The swords tarot suit carries the attributes of leaders and warriors. This is because swords represent courage, authority, aggression, boldness, force, strength, desire, and ambition. A sword can be used for either attack or defense. Therefore the meanings of each swords card can represent the subject either attacking or being attacked.
These interpretations are based on the Rider Waite Tarot. And while I almost always work on the positive of the card this is not always easy with the suite of swords. Apart from the Ace, they go downhill rapidly to doom, gloom and finally disaster as the numbers get higher. Not my favorite suit. Each card tells a story, and what matters most it for you to build your own story lines using the explanations as a guide.
The Ace of Swords Tarot Card Meaning:
Symbols - A hand holds a sword aloft. The sword is surmounted by a crown. In some decks it is surrounded by a garland or flanked by flowers.
Meaning - Triumph of a great force. Great determination. Success.
Reverse - Debacle, disaster, self-destruction hindrance.
I usually see the Ace of Swords as an omen to get moving forward with confidence. There is no point in having the tools to do a job if they are not used.
The Two of Swords Tarot Card Meaning:
Symbols - A blindfolded young woman holds two upraised swords. The swords are either crossed or her arms are.
Meaning - Balanced force. Harmony. Positives offsetting negatives. Stalemate. Affection.
Reverse - Duplicity, Falsehood, Misrepresentation, dishonor.
Impartiality and compromise is indicated here. Don't take sides or sit in judgment of the problems of others. Whatever is going on around you - stay out of it!
The Three of Swords Tarot Card Meaning:
Symbols - Three swords piercing a heart, against a background of rain-clouds or a thunderstorm.
Meaning - Disappointment, strife, opposition, separation, delay.
Reverse - Confusion, disorder, incompatibility, loss, alienation.
The two of swords told you to stay out of it. If you didn't this is where you end up! On the positive - there is resolution, whether it is the ending of a relationship or a dream, it is time to start something new. Let go of the past and move forward.
The Four of Swords Tarot Card Meaning:
Symbols - The supine figure of a knight rests or prays on a pallet. Above or behind him are mounted three swords and below him is the fourth sword.
Meaning - Respite. Recuperation, replenishment.
Reverse - Activity with precaution. Guarded advancement. Desire to recover what is lost.
This is a time resting and thinking things over. Allow storm clouds to pass you by and bide your time. Your time will come, (fourth sword).
The Five of Swords Tarot Card Meaning:
Symbols -A soldier holding three swords looks with disdain at two retreating and disarmed adversaries, their swords lie on the ground.
Meaning -Conquest, defeat, loss. Destruction of others.
Reverse -Uncertain outlook. Chance of loss or defeat. Possible misfortune befalling a friend.
You can't expect to win all the time. Sometimes no matter how well you are prepared, things go wrong. This card counsels such an event. All you can do is walk away from the situation.
The Six of Swords Tarot Card Meaning:
Symbols - A ferryman carries six swords to the opposite shore.
Meaning - A trip or journey. Travel, voyage. Overcoming difficulties. Success after anxiety.
Reverse - No immediate solution to present difficulties.
I usually find that the boat in the card is moving away to be significant. The swords represent skills, abilities even belongings. I have often seen this card in relation to career transfers.
The Seven of Swords Tarot Card Meaning:
Symbols - A young man escapes with five swords, while two swords remain impaled in the ground.
Meaning - New plans, hopes expectations. At least partial success.
Reverse - Arguments, quarrels. Counsel, sound advice.
You will find that you can't have it all. However five out of seven isn't bad. You will find success, but not as much as you had hoped.
The Eight of Swords Tarot Card Meaning:
Symbols - A woman who is blindfolded is surrounded by a fence of swords.
Meaning - Crisis, calamity, imprisonment, bad news, inability to extricate oneself from a difficult situation.
Reverse - Treachery in the past. Difficulty, hard work. Unforeseen tragedy.
Immobilized by their own fears. Damned if they do, damned if they don't. Despite themselves, the subject must make an effort.
The Nine of Swords Tarot Card Meaning:
Symbols - A sleepless figure sits bowed in despair, oppressed by nine swords
Meaning - Misery. Concern. Unhappiness. Miscarriage. Anxiety over a loved one. Worry. Despair. Suffering.
Reverse - Doubt, suspicion, uncertainty.
Overwhelmed by too many problems. The subject feels as if they are in a bad dream. The bad dream is of their own making. Putting out negatives draws negative too one, and this is the result. The subject has to find a light out there somewhere.
The Ten of Swords Tarot Card Meaning:
Symbols - A prostrate figure is shown with all ten swords in his back.
Meaning - Ruin, pain, affliction. Sadness, disappointment, grief, sorrow.
Reverse - Benefit, profit. A period of advantage. Improvement.
Stabbed in the back by all. Things can't get worse than this. The situation is over - finished, dead and gone. This is one card I prefer to receive reversed.
The Page of Swords Tarot Card Meaning:
Symbols - A young man with a sword.
Meaning - Watchfulness. A discrete person who has the quality of insight.
Reverse - An impostor is revealed. Illness is also a possibility.
This person will be of some help to you but don't put too much trust in him - he is a lightweight.
The Knight of Swords Tarot Card Meaning:
Symbols - A forceful figure in full armor riding horseback, sword in hand.
Meaning - Bravery, skill, action, energy. An action oriented person. Can indicate travel.
Reverse - Incapacity, indiscretion, impulsive mistakes.
This person could be advantageous in helping you get something off the ground, however, don't get carried away with their exuberance.
The Queen of Swords Tarot Card Meaning:
Symbols - The Queen sits on her throne, a sword in her right hand is upraised. Her expression is serious and preoccupied. The landscape in the background is stormy.
Meaning - This person represents someone who understands sadness of loss. May represent a widow.
Reverse - Narrow-mindedness, a superficial person. Intolerance, pettiness.
This person has 'been there, done that' in life, and can share their experiences to your advantage.
The King of Swords Tarot Card Meaning:
Symbols - The King is cloaked and wears an armored hat. His unsheathed sword is upraised as he sits in judgment.
Meaning - An authoritative person. Experienced in law or government, management.
Reverse - Brilliance coupled with evil intention, cruelty.
A wise person whose counsel is to be taken seriously. Listen well to this person, they know what they are talking about.