries. Unbiased judgement. Direct communication.
The Queen of Swords is confident and clearheaded. She is just, fair and decisive and uses her head to make decisions rather than allowing her heart to get in the way. She is upfront and honest in her dealings and uses her authority to rule in a balanced way - with the strength of her sword on one hand and compassion and understanding on the other.
The Queen of Swords is a truth-seeker. She wants to know all the facts but doesn’t need the flourish. She’s interested in knowing exactly what she needs to make a decision about a situation but won’t spend much time on chit-chat or extraneous details. She has a very strong intellect and sense of her own ideas, but she’s still open to hearing other points of view before making a decision.
The Queen of Swords has very strong, clear boundaries. She knows what she wants and will tolerate and isn’t shy about communicating those expectations.
How to Read the Queen of Swords Reversed
Overly-emotional. Bitchy. Cold-hearted. Influenced easily.
When the reversed Queen of Swords appears in a reading it could be an indication that you’re letting your heart lead rather than your head. You may be emotionally involved in the outcome and are not seeing the facts of the situation.
The reversed Queen of Swords can also indicate that you’re allowing others to influence your decisions. You may be feeling a lack of confidence or are uncertain about your own mind so you’re letting others lead you.
The Queen of Swords reversed can be cold-hearted and bitchy. She is sometimes lacking compassion for others and can come across as narrow-minded and mean.
How to Read the King of Swords
Authority. Truth. Mental clarity. Intellectual power.
The King of Swords is a capable leader who uses his mind to create solutions. He maintains an objective point of view, being able to see the truth and make impartial decisions. His assessments are balanced and fair.
The King of Swords has strong conviction and highly values the truth. He commands authority and respect.
The King of Swords is able to easily keep his emotions in check when gathering information about a situation or deciding on a course of action. He is also a clear communicator, getting straight to the point.
When the King of Swords appears in a reading it indicates that you could benefit from the advice of an expert - someone who has a vast amount of knowledge in their field and who can approach your situation objectively.
How to Read the King of Swords Reversed
Inner truth. Misuse of power. Manipulation.
The King of Swords reversed indicates inner truth and a firm belief in self. He is unshakable and follows his course no matter what arrises.
The King of Swords reversed is very smart and likes to show off. He can also be quite critical of others and feels he can do it better.
Sometimes the reversed King of Swords can appear when there is a misuse of power in a situation. Perhaps the power you have has gone to your head or you’re manipulating others to fulfill your own needs.
The reversed King of Swords can also point to scattered thoughts or uncertainty about your options. You may be unable to make decisions about what to do next.
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