Five of Swords Meaning: Love, Life, Career, & Relationships

five of swords meaning

Are you curious about what the Five of Swords meaning is telling you about your life, love, career, and relationships? You’re in luck because you’re about to find out. In this post, you are going to learn why this is both a positive and a negative card, as well as how to make it work in your favor. We’ll also touch base with the following: 

  • Is the Five of Swords reversed meaning a negative omen?
  • How do you turn the tables for the reversed 5 of Swords in your favor?
  • Should you dwell or let go of the 5 of Swords as feelings?
  • What do you do when you get a Five of Swords in a love reading?

So let’s go right in and learn the Five of Swords tarot card meaning!

Five of Swords Tarot Card Meaning: An Overview 

We start off with the Five of Swords tarot card meaning by discussing the role of the number five. The number five pertains to a moment of conflict or challenge, while the swords are related to the mind. It’s about beliefs, ideas, mindsets, and expectations. 

In the image is a man by the seashore. He has several swords with him and he has this arrogant look on his face as if he has forcefully taken these swords from other people, totally against their will. He just won all the battles (or so he thought) and is feeling quite good about himself. Then you see the two people walking away. 

Upright Five of Swords Meaning (General)

When we talk about the battle for the mind we are referring to ideas, beliefs, and perspectives, learning to decipher who is right and wrong. Basically, this man believes that he won something and his demeanor is evidence of how smug he is. However, the sky above him looks gloomy, suggesting that this may not have been a worthy battle. And even if he thinks he won something, that might not necessarily be the case. 

Yes, he obviously won the swords, but what has he truly gained from this? Are there things that became more possible and expansive after this fight? The thing is, sometimes people get too connected to their ideas and beliefs, not realizing that these are merely tools. They are there to help us achieve something, but there is no inherent value in itself unless they serve a purpose. 

Whenever people get into conflicts they have a tendency to use their belief, but they don’t see it as a tool, it becomes their main purpose. But that’s when trouble starts. When you get too attached to a belief or idea you’re barely making any sense. It’s not making people’s lives better around you, in fact, it’s dwindling their lives, dwindling their world. 

Your challenge then is whether or not your mind is capable of releasing these tools effectively, and shouldn’t be about whether you can win a fight or not. The people who win this challenge are actually the two men in this card. They walked away recognizing that continuing with this conflict is not doing any good for anybody. It’s neither productive nor expansive. They didn’t defend or use their tools because they know it was simply not worth it. 

The trick is learning to discern which conflicts are worth having. Look within yourself whenever you’re in a disagreement with somebody. Whenever you feel compelled to fight, try backing up a little and remember that no tool is more important than your own wisdom and well-being. 

Earth-Based Reading

There are going to be lots of conflicts in the workplace. Plenty of ego-bashing is going on, and things are starting to get a bit out of hand. Control issues, asserting dominance, and authority are one thing. But there is also backstabbing, slander, and gossip going on. This could have something to do with customers and clients, and the lack of discretion from both sides. 

Air-Based Reading 


The upright Five of Swords indicates that you may be engaging in serious fights on a verbal level, and it can quickly turn physical if the tower card is close by. There is also a chance that you may be trying to hurt people’s feelings with no solution in mind. You may have done something to cause somebody to be so mad at you. 

Make an effort to explain yourself. Know that the person will have every right to feel angry. However, you shouldn’t exert so much effort trying to defend your ego. Because on the flip side, someone may also go out of their way to get you angry, but it’s not your job to punish them right there and then. 

Water-Based Reading

In this reading, there’s a situation where one or both members of a partnership are trying to punish one another. They are not interested in teaching, nurturing, or healing the situation, they are simply out for revenge. Clearly, they are out to get each other. For single people, this card indicates that you may not be finding somebody that you will want at this point in time. It can be someone who gave you an amazing first impression, but unfortunately, this impression did not last. 

Spiritual Advice 

The upright Five of Swords is telling you that you have every right to protect yourself. However, you don’t have the right to go out and aggressively confront people simply because they did something to inconvenience you. Toughen up your ego a bit and try not to make everything about you. 

