What Do the Swords Cards Mean?

Learn about the meaning of every Tarot card in the suit of Swords

Swords Tarot Cards

This article's content includes contributions from Tarot.com writer Christine Payne-Towler.

What's standing in YOUR way? The Swords Tarot cards hold the answers! In a Tarot deck, the cards in the Swords suit help you prepare for life's greatest challenges, and remind you of your own knowledge and strength.

Learn more about the Swords card meanings: Ace of Swords | Two of Swords | Three of Swords | Four of Swords | Five of Swords | Six of Swords | Seven of Swords | Eight of Swords | Nine of Swords | Ten of Swords | Page of Swords | Knight of Swords | Queen of Swords | King of Swords

The Swords are associated with conflict and strife -- both external and internal. These cards cut to the heart of a matter, revealing challenges such as illness, heartbreak, war, loss, and death. But they can also reveal truths we need to face in order to overcome obstacles and move forward, which is ultimately a positive thing.

Will the Swords cards come up in your reading? Find out with a 10-Card Celtic Cross Tarot Reading now!

When a Swords card turns up in your Tarot reading, it's likely you are facing a challenge, or will come into contact with a forceful person or situation. You may be on the verge of an argument or heartbreak, or you could be wrestling with the truth, mired in a legal battle, or stuck holding on to a rigid viewpoint. If you let them, the Swords cards can rid you of your denial and teach you valuable lessons.

The Swords cards are associated with the fall season and the Air element. They enhance the realm of the mind, of clarity and consciousness, and the sharp edge of truth. Because of their strong connection to truth, the Swords are also heavily associated with justice and fairness.

The suit of Swords in a classic Tarot deck consists of 14 cards, beginning with the Ace of Swords and progressing upward through the 10 of Swords, then concluding with the four Court cards, the Page, Knight, Queen and King of Swords.

Keep reading to learn about the meaning of each card in the suit of Swords.

Ace of Swords

Ace of Swords

The Ace of Swords represents your prime motive or guiding ideal; the vision that guides you. It is an optimistic symbol of evolution, progress, hope, and victory. This card may arise when you're at the beginning of a new endeavor -- often having left something else behind -- and in need of additional clarity or fortitude to move forward. The Ace of Swords provides the message that you have the strength you need to handle anything that lies before you. Learn more about the Ace of Swords

Two of Swords

Two of Swords

The Two of Swords is a card of decision-making. It represents conflicting ideas which must be reconciled to arrive at a harmonious place. When the Two of Swords arises in your Tarot reading, you could be dealing with many mixed signals and misunderstandings, leaving you unsure which path to take. To remove yourself from this state of limbo, the Two of Swords urges you to gain as much information as you can, so you can consider it all and make the best decision for your future. Learn more about the Two of Swords

Three

Three of Swords

The Three of Swords is one of the most recognizable cards in a Tarot deck. This is a card of heartache, separation, and sorrow. While this card's appearance in your Tarot reading could be warning you of impending sadness, this card often arises when you are already in a state of grief. The Three of Swords, while painful, encourages you to lean into this pain, to truly experience and understand it. By moving through your emotions, rather than avoiding them, you give yourself the gift of strength, truth, healing, and growth. Learn more about the Three of Swords

Four of Swords

Four of Swords

The Four of Swords urges you to take some time out and retreat to a place of rest and serenity. If you move forward without taking time to wind down or process what you're going through, you'll reach a state of total emotional and physical burn-out. When the Four of Swords comes up in your Tarot reading, you need a break. You will move forward stronger, more complete, and more capable if you allow yourself time to stop now and contemplate where you've been, and where you're going. Learn more about the Four of Swords

Five of Swords

Five of Swords

The Five of Swords is a card of conflict, tension, winning, and losing. It asks you to examine the value of the battle you are participating in. If you win the argument but lose friends, did you really win? When the Five of Swords arises in your Tarot reading, think long and hard about what you're fighting for, and pick your battles wisely. Or, if you realize you don't have what it takes to fight the current battle, what do you need to attain in order to stand up stronger next time? The Five of Swords reminds you to think before you act. Learn more about the Five of Swords

