The sharp, swift suit of Swords is governed by the element of Air. As such, it largely deals with matters of the intellect and the purely mental level of our consciousness. Swords preside over cold hard logic, sharp wit, high education and lofty intellectual pursuits. They are a symbol of man’s attempt to categorise everything according to the limiting laws of science which does not always give the most satisfactory results and can indeed backfire. Still, the somewhat grim and sinister imagery of the suit, especially in the higher numbers, should not be taken too literally and, while challenging, is not a certain sign of eternal damnation, pain and suffering. Instead, the Swords do present us with a somewhat thorny path, dotted with enemies and danger, but one we can indeed tread with confidence if only we employ our keen observation and strategic thinking.
Ace of Swords – A brilliant new idea, an intellectual breakthrough, a moment of mental clarity that brings with it power and a chance for success.
Two of Swords – The very image of indecisiveness, of not being able to choose the right path. Sometimes, selecting the road you wish to take requires more than just a rational approach.
Three of Swords – A distinctly painful separation or a heartache brought about by more than one factor – be it rejection, loss, failure or something else altogether.
Four of Swords – Some time for contemplation and recuperation is required at this point. Only if you allow yourself to recharge your batteries can you go back to battle and actually have a chance of winning in the end.
Five of Swords – Victory is still not in the cards. This is an image of conflict but one that is more intense than that in the Five of Wands. This is a bitter battle – one that you are destined to lose, perhaps due to betrayal.
Six of Swords – An ordeal, a travel you’d rather not take, a move into the unknown. Might also stand for a rite of passage but, again, one you are not a 100% sure you wish to undertake.
Seven of Swords – The meaning of this card is twofold. Either it stands for commitment to intellectual pursuits or for equally strong dedication to deception and thievery. The context of the reading is likely to point you in the right direction.
Eight of Swords – A prison of your making, a self-imposed restriction, a sense of isolation even if you do actually have all the freedom in the world. Perhaps it is only your own mind that is keeping you confined.
Nine of Swords – Nightmares haunt you at night while daytime seems just as frightening. This is the card of anguish, anxiety, despair, and mental illness.
Ten of Swords – Unfortunately, the suit of Swords ends on a bad note, with the last card showing an image of defeat, betrayal and ultimate loss.
Page (or Princess) of Swords – A reserved yet inquisitive and observant nature, with a strong dose of emotional detachment which allows them to understand a situation but not always be able to empathise nor help.
Knight (or Prince) of Swords – A hasty and action-oriented individual, he is a whirlwind in the truest sense of the word, extremely communicative but also occassionally too opinionated and superficial for his own good.
Queen of Swords – A witty, exceptionally perceptive woman, she may come off as aloof but provides keener insight and better advice than anyone out there.
King of Swords – An intellectual of formidable authority, his sharp mind is only rivaled by his equally sharp tongue. Well able to see through even the most elaborate deception.
(The images in this article are taken from The DruidCraft Tarot illustrated by Will Worthington and published by Connections Book Publishing)