Six of Swords
A man rows a boat carrying a woman, a child, and six downturned swords. They’re heading toward land, where there‘s a mountain and trees. The land is gray, the color of fading away, and of purity and sobriety. This is a sober moment, not a joyous one. The woman (assuming it’s a woman) is shrouded in yellow, the color of intellect. The boy wears blue, the color of peace. While this isn’t a joyful journey, it’s not terrible. It’s the start of something new, hopefully.
Sometimes, you just have to move on. The man is wearing orange, the color of enthusiasm; blue, the color of serenity and the higher mind; green, the color of life; and red, the color of passion. To the right of the boat, the water is turbulent and moving, but to the left, the water is calm and serene. It’s unclear if the turbulent water is what’s pushing them forward, or if they’re rowing against it, but the fact that it stops on the left side indicates that they’re seeking something calm and predictable.
The swords are downright, indicating repression or forcing the people down. One would think that six swords sticking into a wooden boat would cause a leak; if so, it’s all the more urgent to get to dry land. And while these three people are suffering in some way and are not rejoicing, they’re staying the course. They’re not letting their emotions get in the way or get the best of them. They’re emotionally honest, and they’re acting on them.
The Six of Swords is about emotional honesty. It’s about facing tragedy and sorrow, but also about pulling up your pants and making the most of what’s left and moving on. Even though the only thing the three of them seem to have are the clothes on their backs and the sorrows of the six swords, they’re moving toward an unknown, uncertain future. And sometimes, that’s simply what one has to do: you have to move forward, knowing that you’re not sure where you’re going, only knowing that you can’t stay where you are.
The Six of Swords is departures, which by their nature are sad and involve uncertainty about the future. It’s also about having the strength and the courage to move on despite the sorrow and uncertainty.
When the six of swords is Reversed:
When the Six of Swords is Reversed, the querent is reluctant to move on, even when they have no choice. They may be holding onto hope that things can remain the same or magically reverse themselves and go back to the way they once were. The querent simply doesn’t go anywhere or entertain the idea of doing something different.
The Six of Swords reversed can also indicate that something outside of the querent is keeping them from moving on, like another person or institution that refuses to let go or allow the querent to move forward. If so, the querent may have to leave this person or institution behind with everything else.
In a three-card reading, this card means…
Past: In the past, the querent suffered a loss and left something behind to start anew, which has brought them to the present moment.
Present: Currently, the querent is turning away from something that has ended or just won’t work out and is heading toward something else, whatever it is.
Future: In the future, the querent is going to have to cut their losses and head into an uncertain future without something that was once important.