Five of Swords – Tarot card meaning

Five of Swords - Rider Waite Minor Arcana - Swords

The Five of Swords is the fifth Swords card. The meaning is quite well portrayed by the illustration; conflict is on the horizon, and you should prepare for it, though beware, things may not go your way.

The Five of Swords generally represents loss in conflict, low self-esteem and confidence, and general disagreements.

Card meanings


The Five of Swords in the Past position can represent a past defeat, one which is still affecting your life. Perhaps you think about how you were beaten. Defeat will occur in life. This could be something as clear cut as losing a partner, losing a fight, or losing something else precious to you.

There is a mourning process you’ll need to follow, one that is unique to you. Don’t force things. Eventually you’ll come back around to being your usual self, and be all the stronger for it. There’s no need to keep pretending you’re stronger, faster, or better than you actually are. Work on yourself as much as you can.


You may have recently been defeated in some aspect of life. This could have been because you were overconfident in your own abilities. The Five of Swords in the present position can show that life is being especially tough on you right now.

Someone specifically may become an enemy, and for now it is best to simply avoid them when possible.

Defeat makes us better people, as if we learn from our mistakes, then that weakness if turned into a strength. The Five of Swords does represent defeat, but not wholly. Nobody wins every battle.


Avoid conflicts when you see the Four of Swords in the future position. You’re likely to lose any fight you initiate. While you can’t predict conflict coming your way, you can actively avoid it by walking away.

In the long term, think about what you are aiming for in life. If your future is not planned out, then you might be working towards an unrealistic goal.

Work, careers and education

The Five of Swords can mean bad news in regards to your career or education. It’s possible you just received bad news; maybe in the form of grades or feedback at work. This isn’t the end of the world. If you want to, you can improve. if you don’t want to improve, then that maybe something worth thinking about.

If you don’t feel particularly safe where you currently are, then there will always be alternatives. Maybe you feel completely defeated. If this is the case, then leaving and starting afresh somewhere new may be your best bet.

Love and Relationships

The Five of Swords is a slightly negative card to draw when it comes to love and connections. Perhaps you have been rejected one too many times. If the same person keeps saying no, then maybe it’s time to take the hint.

In a relationship, the Five of Swords can represent the fallout after an argument or conflict of sorts. Give things time, you may both need to think about how to proceed. Where is the relationship heading? Are you both in the same place,with similar goals?

Inner conflict can also occur here.Try not to second guess your partners motives. It’s very likely they are not trying to hurt you. Take things at face value. It might be a tough period, but as the rest of the Five of Swords suggests, this isn’t a cataclysmic event. You can recover if you wish.


Expect losses when you see the Five of Swords drawn in regards to money. Now isn’t the time to gamble on anything. It may be too late, however, you may already have lost something, and now you’re working through the pain of dealing with your loss. Let it come and go.

Money is a tricky concept for many of us. In one regard, we need it, in another, we need to recognise how transient it is. Money can be replaced and regained, time however, cannot. Work out where your priorities are.

Health and well-being

The Five of Swords represents the feeling of defeat when it comes to your health. Consider this to be potentially mental or physical damage from which you are recovering.

You may just be coming to terms with your current state in life. It is important not to face big challenges alone.

Other associations

Element: Air

As a Yes or No question: No


Defeat and recovery, conflict, battle, disagreement,aggression

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