Tarot? On a Saturday?? Why not? You have ten minutes, and I have an hour! We're still in the tricky territory of the fives: our first big upset in a journey that's just halfway over, and we've made it up to the Swords. Swords are all about thoughts, ideas, words, frank appraisals, and brutal honesty. They're my kind of suit! But before we jump in, a quick explanation: The Omily Tarot is where I offer up my interpretation of a tarot card from the Waite-Smith deck, based on elemental and numerical associations, as well as the images on the cards itself. The posting schedule is once a week, and in the downtime, I'm hard at work interpreting the whole deck according to this system. When I'm finished, it will be professionally designed into a lovely zine, which you can buy on my website. Yay! I'm excited.
The Five of Swords
5 of Swords
"Ironically enough, the sword is the only 5 card that could be construed as happy on some level based on the imagery alone. The figure on this card smiles as he collects the weapons of his foes, who wander away toward the sea in the background. Has he won a fair fight with them, or did he trick them out of their weapons? It doesn’t seem likely he could have won a sword fight balancing three swords in his arms. He may be using his brains to obtain his victories, and so far, it’s working. On the other hand, those guys may be victims only of themselves: choosing expansive dreams, represented by the body of water they move toward, over heavy, tough to handle reality, represented by their abandoned swords. Who hasn’t longed for a break from objective truth?
Maybe one of those guys is the Negative Nancy crying over spilled milk in the five of Cups! With his head down he’s just waiting to be taken advantage of, after all. Approaching this card from the 4 of Swords, we start to wander if he didn’t spend too much time isolated from his fellow man, and from his weapon, for his own good. He seems to have lost perspective on what a sword is for, and what other human beings are for, too. There’s always such a thing as too much for your own good. From the perspective of the losers of this fight, taking a break may lead to a minor setback, but as we explored in the last card, that doesn’t mean it isn’t the right thing to do.
Has our hero taken on more than he can handle? If those two swords slip he’ll have a nasty wound to contend with. The swords are often about being objective enough to let go of what you don’t need, and that is the key to the ‘crisis of spirit’ described by the fives. This guy faces the sword challenge: take the easy way out by satisfying his pride and holding onto every trophy as proof of his mental prowess, or recognize that his future success is threatened by the weight he carries, and release his pride and ego in honor of a higher truth?
In a reading, this may be a time to release some of what you worked for, perhaps as an investment into future growth, or just as a chance to improve your karma by giving back. Even if you can take it with you, it might not be worth it. You don’t have to win every argument, or force everyone you know to acknowledge the truth you’ve discovered: let your dad believe what he wants if he’s not listening, and if you want to keep your friend, don’t lord it over him or her when you prove you’re right."
The five of swords may represent a time to be honest with yourself about how you got as far as you got. A major sword challenge may be just admitting that your success so far was ill-gotten, and perhaps not worth pursuing. And of course, ask yourself if you're one of the people down by the water, their truth, or their stake in the world around them, abandoned for a world loftier perhaps, but too remote to truly compete with the here and now most of the time. Sometimes the swords and cups seem to be too at odds to come from the same philosophy, but there are no true contradictions in the tarot, just an acknowledgement that life is complicated enough to hold various truths simultaneously.