Upright: Regretful but necessary transition, rite of passage
Reversed: Cannot move on, carrying baggage

The Six of Swords depicts a woman and a young child being rowed across a body of water towards a land that lies not far ahead. The woman’s head is covered, indicating sadness or loss as she moves away from something in her past. The water to the right of the boat is turbulent but the water to the left and near the land to which they are journeying is calm and steady. Although there is an indication of change or loss in the Six of Swords, and therefore a sense of moving away from something, there is also a sense of moving towards a more promising future. The calm waters in the distance suggest that the woman and child are now moving away from turmoil and conflict toward peace and tranquillity, even though they are both sad to leave behind their pasts. In the boat are six upright swords, symbolising the power of a rational mind over the heart and the intuition

The Six of Swords shows that you will need to make a regretful transition, as a likely result of the decisions you make. You know that in order to move forward, you must leave something important behind, and while you do this with some regret, you know that in the long-term it is the best option for you. There are times when you will be forced to let go of something to which you have been attached, and the process of letting go is often quite challenging. However, the sadness of your loss will soon be replaced by greater clarity, bringing about a renewed acceptance of change. Do not be afraid to let go of whatever it is that is holding you in the present or the past. Instead look to your future and choose the best option that has the greatest long-term potential. There are going to be some hard decisions and some compromises that you will need to make but this is ultimately a ‘rite of passage’ that will take you into a new phase of your life.
You need to realise that you are now headed towards a much better position in life. You have endured, or are currently enduring, a difficult life transition but as a result, you will be more able to deal with what may come. Do not dwell on the past or what you have left behind. Instead, use this as an opportunity for changing your beliefs about yourself, moving away from whom you used to be and towards whom you really want to be.
Sometimes the only way to solve life’s problems is to leave them behind you and go somewhere new to start over. While it may feel as though you are giving up or being a coward, escape is often the only approach left when all others have failed. The important thing now is that you chart a new course that will lead to greater happiness and joy. The Six of Swords also shows the need to draw upon a state of mental clarity, logic and objectivity in order to examine where you have been and where you are going. This mental clarity will also serve to smooth the way ahead, and make the passage from negative to positive as peaceful as possible. You can use your intuition to guide you through easy situations and call upon your impartial and analytical nature when it is needed for a more complex decision.
The Six of Swords can also indicate a state of depression or ‘the blues’. You are doing your best to just get through each day as it comes, not particularly enjoying what it has to offer but not really giving up either. You may feel listless, lacking energy and motivation, and somewhat depressed. You are getting by but only just.
More literally, the Six of Swords can indicate a trip across water (for example, via a ferry, boat, or plane overseas). There may be some sadness in terms of who you will need to leave behind you but you know that this trip will do you a world of good! An example might be someone who is about to travel on their own, leaving behind a partner who they will sorely miss. You may also be required to make a longer-term move from one location to another, where you will leave behind friends and family in order to explore or experience a new territory. Again, while you will miss those you leave behind, you will also find that you have an amazing time on your travels and will learn so much about yourself.

The Six of Swords reversed indicates that you are trying your best to move on from the past and make the important transition that you know you need to make. You are trying to physically and mentally move from any past experiences which you know that have not been helping you. However, given this card is reversed, it is clear that you are experiencing some challenges in doing this and no matter how hard you try to leave the past behind you, it keeps catching up with you. It is like there is something pulling you back to where you have come from, rather than allowing you to move on to new territories. What is hard is that there are a lot of unresolved issues from the past, which you had hoped you could just leave behind you but they keep rearing their ugly head and preventing you from getting to that new place of being that you really want to be. There may also be moments when you doubt whether you are making the right decision in leaving behind your past but this card gently encourages you forward, reminding you that you are heading towards a better future.
Similarly, the reversal of this card may suggest that you are resisting this necessary transition. Perhaps you feel that it has been forced upon you or that you were not included in the decision to move. For example, your partner may be required to relocate for work and you must go along with him/her. What is important is that you look at the benefits of the transition rather than focusing on the drawbacks so that even if this transition is out of your control, you can at least look forward to something and get some sort of personal value out of it.
In a relationship reading where the relationship is relatively new, the reversed Six of Swords may indicate that you have not moved on from a past relationship and are carrying a lot of ‘baggage’ with you. You need to work hard at leaving this behind you otherwise it will continue to plague your current and future relationships.