Reversed Five of Swords Meaning (General)

When you reverse the energy of this card you can visualize the man dropping the swords, turning around, going back, and talking to the other two men. He is not afraid to make amends and apologize. Dropping the swords depicts dropping his fixed view or opinion on a certain matter, idea, or decision. When he goes up to those men to talk, this means he is willing to see other people’s points of view aside from his own. 

Now the man is interested in other people’s thoughts and opinions and now wants to come to a mutual conclusion that will serve everyone in good stead. It is a coming together, working towards reconciliation as the men also turn around to walk and meet the man halfway. They figured if we could all keep a cool head we can somehow work things out. It’s a positive card since it means a crisis can still be averted. 

Earth-Based Reading

In an earth-based reading, this reversed tarot card is turned into a positive note since it could have blown up but didn’t. People are starting to see things clearly now and the chances of them finally getting along are high.  Everyone is giving out apologies, with lots of hugs and handshakes, and everything is turning out okay. 

Air-Based Reading 

The reversed Five of Swords card indicates a long and drawn-out discussion, but people are no longer afraid to express their thoughts and feelings since everybody has calmed down. Things are being done with a conscious effort, to be honest, and articulate, and with careful consideration of other people’s emotions. Gossip and slander are totally out of the picture at this point. 

Everyone is ready to forgive and forget, and hear other people’s side apart from their own. This is not about making sure others are hurt or punished for the things they have said and done. It is a time for everyone to learn something good about this experience. If you play the part of the mediator, it is imperative that you remind everyone involved about it. 

Water-Based Reading 


The reversed Five of Swords meaning for couples pertains to a good chance of them knowing each other again. They may be hurt, angry, and terribly upset. However, if they are not scared to be vulnerable and show what they truly feel, and discuss what is bringing all this mess, it could actually make their relationship so much stronger. For single folks, this can be a positive sign. It does not necessarily mean you will find love immediately, but there’s a possibility you can meet someone that you would want to stick around. Just take your time and start out as friends. Don’t rush and just go with the flow. 

Spiritual Advice 

For this to work out in your favor, you have to make sure that no matter what you do, regardless of how hurt, angry, or upset you are, never lose your cool. There is a great chance that you can turn things around for the better, as long as you don’t put your foot in your mouth. 

Alternative Interpretation for the Five of Swords Meaning

In an alternative interpretation, this card could mean failure, a losing battle, or a no-win situation. This can refer to the people that you were relying on but turned their backs on you. You feel let down or abandoned by people, bosses, colleagues, or organizations that you thought would always be there to support you. 

This caused you to feel a deep sense of turbulence, an internal and external turmoil. You might have messed up, or other people could have messed up. Because of this, all is lost on this battlefield. During a defeat, your best course of action is to accept defeat. You may have to leave behind some people behind, even those you cared about deeply and loved. 

Careerwise you may have to leave some ideas behind and move on. You may have thought they were workable, even amazing, but as hard as it seems, now is the time to quit and give up that dream. The more you insist, the more you will lose. At some point you will need to accept that failure is part of life. 

When it comes to love it pertains to you finally moving on. You need to stop pursuing this person. Now is the time to leave, withdraw, and move forward. Allow yourself to examine why you lost, to debrief this experience. Unpack all this excess baggage so your journey will not be slow and dragging. 

Final Thoughts On the Five of Swords Meaning

This card shows that someone is looking for a fight in this war zone. It cannot be avoided, but sadly this conflict is anything but equal, and can even be unfair or abusive. Fortunately, you have a choice. Either you go on with this unfair fight, or learn from this situation and simply walk away. Clearly, the better option is to learn from the situation. Insisting to fight on this battle will most likely end in defeat. Even if you’re the one who comes out on top, your victory will feel hollow and in the end, you will lose more than you will gain. 

If you find yourself to be the bully in this unfair scenario, then by all means stop. Acknowledge that there is a deeper reason from within why you are doing this. Address this issue instead of taking it out on everyone around you. For those in a relationship, it may indicate an abusive situation. Know that not every relationship is meant to last, it is, however, always meant to teach you something. 

As painful as it sounds, you are just as responsible for allowing this bad behavior as your partner is. If you will never tolerate this awful behavior from a family member, friend, boss, or stranger, why tolerate it from your intimate partner? Quit staying in this unhappy situation unless both of you are doing the work to make things better. Because everyone deserves to be treated with love, dignity, and respect. 

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