The swords in inversion often represent our internal thoughts, the “old tapes” we play over and over. The upright Five of Swords can represent a distracted mind or scattered thinking. In extreme cases this inversion can indicate a dissociative disorder — fragmentation on a deep, psychological level. If that is the situation, professional psychiatric help is needed.
The more positive interpretation of this card is “burying the hatchet,” ending a conflict or dispute. If that sounds like your situation, it is time to “clear the air” and reintroduce love and spirit into the relationship. This is not the time to defend yourself. This is your opportunity to surrender to the relationship and let it heal. These times often come with some regret. Let yourself feel it. You will eventually work through it and integrate into yourself. Guilt, remorse, and regret teach us how to live in community. This card is an invitation to rejoin yours.
The Five of Swords creates a no win situation in combination with a few cards.
Magician (Cobbler): When the Five of Swords is combined with the Magician (Cobbler in some decks), someone is trying to trick or deceive.
Hierophant: When the Five of Swords is in combination with the Hierophant, it suggests some misuse of power, deception, or manipulation in the spiritual realm.
Lovers: If any cards from the suit of Swords come after the Lovers, it indicates the end of a relationship.
The Hanged Man: When the Five of Swords is combined with the Hanged Man, it represents a traitor.
The Suit — Swords
The sword cuts and dissects. Swords represents the element of air. They are intellect. They are double-sided, which allows them to both damage and heal. The images in the suit might be alarming to some, but they are not simply aggressive. Yes, we can use blades to inflict pain, but we also use them to carve, shave, and trim.
Number — 5
Five is a number of conflict, change, and opportunity.
There is nothing to fear with an inversion. Mary K. Greer explains in her book, The Complete Book of Tarot Reversals, that an inverted card may be interpreted in one or more of these twelve ways:
- Blocked or Resisted
- Delayed, Difficult, Unavailable
- Inner, Unconscious, Private
- New or Dark Moon (if you are reading cards from a round deck)
- Breaking Through, Overturning, Refusing, Changing Direction
- The Opposite of the Upright Meaning, or Lacking
- Misused or Misdirected
- The Upright Meaning Backward
- A Rectification or Cure
- Magical, Unconventional, or Humorous