Upright: Conflict, tension, loss, defeat, win at all costs, betrayal
Reversed: Open to change, past resentment

In the Five of Swords, a young man, with a look of contempt on his face, stares at his conquered enemies. He possesses five swords, most of which he has taken from the other people in the card. The other two figures walk away from him slowly, with a sense of sadness and loss. The sky is cloudy and tumultuous, indicating that not all is well despite the battle being seemingly over.

The Five of Swords sees you engaging in conflict or finding yourself disagreeing with others, leading to tension and hostility. Despite thinking you have won, you may still end up the loser because you have hurt or annoyed others and have subsequently isolated yourself. You try to pick up the pieces and act as if the conflict is now in the past but others have now lost faith in you and do not want to be around you. This might be one of those times when it feels like everyone is against you and you may lose some friends along the way. You will need to make a decision about whether your point of view is so important to you that it is ok to put your relationship with others in jeopardy, or whether you can compromise and try to see eye-to-eye with others.
The Five of Swords can also represent conquest. If you have been aggressive in your struggles, then you will soon accomplish your objectives. However, if you have been passive, you may need to compromise on your personal interests, giving in to the wishes of the opposing force. You will feel that there are more obstacles ahead, and you will not want to face the ordeal you know you must if you are to have what you want or the way you want it. Overall, you are in for a struggle and there is more work or problems ahead than you are aware of now. Things will not go as well as they should, and you will have conflicts or clashes of will with others.
Thus, the Five of Swords is a card representing ambition but in the negative sense. Too much ambition without regard to the consequences to yourself or others results ultimately in a situation of loss for everyone. You may be represented either by the callous winner or the dejected losers. In any case, there is a negative connotation. If your focus is solely on winning your goals at any cost, you will eventually discover to your own dismay that the price of winning may not have been worth the reward. Arrogance and pride often go hand-in-hand with a difficult triumph such as this, and you must be careful not to think you are invincible. You have overcome a challenge, and you have the right to feel proud but know that there will be other rivals to face and that some of them will eventually defeat you. Boasting to others that you are invincible is an invitation for someone to prove you wrong. If your victory was won through cheating or unethical conduct, beware of an attempt at vengeance.
The Five of Swords can relate to a betrayal or sneak attack by someone you trust and do not suspect as your enemy. There may be an unfaithful partner or a jealous person in your life who is sabotaging you behind your back. Look to other Court cards in the reading to understand who may be working against you. You must be very careful whom you trust at this point in time because you are vulnerable to attack and gossip.
The Five of Swords may simply point to defeat. It shows that, despite your best efforts, you are likely to be beaten. If you allow yourself to become disillusioned after such a loss, then you are on the path to increased ruin and torment. Accept your defeat, learn from it, and then make sure that next time you succeed. Be smarter and wiser as a result of your loss. Just as they say in the reality TV show Survivor, “Outwit, Outplay, and Outlast.”
Alternatively, the Five of Swords can be seen from quite a different angle – that of a hollow victory. It is possible that the two ‘defeated’ men in this card were really not defeated at all; they simply laid down their arms and walked away. The men either knew that they would lose, or they knew that trying to win would be a waste of energy and a pointless exercise. By choosing not to fight, they are really the winners here, because he who knows when to fight, and when not to fight, will be victorious.
The advice of the Five of Swords is to pick your battles. You may be tempted to fight every conflict to ensure you get your way, to prove that you are right, or to defend yourself when you are feeling challenged or threatened by another person. However, most experts agree, choosing your battles wisely is a much better way of life than battling out every disagreement. Not only will picking your battles lead to a more peaceful existence, it is also more likely to strengthen your interpersonal relationships.

