Ace of Swords


Ace of Swords meanings

The Ace of Swords means developing a sense of identity, causing separation. The birth of ideas and concepts.

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Image of Ace of Swords in Rider-Waite deck
Ace of Swords

A hand issues from a cloud, grasping as word, the point of which is encircled by a crown.

Triumph, the excessive degree in everything, conquest, triumph of force. It is a card of great force, in love as well as in hatred. The crown [see illustration, left] may carry a much higher significance than comes usually within the sphere of fortune-telling.

Additional Meanings: Great prosperity or great misery.


The same, but the results are disastrous; another account says — conception, childbirth, augmentation, multiplicity.

Additional Meanings: Marriage broken off, for a woman, through her own imprudence.

Book of Thoth

Image of the Ace of Swords in The Book of Thoth tarot deck
The Ace of Swords

The Ace of Swords is the primordial Energy of Air, the Essence of the Vau of Tetragrammaton, the integration of the Ruach. Air is the result of the conjunction of Fire and Water; thus it lacks the purity of its superiors in the male hierarchy, Fire, Sol and the Phallus. But for this same reason it is the first card directly to be apprehended by the normal consciousness of Mankind. The errors of such cards as the 7 and Ten of Cups are yet of an Order altogether higher than the apparently much milder Four of Swords. The study of the subtle and gradual degradation of the planes is excessively difficult.

In nature, the obvious symbol of Air is the Wind “which bloweth whithersoever it listeth”. It lacks the concentrated Will of Fire to unite with Water: it has no corresponding passion for its Twin Element, Earth. There is indeed, a notable passivity in its nature; evidently, it has no self-generated impulse. But, set in motion by its Father and Mother, its power is manifestly terrific. It visibly attacks its objective, as they, being of subtler and more tenuous character, can never do. Its “all-embracing, all-wandering, all-penetrating, all-consuming” qualities have been described by many admirable writers, and its analogies are for the most part patent to quite ordinary observers.

More information

Golden Dawn -The Radix of the Powers of Air

Great energy called to do good. Stationary forces are roused and called into action.


Triumph, Fecundity, Fertility, Prosperity.


Embarrassment, Foolish and Hopeless Love, Obstacle, Hindrance.

Image of Etteilla Ace of Swords
Etteilla Ace of Swords


Fructification, Extreme, Big, Excessive. Extravagant, Fierce, Carried Away. Exceedingly, Passionately, Inordinately. Vehemence, Animosity, Momentum, excessiveness, Wrath, Fury, Rage. Extremity, Bounds, Border, Limits. Last Breath, Utmost Extremity. Quarrel.


Pregnancy, Beginning, Seed, Sperm, Matter, Impregnating, Fathering, Conception, Fructification, Labor, Childbirth. Fertilization, Growing, Formation. Expansion, Augmentation, Multiplicity.

Paul Foster Case

The ankh cross, similar to a Venus symbol, represents the union of positive and negative forces, and thus corresponds to VAU, the third letter of the Great Name, IHVH. The Swords are all symbols of AIR, which is alchemically the mixture of the hot and dry nature of FIRE with the cool and moist nature of WATER, but with the heat and dryness predominant over the cold and moisture. Thus AIR is more fiery than watery, and there is a closer affinity between Swords and Wands than between Swords and Cups. The Ace of Swords symbolizes Invoked Force, by way of contrast to the Natural Force typified by the Ace of Wands.

Occult title

The root of the powers of air.


In the Knapp Tarot it is shown point downward, but this represents its evil and negative significance, for in ceremonial magic the sword in this position is used for the invocation of the evil and demonic forces. On ancient exoteric and esoteric versions of this Key the single sword often is shown with its point upward, and the point is surrounded by a radiant Crown, symbolizing the invocation of spiritual Radiance. Thus, in using this card, it is to be considered Ill-dignified if it appears with the point of the sword down, and Well-dignified if in the reverse position.

Time period

From Libra 0 to the end of Sagittarius, September 23rd to December 21st, representing the conjoined powers of Venus, Mars and Jupiter.


Activity, particularly mental force in operation.


The extreme or excessive, triumph, force. “It is a card of great force, in love as well as in hatred.” (W.) Vehemence, fury, etc. Limits, extremity, frontier, confinement. Reversed: Conception, pregnancy, childbirth, fructification, production, enlarging, augmentation.
This is the first step of the element of Earth, coming on the First house or ascendant. Of course this has to do with a beginning, a strong outpouring of force, an impulse, and a material one too. Positive activity on the material plane is typically masculine, and this is a very masculine card, perhaps the most of all. There is no negotiation possible with it. It is emphatically ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ One of the primary expressions of the masculine is fructification, and the male action is indicated by this card. For the same reason it means germ, seed. And its natural consequence is conception and childbirth, the ace indicating here also the ascendant. In everything this card means the actual beginning in material execution, which at the same time may cut short something else. It may mean decapitation, or any justiciary execution. It signifies of course a decision, the end of uncertainty or twilight. It is a fresh starting point in matter: ‘alea jacta est.’ And so it may as well mean a strong demand, an appeal. There is courage in it and firm initiative. It may cause pain and affliction, but annihilates doubt, the greatest torture.
Initiative, force, masculine activity, seed, germ, commencement in matter, decision, starting point, emphasis; fructification. Execution, affliction, pain, but annihilation of doubt and uncertainty. Courage, firmness, integrity. May denote great passion or intense enmity. Fury, vehemence.
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Article Name
Ace of Swords tarot meanings = birth of ideas
The Ace of Swords means developing a sense of identity, causing separation. The birth of ideas and concepts. Lack of concentrated will to achieve goals.

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