Five Of Swords Tarot Card Meaning: Upright & Reversed

The Five of Swords in tarot brings forth the idea of winning at all costs, and getting the victory but at a price that may be too high. It shows a man standing triumphant while others retreat in defeat, symbolizing a Pyrrhic victory where the win may come with a significant personal or moral cost. It’s about a time of bitterness, where the desire to win overshadows the ramifications of the victory itself. But in its reversed position, the Five of Swords leans more towards reconciliation, the resolution of conflicts, and the realization that some battles are not worth fighting.

If you want to know more about the Five of Swords and what it means now that you’ve drawn it, then keep reading to find out everything there is to know!

Numerology5, symbolizing intelligence, knowledge, justice, and communication.
Zodiac SignAquarius, known for its visionary qualities, but also a tendency towards detachment and rebellion.
Ruling PlanetUranus, which governs innovation and revolution, but also upheaval and disruption.
ElementAir, connected to thoughts, ideas, and communication, often leading to intellectual conflict or victory.
Yes or NoNo, indicating potential defeat, or that the cost of victory might be too high.
CrystalsHematite (for grounding after turmoil), Black Tourmaline (for protection from negativity).

Symbolism Of The Five Of Swords

  1. Scattered Swords: The swords in this card are scattered and held in a aloft showing us that conflict has taken place. The swords represent the thoughts, words, or actions that have led to destruction in your life. They symbolize the consequences of aggression and contentious behavior.
  2. The Victorious Figure: One person is shown holding multiple swords, appearing triumphant but isolated. They are the ‘winner’ of the conflict but the victory may come at a cost, such as loss of relationships or integrity.
  3. The Defeated Figures: In the background, there are two figures walking away, heads down in defeat. They represent loss, surrender, and the consequences of the conflict on the losing side. They suggest sadness, regret, and the need to retreat and reflect.
  4. The Stormy Sky: The sky in the Five of Swords looks like a storm is passing, symbolizing the fluctuating nature of conflict and the calm that can come after a storm. It shows ongoing strife, while the clearing sky shows indicate the resolution or end of a conflict.
  5. The Barren Landscape: The background is bleak and barren, underscoring the desolation and emptiness that can result from conflict. It shows us that battles, especially those fought without consideration for others, can leave a wasteland in their wake.
  6. The Attitudes of the Figures: The expressions and body language of the figures show a range of emotions, from smugness in the victor to dejection in the defeated. This contrast highlights the complex nature of conflict and its impact on all involved.
Five Of Swords Symbolism

The Five Of Swords Upright Meaning

The Five of Swords in a reading carries the heavy energy of conflict and tension. It’s a stark reminder of the complexities and challenges that arise from disagreements and competition, often highlighting situations where the desire to win overshadows the consequences of victory. It serves as a cautionary tale about the price of winning at all costs, urging you to consider what you may truly be losing in the pursuit of triumph.

But at the heart of the Five of Swords is the theme of conflict—both with others and within oneself. You may find yourself embroiled in disputes or disagreements that seem unavoidable. These conflicts can arise from misunderstandings, competing goals, or a clash of egos. You need to assess the situation critically, to understand the root of the conflict, and to question whether the battle is worth fighting. It’s a reminder that sometimes, the wisest course of action is to choose which battles to engage in, recognizing that not every disagreement needs to be won.

The notion of winning at all costs reflected in the Five of Swords speaks to a deeper issue of priorities and values, though. This mentality can lead to victories, where the price of success outweighs its benefits. You might find yourself sacrificing relationships, integrity, or your peace of mind for the sake of winning. It’s a warning about the loneliness and isolation that can come from such victories, urging you to consider the impact of your actions on both yourself and others. So reflect on what truly matters and strive for outcomes that don’t compromise your values or connections.

Five Of Swords Upright Meaning

Hostility and stress are also key elements of this card, highlighting the emotional and mental toll of ongoing conflicts. The Five of Swords can indicate a period of heightened stress and tension, where hostility seems to permeate interactions. It’s important during such times to prioritize self-care and to seek constructive ways to address and resolve conflicts. This may involve open communication, seeking mediation, or in some cases, choosing to walk away from toxic situations that are beyond resolution.

