What does the five of swords tarot card mean?

Main image for Five of Swords

The five of swords is part of the Minor Arcana deck of tarot cards and is part of the Swords suit.

Keywords: Defeat, betrayal, failure


All of the Fives in the Tarot deck tell tales of conflict, and the Five of Swords is unfortunately no different. However, unlike the other Fives, the Five of Swords brings a message of almost certain defeat or failure. During the conflict, you may have pushed others away from you and isolated yourself, so even though it may have felt like you technically won the fight, you may have lost in another way by hurting those you love.

You may feel as though the world is against you, and you need to decide what is more important to you; winning, or your relationships. Often, this card suggests a betrayal by somebody you trusted. This may be a friend who stabbed you in the back, or a lover who was disloyal. It’s important to look at other cards in the reading to get more information about this.

Reverse Keywords: Change, cutting losses, moving on

Reverse meaning

In reverse, the Five of Swords suggests that you have a strong desire for a time of conflict to be over. You have been fighting for too long and you want to move on to happier times. You are willing to forgive those who have hurt you and forget their wrongdoings. Some time may have passed since the initial conflict and you are able to see things from a new, clearer perspective. You are willing to accept your share of the blame and apologise. Now is a good time to reach out to people you may have hurt, and wave the white flag.

Other Minor Arcana Cards (in the Swords suit)