The tarot deck is divided into two parts:
The major arcana – made up of the main 22 recognizable cards.
The minor arcana – made up of four suites. (These suites are the the suites of cups, wands, swords, and pentacles. Each suite contains 14 cards.)
Obviously there are many, many more cards within the minor arcana than in the major arcana, but today we are only focusing on 14 of those cards or one entire suite. This suite is known as the suite of swords.
If you haven’t learned about the minor arcana as a whole, please refer to my post here before you continue on.
Differences and Similarities:
The suite of swords will have a total of 14 cards, which is: the ace of swords, the two of swords, the three of swords, the four of swords, the five of swords, the six of swords, the seven of swords, the eight of swords, the nine of swords, the ten of swords, the page of swords, the knight of swords, the queen of swords, and the king of swords.
The page, knight, queen, and king are all known as the court cards. One through ten, however, will take on a similar meaning as the other three one-tens in the other suites; because all of the numbers will carry a quality that is alike. It is the suites that will set them apart from the numbers and other court cards. On the other hand, all of the sword cards will have a similar quality and it will be the numbers that set them apart instead. You can look at it either or both ways.
The Suite of Swords are all about: thinking, communicating, logic, being rational or irrational, intelligence, confusion, being sly, quick-wittedness, analyzing, inner conflict, manipulation, gossip, criticism, clarity, deceit, arguments, thinking ahead, smooth-talking, flirtation, schmoozing, one’s point of perception, etc.
Why Do Swords Mean These Things?
To understand the answer to this question, we must understand the symbolism.
In the last tarot blog, I explained how wands are a symbol of fire and the action–driven aspects of life. Before that, I wrote about the cup cards and how they’re connected to water and the emotional self. As I mentioned previously, each suite is connected to one of the elements and an existing aspect within us all: our emotions, our thoughts, our actions, our goals/work/money.
Swords are a symbol of both the element air and of our thinking/communication.
Like air, thoughts can’t be seen. Like the oxygen we breathe, our communication can’t be held inside of our hands. Your word against another’s words -true or untrue- words can’t be captured in a photo as one’s proof. Whispers in the wind can seem like nothing more than an unnoticeable breeze, but depending on the whisper, the consequences can be as great as a tornado.
Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can be destructive too. Conflictions of the mind can be slow and steady, but once the cold air meets the warm air, a twister forms and its intentions are potentially deadly. Electricity takes the path of least resistance and so do thought patterns. When tornadoes and twisters touch down, the path they leave behind can be terrifying.
Our words and thoughts are powerful. It is ultimately our point of perception that dictates the choices we make. What we think of ourselves, what we believe to be true, and whether we choose logic over emotion can all lead to outcomes that reflect what we’re choosing not to say.
Air can be complicated, like a double-edged sword; because although something may indeed be incorrect, if we believe it, it is true to us anyway. Others may commit to talking us down, but our minds only change when we decide we want them to.
Air is invisible, but we know it exists because we feel it and we see it’s impact around us in nature. Thoughts are also invisible, but we hear them inside of our heads. Sometimes, we look up and meet eyes with a stranger. It seems like coincidence, but like invisible wind, we feel their intentions and it connects somewhere in consciousness and briefly, we recognize it in that divine timing and then quickly look away.
Oftentimes, we don’t want to see the truth. Especially when we known deep down, we can convince ourselves of anything.
Swords can say one thing, but mean another. Air doesn’t want to argue with you, but if you insist and the game begins, swords will make sure you lose. In that process, air will deny enjoying it too. Swords confuse themselves because they’re good at talking and can carry conversation for long periods, but as wind picks up, blades come out and words begin to slice deeply.
The truth may set you free. To the challenger, however, it’s a shocking revelation to finally find what’s been hidden for the sake of disingenuous peace.
Swords = Thoughts = Air
Sword Card Meanings:
Ace of Swords: Newfound mental clarity, focus/being single-minded, and realization.
Two of Swords: Uncertainty, not knowing which side to stand on, and inner turmoil.
Three of Swords: Third party involved, shocking stab to heart, creative talks of sorrow
Four of Swords: Regaining energy/strength, retreating to inner world, period of rest.
Five of Swords: Disagreements from pride, playing dirty, and competitive distraction.
Six of Swords: Bittersweet change, letting go something, and acceptance of past pain.
Seven of Swords: Sliding under the radar, cautious manipulation; and self-protection.
Eight of Swords: Projection and denial of guilt, self-loathing, and playing the victim.
Nine of Swords: Nowhere to turn, fueled by fear, and falling into depressive state.
Ten of Swords: Rock-bottom, facing a crisis, and finally facing personal demon.
Page of Swords: Finding a way to communicate, new thoughts forming, and curiosity.
Knight of Swords: Finding drive to learn, rapid wave of ideas, and harnessing potential.
Queen of Swords: Setting boundaries, cutting through falsities, and urgency to speak.
King of Swords: Sharp-tongue, knowing the truth, and not sharing personal power.
From Within the Labryinth,