So basically, the Five of Swords is a powerful reflection on the nature of conflict and competition, offering a moment to pause and reconsider the paths we choose in our interactions with others. It invites you to question the cost of victory, to prioritize harmony and understanding, and to seek resolutions that foster mutual respect and peace. Remember, the choices you make in handling conflict can define not just the outcomes of disputes, but the quality of your relationships and your inner peace moving forward.

Love and Relationships

The Five of Swords underscores the toll that conflict and a desire to “win” can take on relationships. Right now your relationship may feel strained by competition or unresolved disputes, where the focus has shifted from mutual understanding to trying to one up each other. It’s a reminder of the importance of communication and compromise in relationships. If you’re single it could be a sign that the people you’re dating or you yourself are tying to be the best, instead of trying to connect.

Career and Finances

For your career and finances, the Five of Swords indicates a challenging environment dominated by rivalry and discord. You might be navigating a competitive workplace where the pressure to outperform others leads to ethical dilemmas or conflicts. Take some time to re-evaluate your professional goals and the methods you’re using to achieve them. Remember, success achieved at the expense of others may not be as rewarding as it seems and encourages seeking success through integrity and collaboration.


The Five of Swords is a spiritual challenge, prompting you to examine how you deal with conflict and adversity on your personal journey. It might be a time to reflect on internal conflicts or to address how external disputes affect your spiritual well-being. You need to find peace within yourself, understanding that true strength comes from compassion and a willingness to forgive.

Yes or No

For a yes or no question, the Five of Swords is generally a ‘no,’ showing that the situation in question may lead to more conflict than resolution. It cautions against proceeding with actions that might escalate tension or result in a hollow victory. Instead, it advises reassessing the situation and considering approaches that promote understanding and peace.

Book Recommendation – How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie

If you feel like trying to outdo everyone is a problem for you, then you definitely need to read this book. Not only will it help you gain the necessary skills to deal with people, reach common ground and turn enemies into friends, it will also help you see how you may look in certain situations which is truly eye opening.

The Five Of Swords Reversed Meaning

The theme of reconciliation is at the forefront with the Five of Swords reversed. You may find opportunities to mend broken relationships or to address unresolved issues that have been sources of tension. It encourages you to take the first step towards healing, even if it feels daunting. Reconciliation requires openness and vulnerability, but it also offers the chance for renewed connections and mutual understanding. Remember, it’s never too late to extend an olive branch and to work towards peace and harmony.

Making amends and addressing past resentments are significant aspects of this reversed card. You might be feeling the weight of words left unsaid or actions that have caused harm. The Five of Swords reversed urges you to confront these feelings, to express regret and remorse where necessary, and to seek forgiveness from those you’ve wronged. This process is not just about making peace with others but also about finding forgiveness for yourself, allowing you to move forward without the burden of guilt.

Compromise is a key message of the Five of Swords reversed. Highlighting the importance of finding common ground, even in situations where it seems impossible. Compromise doesn’t mean giving up your values or conceding defeat; rather, it’s about recognizing the value of the relationship over the need to be right. Approach conflicts with a mindset of mutual respect, understanding that the best solutions are often those that acknowledge the needs and perspectives of all parties involved.

Five Of Swords Reversed Meaning

However, the reversed Five of Swords also carries a warning against holding onto feelings of regret and remorse to the point where they hinder your ability to move forward. While it’s important to acknowledge and learn from your mistakes, dwelling on them can prevent you from embracing new opportunities and experiences. The card reminds you that sometimes it’s best to cut your losses when necessary, to accept the lessons learned, and to focus on building a more positive future.

Occasionally, the Five of Swords reversed can hint at underlying feelings of revenge or the desire to retaliate for past hurts. It’s crucial to recognize these impulses and to understand the destructive potential they hold. Seeking revenge only perpetuates the cycle of conflict and pain. So rise above such tendencies, to seek healing and resolution instead of further discord.

So in short, the Five of Swords reversed offers a path towards peace and reconciliation after a period of conflict and turmoil. It encourages you to embrace the possibilities of making amends, to prioritize compromise and understanding, and to let go of past resentments and regrets. By focusing on healing and positive resolutions, you can transform the energy of conflict into one of growth and renewed connections.