Six of Swords

Six of Swords

The Six of Swords Tarot card involves leaving an especially difficult situation. Walking away from this may feel very painful at the time, and you could be experiencing fear or regret. In order to move forward in your life though, you must leave something behind. When the Six of Swords turns up in your Tarot reading, it is a supportive message of personal growth, and a reminder that, in the end, leaving something behind opens you up to taking in something new. You will look back on this and realize you've made the right decision. Learn more about the Six of Swords

Seven of Swords

Seven of Swords

The Seven of Swords represents deception. In its positive sense, this card encourages you to look for unique ways to get ahead. When it comes up in your Tarot reading in this sense, it is a reminder to work smarter, not harder. However, this card is also heavy with betrayal, and could indicate that you are the victim of someone else's secrets or manipulation. In this case when the Seven of Swords comes up in your Tarot reading, be on the lookout for wolves in sheep's clothing, and don't believe anything without asking a few questions first. Learn more about the Seven of Swords

Eight of Swords

Eight of Swords

The Eight of Swords card represents those times in your life when it seems like there's no way out. Trapped. Bound. Stuck. But there is always a way out. When the Eight of Swords arises in your Tarot reading, the way out is through your mind. Whatever is holding you back is self-imposed -- you've made yourself the victim of your own limited fears, assumptions, and mindsets. In order to be free, you must set yourself free. The Eight of Swords' message is to open your mind to a new perspective, or stay stuck where you are. Learn more about the Eight of Swords

Nine of Swords

Nine of Swords

The Nine of Swords is a card about anxiety and fear. You are losing sleep -- quite literally, at times -- by keeping yourself busy with worry. You could feel powerless, and like you've lost of control of yourself and your emotions. When the Nine of Swords card shows up in your Tarot reading, it is a reminder that so much of your stress is made up in your mind. Worrying will not help your situation, it will only feed it. These concerns will cease to have power over you when you address them at their source. Learn more about the Nine of Swords

Ten of Swords

Ten of Swords

The Ten of Swords represents finality. The limit has been reached, a line has been crossed, and there is no turning back -- it's over, and there's no hope for revival. This may be felt as a tragic loss, but it often brings with it a sense of release and closure. The waiting and wondering are over and there is no more ambiguity. When the Ten of Swords comes up in your Tarot reading, you know you can let go and move on because there is no more progress to be made here. Learn more about the Ten of Swords

Page of Swords

Page of Swords

The Page of Swords invites you to get your wheels in motion. You have all the enthusiasm you need, but there is more information available to you that can greatly impact your success. When the Page of Swords comes up in your Tarot reading, do your research, find the facts, and come up with a clear plan to move forward. There will be challenges on your path, and you'll need to be prepared in order to move past them. Learn more about the Page of Swords

Knight of Swords

Knight of Swords

The Knight of Swords is ready to go. He does not consider the consequences and is not wary of a challenge. He is a sharp and restless soul who shoots first and asks questions later. When the Knight of Swords shows up in your Tarot reading, pause to center yourself before you move forward. Are your intentions good? Are your actions just? A little forethought can keep you from storming around aimlessly and help guide you in the right direction. Learn more about the Knight of Swords

Queen of Swords

Queen of Swords

The Queen of Swords knows what she wants. She is smart, honest, self-sufficient, and independent. She is not a conformer and is too wise to be confined to traditional roles. When the Queen of Swords arises in your Tarot reading, it's a message to act with independence and to fight for yourself. Never let anyone mold you into something different -- be strong and stand up for all that you are. Learn more about the Queen of Swords

Ace of Swords

King of Swords

The King of Swords is a force of wisdom. He does not carry an emotional air -- his strength lies in the mind, in intelligence, truth, and fairness. He has gained his knowledge through much experience, and approaches life in an objective way that garners respect from those around him. While the King of Swords can seem cool or detached, he is here to offer great support. When this card comes up in your Tarot reading, you may be in the position of lending guidance to others, or could benefit from asking for advice yourself. When you seek guidance from the King of Swords, you can expect nothing but the truth. Learn more about the King of Swords

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