This card’s image shows the water of intuition, the swords of thought, and the ineffective use of an oar. At best, this is an internal journey, possibly through guided imagery. At worst, it could represent drowning (literally or figuratively), or the feeling of being stuck.
If you receive this card you might feel stuck or fearful. You might find it hard to make a new decision, or see someone else’s perspective. Do you feel like you’re paddling upstream, like everything takes so much more effort? Do you see others as “jumping ship,” and leaving you behind with a big mess? It’s time to go within to solve this problem.
You are being called to change your position. Pay close attention to the other cards in the spread. With Knights and the Chariot, you are being asked to move quickly. That means you don’t have time to wallow in your own mental perspective. Do you see the Eight of Cups in the spread? Then you need to leave. There are no more benefits to staying. Does the Inverted Six of Swords follow the Lovers? Your relationship is probably ending. Do you see the Fool or the World in the spread? Then you need to get out into the world and travel. Change your position, and watch your environment change around you. Until then, you’re just stuck.
The Six of Swords adds motion to the following cards.
Fool: When the Fool and Six of Swords (spades in other decks) come together in a spread, it indicates travel.
Lovers: If any cards from the suit of Swords (spades in other decks) come after the Lovers, it indicates the end of a relationship.
Chariot: When the Chariot and Six of Swords (spades in other decks) come together in a spread, it indicates the need for quick action.
World: When the World and Six of Swords (spades in other decks) come together in a spread, it indicates long distance travel.
Eight of Cups: When the Eight of Cups (hearts in other decks) and Six of Swords (spades in other decks) come together in a spread, it emphasizes the need to leave a situation.
Knights: When any of the Knights and Six of Swords (spades in other decks) come together in a spread, it indicates the need for quick action.
The Suit — Swords or Spades
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.
The Number — 6
Sixes represent support, communication, and perfection.
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