As a card of conflict, tension and disagreement, the reversal of the Five of Swords shows that you really just want this period of fighting to be over, so that you can forgive and forget, and then focus your energies on more constructive activities such as restoring your relationship back to normal. The conflict is becoming upsetting now and you realise that there can only be losers in this battle. You now just want to put this behind you and move on.
Thus, the Five of Swords reversed suggests that you are now more open to change. The arguing is over and you are more willing to look at the situation with fresh eyes. You are willing to lay down your sword and begin negotiating, honestly trying to arrive at a win-win solution rather than always knocking heads. A return to the Four of Swords is required, where tranquillity and peace drive your thoughts and behaviour, moving away from tension and conflict. This is a good time to reach out to those with whom you have recently had conflict or disagreements, and make amends.
The Five of Swords reversed can sometimes indicate conflict in your life that you have tried to walk away from but which continues to follow you. For example, there may still be an ex in your life who is making things difficult and who may be preventing you from moving on to new relationships. So long as there is conflict, tension and raw emotion at play, avoid this person or situation.
Similarly, the reversed Five of Swords can suggest that an old wound has been re-opened and you are experiencing fear and tension associated with that memory. You may be particularly worried that history might repeat itself or that you could be hurt again. Aim to forgive and forget so that you can indeed move on.
There may also be some residual resentment following a recent or past argument with someone close to you. You have had some very challenging and heated conversations together and you still harbour some negative emotion from these discussions. This may still be unresolved and unaddressed and this in itself is impacting your ability to create a harmonious relationship.
The reversed Five of Swords serves as a reminder that, at times, it may be appropriate to disregard the opinions of others. Sometimes you just cannot please everyone and unfortunately there may be some friendships lost along the way. Sadly, not everyone is going to be as accommodating of your desire to pursue your own goals, particularly if it impacts on them and their ability to live their life the way they want to. What you will have to accept is that you cannot please everyone and there are going to be people who are annoyed that you cannot be there for them as much as in the past. They will just need to deal with this and get over it, I’m afraid.



Five of Swords Tarot Card Key Meanings:
Defeat, surrender, change, walking away, self-sacrifice, self-sabotaging behaviour, underhanded behaviour, deception, lack of communication, aggression, bullying, intimidation, abuse, violence, crime, rape, murder, assault, standing up for yourself, victory, fighting back, overcoming challenges, serious conflict, hostility, stress

General meaning and interpretation
In a general context, the Five of Swords is not always a good omen as it can represent defeat, change surrender and walking away. It is a Minor Arcana card of self-sabotaging or underhanded behaviour and deception and lack of communication. It can also represent serious conflict, stress and lack of communication. The Five of Swords Tarot card comes with a warning as it can signify hostility, aggression, intimidation and violence and as such it can represent situations we would hope to never encounter in our lives such as crime, theft, bullying, abuse, assault, rape, murder. On the other hand, it may simply represent the action one must take to overcome being challenged by others such as standing up for oneself and fighting back. As such it can be an indication of victory. If so, the victory it represents will be hard won as you will have quite a battle on your hands.

In a health Tarot reading, the Five of Swords indicates that you a likely to be feeling battle weary at the moment in terms of health. Whether it is stress, anxiety or a recent illness, the challenges you have been through or a currently going through have drained your energy. Treat yourself with kindness and don’t put too much pressure on yourself. This card also warns against engaging in self-sabotaging behaviour. As such, if you are struggling to cope with things, this card carries a serious warning not to use alcohol or drugs as a coping mechanism at this time as it may have bad consequences for you.

Love & Relationships
In a love Tarot spread, if you are in a relationship the Five of Swords is not a great omen as it can indicate arguments, hostility and serious conflict arising due to a lack of communication. It is also a Minor Arcana card of deception and self-sabotaging behaviour so infidelity and cheating can be signified by this card. It can also indicate divorce or separation as it can represent defeat and walking away. In its extreme negative, the Five of Swords can indicate bullying, intimidation, abuse, violence, assault, rape and murder. You should not be in fear of your partner and if you are, this tells you that something is seriously wrong. If your partner is abusive, you need to recognise the danger you are in and reach out for the support of family and friends or organisations that can help you to get the strength to walk away and take back your power. No one who truly loved you would treat you that way. If you are single, the Five of Swords indicates that you may be seeking out relationships with people who have a dark side and are potentially dangerous or deceptive. The extreme negative of this card signifies the types situations you would never wish to find yourself in so ensure you are taking proper precautions when going on dates with people you do not know very well such as meeting in a public place and letting a family member or friend know who you are meeting and where etc

