5 of Swords – Rider-Waite

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A disdainful man looks after two retreating and dejected figures. Their swords lie upon the ground. He carries two others on his left shoulder, and a third sword is in his right hand, point to earth. He is the master in possession of the field.

Meanings

Degradation, destruction, revocation, infamy, dishonour, loss, with the variants and analogues of these.

Additional Meanings: An attack on the fortune of the Querent.

Reversed

The same; burial and obsequies. A sign of sorrow and mourning.


59 5 of Swords The Etteilla Tarot The Book of Thoth

Etteilla

Loss, Falsification, Waste, Degradation, Detriment, Decline, Destruction, Deterioration, Deprivation, Reduction, Injuries, Defeats, Prejudice, Wrong, Defect, Fault, Miserliness, Decline in Business, Damages, Disadvantage, Devastation, Squandering, Dissipation, Misfortune, Afflictions, Setback, Reversals of Fortune, Ruin, Downfall, Rout. Debauchery, Disgrace, Defamation, Dishonor, Vile Abuse, Infamy, Affront, Meanness, Deformity, Humiliation. Theft, Robbery, Abduction, Plagiarism, Kidnapping, Hideous, Horrible. Opprobrium, Corruption, Dissoluteness, Seduction, Licentiousness.

Reversed

Mourning, Despondency, Ailment, Grief, Distress, Mental Suffering, Funeral Rites, Interment, Obsequies, Funerals, Inhumation, Sepulcher.


Paul Foster Case

The scourge combined with the ankh is a symbol of suffering, of the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. Yet the pains and sufferings bring understanding, and are the result of the Querent’s own Karma. The suffering is not really unjust.

Time period

The first decanate of Aquarius, under the rulership of Saturn and Uranus, from January 20th to January 29th.

Well-dignified

Decision adverse to Querent in any matter of material nature; but in spiritual questions the end of a course of action in apparent defeat which will nevertheless produce a good ultimate result. In any case a card of failure, defeat, trouble, poverty, and anxiety. The Querent is probably the subject of more or less slander.

Ill-dignified

The troubles are intensified, and are probably more definitely the result of the Querent’s own failings; particularly, in this instance, does the Five of Swords suggest loss through the Querent’s own avarice.

Keyword

Defeat.


Thierens: Five of Swords

TRADITION

Loss, dishonour, degradation, defeat, ruin, reversal of fortune, diminution, wronging, bad luck, destruction, etc. Reversed : Much the same, burial, obsequies. It is also said to represent a thief and theft, corruption, seduction, plague, and all that is hideous and horrible.

THEORY

The element of Earth with its influence of Mars and Saturn on the Fifth house, ruling the heart, cannot be very ‘favourable’ in the ordinary sense of the word and is certain to lead to a feeling of being wronged by the world, an inner bitterness and impotence, which hinders enterprise and business; so these will suffer. And the heart itself, being of precisely the opposite nature, will suffer and find things awkward, horrible, hideous, etc. In the same way this card must indicate affliction of honour, which is ruled by the Sun. Moreover, as “from the heart are the issues of life,” the card may indicate vice and a bad use of the inner or spiritual forces. Still there is another possibility, and this is given by Mr. W. when he says that this card’s image signifies a man who “is master of the field.” So he may be if the inner force is great enough to conquer the afflictions which assail him. In other words, it need not be a card of absolute defeat, for there may very well be a good result, but nevertheless it denotes serious difficulty and a critical moment or period in life, in which the querent or some one to whom it relates will be threatened with the above-mentioned sad effects.

CONCLUSION

Affliction, crisis, morose disposition, bitterness, impotence, lack of self-respect, or self-confidence; it may be that self-confidence is ascertained by some struggle or conflict; difficulties, which after all may prove very useful but necessitate much self-discipline. In the same way discipline of children is necessary. Enterprise or expansion is impossible or not advisable. Things indicated by this card may indeed be bad-looking or unpromising. There will be a question of a loss in most cases.

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