Love and Relationships

The Five of Swords when it comes to love and relationships signals a turning point where healing and reconciliation become possible. The opportunity to resolve lingering conflicts and to rebuild trust through open dialogue and vulnerability, is now available, but you have to lose your ego to take it. For couples, this may involve addressing issues that have caused friction, acknowledging each other’s feelings, and working together to strengthen the bond. If you’re single, it’s about letting your guard down so you can actually let potential love interests in.

Career and Finances

For your career and finances, the reversal of the Five of Swords points to resolving workplace conflicts and finding better ways to address competition. It’s a reminder that achieving success doesn’t have to come at the expense of relationships with colleagues. Instead, working together is going to be beneficial for everyone. Financially, this card suggests that it may be time to reassess past decisions and to make amends for any unfair actions, aiming for integrity in all transactions and negotiations.


Spiritually, the Five of Swords reversed encourages healing from past wounds and moving beyond conflicts that have hindered your growth. It’s an invitation to release resentments and to forgive yourself and others, freeing your spirit to evolve. This card challenges you to figure out the lessons these conflicts have taught you and to use this wisdom to foster a deeper sense of peace and compassion within yourself. It’s a call to embrace a path of forgiveness and understanding, recognizing that true strength lies in the ability to heal and to offer kindness even in the face of adversity.

Yes or No

For a yes or no question, the Five of Swords reversed leans towards a ‘yes,’ especially if the inquiry relates to overcoming disputes, healing relationships, or finding resolution. It indicates that now is an opportune time for mending fences and working towards positive outcomes. It suggests that with a willingness to address issues openly and to seek compromise, you can move beyond past conflicts towards a more peaceful and cooperative future.

Book Recommendation – Forgive For Good: A Proven Prescription For Health And Happiness by Dr Frederic Luskin

If you’re like me, swallowing your pride and forgiving someone can be quite difficult. But if you’ve drawn the Five of Swords reversed, then you’ll need to swallow your pride in some capacity to find common ground and move forward. And with that in mind, I’d definitely recommend this book to help you do so! Not only will it show you how to forgive someone, but also the healing power it brings when you do!

Journaling Prompts For The Five Of Swords

If you feel like there is a lot of conflict in your life right now, then it’s definitely a good time to think about the affect it’s going to have on you and your relationships. And with that in mind, here are some journaling prompts you can use to help you!

  1. Think about the most important lesson you’ve learned from a past conflict. How has this lesson influenced your approach to disagreements and challenges?
  2. What’s your preferred method for resolving conflicts. Do you tend towards compromise, standing your ground, or seeking external mediation? What has been most effective?
  3. Think about a relationship that has been strengthened or deepened through overcoming conflict. What did this process teach you both?
  4. Think about the most important lesson you’ve learned from a past conflict. How has this lesson influenced your approach to disagreements and challenges?
  5. Write about a conflict that remains unresolved. What steps can you take towards finding a peaceful resolution?
  6. Think about a victory you achieved that came with significant costs. What was the impact on your relationships or personal well-being?

Final Message Of The Five Of Swords

Release the grip on victory. Don’t cling to conquests, past or present. True triumph lies in letting go, not holding onto battles won or lost.

Seek peace over dominance. Power lies not just in victory, but in learning and growing. Carry the lessons, not the scars.

Forge a new path. Turn swords into pens, anger into creation. Channel your energy into building something beautiful, something that lasts.


So, to recap, The Five of Swords upright is all about the potential losses in a win-at-all-costs scenario. It warns of the emotional and relational tolls of disputes, urging consideration of what truly matters beyond mere victory. It reminds you to pick battles wisely and consider the broader impacts of your choices.

Reversed, it shows there is a shift towards reconciliation and healing. It encourages making amends, embracing compromise, and releasing past resentments for personal growth and for bonding with those you love. You are asked to move beyond previous conflicts towards mutual understanding and peace, underscoring the importance of addressing unresolved issues and letting go of the desire for retaliation.

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About the author

Hey! I'm Antonio, Owner & Editor of the Fools Journey!

I've been reading Tarot Cards/Getting my tarot read for over 10 years now! For me, what started out as a bit of fun and scepticism, has since grown into such a passion for me.

Tarot Cards are not just a great source of inspiration, but also comfort, and I love using them to help get in touch with the higher powers that are here to guide me through life!

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