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Minor Arcana: Reading the Swords Tarot Suit

Updated on December 13, 2017
  • Ace of Swords

This card is key to pinpointing the skill of making decisions as a bigger level, without letting confusion happen. If this card is in a spread, it could mean for the skill of not letting deception get past the recipient, and having the ability to keep a firm stance on a point of view or even an important choice.

Upright: Victory, raw power, mental clarity, break-throughs
Reversed: Chaos, confusion, lack of clarity

  • Two of Swords

Unlike the Ace of Swords, this Two of Swords is all about having doubt over decisions and giving into fear. If other cards are favorable in the spread, the card can sense mindedness and lack of prejudice.

Upright: Choices, indecision, stalemate, truce, blocked emotions
Reversed: Confusion, indecision, informational overload

  • Three of Swords

If this card is in a spread, the receiver of the reading could be overly critical of themselves and other situations. The Three of Swords clearly symbolizes the three things that are always under attack from over criticism: the heart, emotions and intellect.

Upright: Sorrow, painful separation, heartbreak, rejection, grief
Reversed: Optimism, the release of pain, forgiveness

  • Four of Swords

Surrender, avoidance and pacifism all surround the Four of Swords. With this card, the recipient of the reading may have an issue with always setting their issues to the side, either in a peaceful way or a way to evade. This card symbolizes the rest after a difficult challenge, especially when you need it, so that you can figure out things and recover before finally going back to the challenge that has been bothering you and causing you issues. When this card is laid in a spread upright, it stands for rest, relaxation, and contemplation, however, if the card is reversed, it can signify for lack of any progress in a certain struggling matter that you may be facing. No matter what, there is always going to be a specified time for relaxation and analyzing during a pressing issue, which is what the Four of Swords goes to represent in a spread. The battle, however, is not over, and it’s easy to forget that, which is why you should always remember that there is more to go on to.

Upright: Recuperation, contemplation, relaxation, passivity, rest
Reversed: Burn-out, restlessness, lack of progress

  • Five of Swords

The five of swords is the traitor’s card. Victory is won by betrayal in a situation. There will be emptiness after this situation, especially since others will be avoided because hostility. Negative ambition is what the Five of Swords stands for, since having far too much ambition for a certain situation without thinking about the consequences can be an easy downfall, and will be a loss for not only yourself but other people as well. Though, this card could also mean for someone near you to become an enemy and attack you without you realizing what was going on through betrayal, or even just a secret attack. Pick your battles is good advice to take when having the Five of Swords in your spread, because you will be able to finally live more at peace with yourself.

Upright: Tension, conflict, loss, wanting to win at all costs, defeat, betrayal
Reversed: Past resentment, being open to change

  • Six of Swords

This card is not one that readers can always agree on the configuration of, however, represents a dangerous journey and responsibility, especially for others on the journey as well. This card could be meant for getting out of a bad situation, however on the other hand, it could also mean going directly into an awful situation.

Upright: A rite of passage, a regretful but also necessary transition
Reversed: Carrying baggage, the inability to move on

  • Seven of Swords

The Thief card, also known as the Seven of Swords, is the card representing secret affairs and activities. However, usually, it is read as being caught instead of getting away. Conversely, if the reading is in the recipient’s favor, it can mean to be moving ahead as long as there are sacrifices being made.

Upright: Deception, betrayal, stealth, getting away with something
Reversed: Breaking free, mental challenges

  • Eight of Swords

Feeling trapped, cornered and even oppressed is something the Prisoner, also known as the Eight of Swords, may feel. If this shows up in your spread, the recipient of the reading may be unable to go against change.

Upright: Self-imposed restriction, isolation, imprisonment
Reversed: Release, being open to new perspectives

  • Nine of Swords

Readers usually do not read this card as a bad or good card, however, a simply neutral card. Though, the card is usually dreaded to be in the spread, since the nine of swords is the ‘Nightmare’ or ‘Terror’ card. Usually, if the card is compound with any healing cards, it can mean good things.

Upright: Nightmares, depression, intense anxiety
Reversed: Severe depression, hopelessness, torment

  • Ten of Swords

Nine’s nightmare ends with the Corpse card of the Ten of Swords. The result isn’t usually the most ideal situation, however, it means that the situation is finally over and that truth has been shed. Another meaning for this card could be the end of a cycle that just keeps going, or even divorce.

Upright: Defeat, being stabbed in the back, betrayal, crisis, loss, endings
Reversed: Regeneration, recovery, an inevitable end, fear of ruin

  • Page of Swords

The ability to keep secrets and conceal true identities and motives is the Page of Swords’ true concept. If this shows up in a spread, there could be a talent for being able to be level headed even in dangerous situations and being able to keep secrets safe.

Upright: Curious, talkative, energetic, restless mentally
Reversed: Haste, being all talk without any action, undelivered promises

  • Knight of Swords

The Knight of Swords is one that acts before they think through the situation, however, this could also mean a positive way of thinking with initiative. The user may be impatient, or they could be courageous.

Upright: Hasty, opinionated, communicative, action-oriented
Reversed: A disregard for consequences, scattered thoughts

  • Queen of Swords

Since the Queen of Swords is a widow she can stand for depression, cruelty and even isolation from everything, though, at its best, the card represents independence and power. If this card is in the spread, the receiver usually knows how to fix a problem and find the solution to the problem without any issues.

Upright: Organized, quick thinker, independent, perceptive
Reversed: Moody, overly emotional, cold-hearted

  • King of Swords

The King of Swords is one that represents tyranny and insight. This card can also mean for discipline and insight on a certain situation. With this card laid out upright in a spread, the King of Swords can represent intellectual thinking and even truth, however, reversed, it can mean that there is abuse and manipulation in your life. It’s suggested by the King of Swords to have a fair role in your life, though be warned to keep a stern foot down. You should be able to lead with a clear logical sense of mind, thus allowing you to be able to navigate your way through situations you might encounter in your journey. Being impartial is something the King also can be, which is good for a ruler, because being insightful and just to both sides is something that will be needed in the path ahead of you. Having the King of Swords in a spread may suggest that you need to look for financial counseling, or legal advice from a professional or expert.

Upright: Intellectual, clear thinking, authority, power, truth
Reversed: Tyrannical, manipulative, abusive


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