The suit of Swords, Blades or Spades represents the masculine element of air. Swords are connected to thought, communication and all kinds of mental functions and dysfunctions – ‘head stuff’, if you like. This suit, in certain decks, is switched with Wands to represent fire.
If Wands are the initial spark of creation and Cups are the nurturers, then Swords are the application of logic and truth. Using the example of a new project, Swords would be the force that weighs and balances its future viability.
Without the qualities inherent in Swords, humans would never have become conscious thinkers and developed self-awareness or the ability to communicate via language, let alone benefit from such things as literature and technology.
Swords have featured in ceremonies throughout the ages. One traditional blade is the ceremonial Curtana, which is used in the coronation of monarchs in Britain. Its end is blunt and squared off, and it is designated the ‘Sword of Mercy’. It was first documented in 1236 when it was used for the coronation of Queen Eleanor of Provence.
Viking Ulfberht swords, originating in the 9th-11th centuries, have been found in significant numbers throughout Europe. Close analysis reveals that they are made of crucible steel. Steel of this quality was not produced in Europe for another 800 years because the technology was unavailable. One possible explanation is that the steel was imported from Asia.
The three air signs connected with this suit are Aquarius, Gemini, and Libra.
Swords personalities are concise. They do not waste time or utter empty words. Their thinking is mainly logic-based. They can be impatient, but at the same time they are fair and will give any person, idea or concept the opportunity to convince them. Therefore, they are flexible and not set in their ways.
They are cooler characters than Wands and take the time to assess their options rather than rushing into situations impetuously. Swords are, nevertheless, active people. They are unemotional for the most part, although certain cards include water in their imagery, showing that emotion and thought have a unique connection. It’s difficult to have emotions without having the thoughts first.
It’s tempting to view the whole suit of Swords as negative. However, in every card there is a solution, advice or a way forward. In each case, this will involve thinking things through objectively or, indeed, to stop endless rehashing of the same thoughts that keep you caught in a loop.
Swords and Love
A Swords person will never fall in love at first sight. They like to make sure their passion is tempered, and that the other person is genuine. They can be romantic, but you need to know that it comes from the head and not from the heart. That doesn’t make their love any the less worthwhile.
Once committed, they are in for the long haul. However, they do apply logic to all situations and, if they think that the relationship is breaking down with no hope of reconciliation, they will end it. Their view is that it is preferable to finish it quickly as, in the long term, it is kinder to all parties.
Swords characters often attract other Swords people; they form intellectual, aloof couples who have an unassailable air of superiority.
Swords at Work
Swords people are the logical, analytical thinkers. They excel at IT, law, medical studies, technical writing, history, academia and forensics. They are ambitious and will view their career progression as a series of upward steps. They are quite ruthless in their aims to achieve the top jobs. Once they get there, Swords bosses are demanding but usually fair.
Swords and Money
Swords are shrewd with money and appreciate the power a lot of money can confer. They analyze every investment opportunity and read all the small print. Their career ambitions ensure that money is plentiful. They are never impulse buyers and always have enough set aside for emergencies.
Swords and Spirituality
Swords are fascinated by the workings of the mind. Therefore, they tend to see that all spirituality starts in their head. They apply logic and need to see or feel some benefit from any spiritual practice.
Several Swords Cards in a Tarot Reading
Many Sword cards in a reading indicate that the issue lies in the realm of thought and communication. They tell you to set aside your emotions for a while and apply rational logic.
One example: in a reading about weight loss, Swords will advise that the problem lies in the mind. It’s about the way you think about food that causes the issue.
In another example where the question is to do with a conflict with another person, Swords might tell you to be objective, put yourself in their place and imagine what they might be thinking.
Swords and Wands (air and fire): Logic plus passion is a powerful combination.
Swords and Cups (air and water): Blinding clarity with emotional persuasion.
Swords and Pentacles (air and earth): Don’t expect this person to change their view.
Negative (Reversed) Swords
Some cards in this suit are perceived as negative. Therefore when reversed, their message is often softened. In some cases, it’s even more negative, depending on the question and surrounding cards.
Negative swords traits include scattered thinking, emotional detachment, arrogance, disdain, lack of people skills, manipulation, lying, treachery, verbal abuse, criticism, nagging and paranoia.
Suit of Swords Keywords
Ace of Swords – insight, clarity, understanding
Two of Swords – guarding one’s thoughts, time to think, refusing to see the truth
Three of Swords – communication mix-up, tangled thoughts, misunderstanding
Four of Swords – forced rest, no thought, meditation
Five of Swords – mental defeat, resistance, picking one’s battles, verbal bullying
Six of Swords – recovery, moving on, hope, relief
Seven of Swords – deception, theft, conspiracy, recovering own property
Eight of Swords – mentally trapped, feeling stuck, distorted perception
Nine of Swords – anguish, sleeplessness, circular thinking, unable to see a solution
Ten of Swords – ending, defeat, total overwhelm, mental breakdown, new beginning
Page of Swords – messenger, carrier of ideas, original thinker
Knight of Swords – zealot, activist, astuteness, intellectual warrior
Queen of Swords – truth seeker, impartial but understanding, fairness
King of Swords – judge, communicator, professional, of good moral standing.