The Tarot suit of Swords is most often associated with the element of Air, although some traditions use Fire for Swords and Air for Wands.
When we think of the Swords as connected to the element of Air, we understand the suit of Swords to relate to thought, communication, and integrity.
While all tarot cards can speak in unique ways within specific readings, it is helpful to have some framework through which to understand the cards generally.
Beyond helping us with our tarot divination vocabulary, our understanding of each card can serve as a guide in understanding ourselves.
When we think of the Suit of Swords as related to Air, and therefore the powers of mind, we find within that suit the power to heal the mind from its greatest hurts.
Those hurts are illustrated in the cards themselves – the sorrow of the Three of Swords, for instance, or the anxiety of the Eight.
Indeed, we can see each of the Swords cards as illustrative of a particular state of mind.
The Ace of Swords can depict a fresh new idea, or a clear communication, or a strong commitment to the truth. This card reminds us to do the right thing, and to say the true thing.
At the same time, the Ace of Swords can depict the mindset that pigheadedly believes it is correct without question.
The Two of Swords is the card of “Peace” in the Crowley-Harris Thoth Tarot. In the Waite-Smith image, we see a blind-folded person who has crossed off her heart, and is balancing two different ideas. This card can remind us to be at peace, even during times of indecision. Sometimes, this card can indicate our own unwillingness to take a stand, or to make a choice.
The Three of Swords is typically the card of “sorrow”. It’s often the card of the lover’s triangle, depicting a sense of betrayal. Sometimes this card can indicate a choice to hang on to our wounds, rather than to let them heal.
The Four of Swords is the card of rest and retreat. Often this card will appear to tell you to let something rest, rather than to continue picking at it with your mind or words.
Unlike the previous card, Five of Swords calls us to battle. Sometimes, we must sharpen our minds for a fight. This card tells us to prepare to fight to win, and to not back down.
The Six of Swords reminds us that a logical mind makes better choices than an emotional mind.
With the Seven of Swords, we begin the most painful journey of the suit. The Seven of Swords is traditionally the “Thieves’ Card,” and suggests a lack of trust. This card can depict a lack of trust for a person or a situation. It can also indicate a sense of not trusting oneself, or even a feeling of guilt.
Typically, people can feel guilt for their human behaviors. Sometimes the Seven of Swords reveals that sense of self-loathing, or a lack of self-acceptance.
This can lead to the crippling anxiety that we see in the Eight of Swords, and the depression, worry and insomnia that we see in the Nine of Swords.
In the Ten of Swords, we see the damage created by unkind words, negative thoughts and unhelpful beliefs.
We can work with the suit of Swords by meditating with a card that describes our current state of mind, and visualizing our solution within the image. For instance, picture yourself in the Nine of Swords, reach up from your bed, grab a sword, get out of bed, and face your demons!
We can work with the suit of Swords by considering the advice that each card gives us. For instance, The Two, Four and Six caution us to be even-tempered and fair-minded.
We can use the difficult cards of the suit of Swords to acknowledge our wounds – a first step in healing.
How do you use the Swords to facilitate healing?