Five of Swords Tarot Card Meanings

Five of Swords tarot card image
Meaning Indicator


Five of Swords’ Upright & Reversed Meanings

Five of Swords (Reversed, Lacking)

Ideas: Mercy, reconciliation, self-preservation

Traits: Agreeable, conciliatory, cooperative, courteous, disciplined, fair, forgiving

Emotions: Caring, compassion, gladness, hope, relief, tenderness

  • Actions:
    • Creating a situation that benefits all parties
    • Ending a power struggle
    • Letting go of resentment
    • Owning your mistakes
    • Preventing bullying
    • Settling arguments and disagreements
Five of Swords (Upright, Balanced)

Ideas: Gossip, manipulation, win–lose situation

Traits: Amoral, argumentative, competitive, one-sided, petty, prejudiced, selfish, wise

Emotions: Disappointment, eagerness, enthusiasm, frustration, sadness

  • Actions:
    • Acting in your own best interest
    • Backing down from unfair practices
    • Choosing your battles in a wise manner
    • Getting your own way
    • Knowing when to bend the rules
    • Refusing to go along with an unethical plan
    • Walking away from toxic situation
Five of Swords (Upright, Excessive)

Ideas: Antagonism, bully, implacability

Traits: Arrogant, cowardly, dirty, egocentric, greedy, power-hungry, sadistic, submissive, timid

Emotions: Defeat, embarrassment, envy, hostility, humiliation, jealousy, pride, shame

  • Actions:
    • Acting in an unethical manner
    • Gloating over victory
    • Ignoring rules you’ve agreed to abide by
    • Intimidating others
    • Looking out for yourself while allowing harm to come to others
    • Preventing others from speaking up
    • Taking advantage of others
    • Using words to goad others into violence and irrationality

Five of Swords’ Advice

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.


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.

Five of Swords’ Symbols & Insights

The Stolen Swords

Many see the figure in the foreground of Rider–Waite–Smith-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?

More About Five of Swords Tarot Card

Someone is stealing from you, financially or romantically.
Be wary of friends who talk behind your back.
Between January 20 and January 29
“Even as I care for myself, I am mindful of the needs of others.”
Numerology Number
(the catalyst: instability, resistance, confrontation, evolution)
Astrology Element
Astrology Planet in Sign
Venus in Aquarius
Others are shocked or angered by the main character’s apparently irrational actions. Alternatively, the main character must take an action that will cause pain for his or her loved ones.
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?
Related Pages
Tarot Card Meanings Guide
Exploring Today’s Tarot
Consulting the Tarot
Traditional Tarot Card Meanings
Thirteen Fun Things to Do with Tarot Cards
Where to Go to Learn More
More Tarot Card Meaningss