Money & Career
In a career Tarot reading, the Five of Swords indicates that there is conflict in the work place. Expect stress, tension, arguments and hostility caused by poor communication or a complete lack of communication when this Minor Arcana card appears in your career Tarot spread. This may be leading you to feel defeated or like you should walk away or change careers. In its extreme negative, the Five of Swords can indicate bullying, intimidation or harassment and there may be some deception or underhanded behaviour going on. You may find yourself in the position of needing to fight back or stand up for yourself. Stay calm and rational in your approach. Make sure any action you take is the really the right move for you and not made out of duress but do not allow yourself to be victimised. At the same time, this is a card of self-sabotaging behaviour so you need to look at your own contribution to the situation and ensure that you are not part of the problem. In a financial Tarot spread, the Five of Swords indicates that there may be some deception or underhanded dealings in relation to finances. Be careful who you trust and make sure you are dealing with money in a fair and legal manner. Any current financial woes are likely to leave you feeling defeated but you need to look at how your current financial situation has come about. Have you sabotaged yourself? If so, you do not need to dwell on your mistakes, simply acknowledge and learn from them and start making better choices. You may simply need to sacrifice some luxuries until your finances improve.

In a spiritual context, the Five of Swords indicates that the challenges you have overcome have given you the wisdom, strength and empathy to heal others. This card also indicates change so you may find yourself pursuing a new spiritual path when it appears.

Reversed Meaning Guide
Five of Swords Reversed Tarot Card Key Meanings:
Peaceful resolution, moving on, compromise, communication, ending conflict, releasing stress, overcoming challenge, major sacrifice, risk everything, relentless, revenge, escalating violence, held accountable, arrest, uncovered crime, regret, remorse, humiliation, shame, not heeding warnings , surrendering to challenges

General meaning and interpretation
In a general context, the Five of Swords reversed can be a good omen as it can signify the peaceful resolution of a situation, ending conflict and moving on. It is a Minor Arcana card of communication, compromise, overcoming challenges and releasing stress. However, the Five of Swords Tarot card reversed can signify an escalation in serious violence and revenge. It can also signify risking everything, being relentless, not heeding warning signs and surrendering to challenges. It can also represent someone being held accountable for their actions, crimes being uncovered, arrests, regret, remorse, shame and public humiliation.

In a health Tarot reading, the Five of Swords reversed indicates suggests that you will find a way to resolve an ongoing or recurring health issue that has been a problem for you. It indicates that a compromise or sacrifice needs to be made to bring this about, for example you may find that you are allergic to a food you love and have to give it up or you may find that you have to adjust your fitness regime to compensate for an injury but a solution is possible

Love & Relationships
In a love Tarot spread, if you are in a relationship the Five of Swords reversed can indicate that you and your partner may be putting an end to some conflict in your relationship, learning to compromise and overcoming challenges. You may be letting bygones be bygones in respect of any arguments or issues you have been having and learning to communicate with each other but be aware, this peace requires work to make it last. If you return, to previous patterns you will sabotage the progress you have made. On the flip side, the Five of Swords reversed can be an indication of a complete breakdown in communication and succumbing to challenges in the relationship. If either of you has been unfaithful or underhanded in the relationship, this card can indicate that you will be exposed quite publicly as it indicates public shaming, revenge, remorse and regret. If you are in an abusive relationship, this card tells you to heed the warning that you are in danger! Get out before it escalates into serious violence. If you are single, the Five of Swords reversed indicates that you may have realised that you have been too critical or dismissive of a potential partner and may now be willing to give them a chance or they you. Alternatively, it can indicate that you have decided that a potential partner is not at all right for you and are letting them go

Money & Career
In a career Tarot reading, the Five of Swords reversed indicates that a conflict in the workplace may be coming to an end. Tensions may be being released, compromises made and a peaceful resolution is now possible as lines of communication open up when this Minor Arcana card appears in your career Tarot spread. This card may see you making major sacrifices to overcome challenges in your career. Alternatively, it can indicate an escalation in conflict as someone may be attempting to sabotage you. Look to supporting cards to confirm this. If there has been deception or underhanded business deals at play, the Five of Swords reversed will see the culprits being held accountable and publicly shamed or even fired. In a financial Tarot spread, the Five of Swords reversed again sees any untoward financial dealings exposed and the person responsible being held accountable so ensure you are acting with integrity or it will come back to bite you. It can also indicate a release of tension in regards to financial woes so if you have been struggling to manage your finances, this card would see you finding a resolution to your issues

In a spiritual context, the Five of Swords reversed can indicate that you have overcome a major hurdle in relation to your spiritual path and that this may have required a major sacrifice on your part, for example parting way with an old belief system and letting go of some traditions that you were used to. You are now in a position to move in a spiritual direction that works for you.