back arrow

Tarot Cards Explained:
Five of Swords

What it can mean for your career, health, and lovelife

Author's Name
Written by
Free First Session

The Five of Swords is a tarot card that implies challenges, conflicts, and defeats. It introduces the concept of winning at all costs, even if the resultant victory is hollow or pyrrhic. This card appears during moments of tension, antagonism, or disagreement, serving as advice on how to handle these circumstances.


The Five of Swords card depicts a man holding three swords and two more swords lie on the ground. He wears a smug expression, signifying he has won the duel at expense of others. In the background, the sky is tumultuous, representing conflict and unrest, and defeated figures retreat away, indicating anguish. This card symbolizes the personal cost of victory, particularly one obtained through deceit or underhanded tactics.

General Meaning

The Five of Swords indicates a situation where one person has striven to come out on top, regardless of the consequences. It suggests an aggressive and selfish approach, which leads to strained relationships and potential loss of respect. You may have won the battle, but the war is far from over. It advises to take a step back and consider if this competitive attitude is causing more harm than good.

Love and Relationships

In a love reading, the Five of Swords suggests tension and disagreements within the relationship. It could indicate one partner trying to dominate or manipulate the other, leading to an unhealthy relationship. It is a call to open dialogue, practice empathy and seek mutual understanding. If you're single, this card suggests you may be holding onto past hurts and conflicts that are hindering your path to finding love.

Career and Finances

When this card appears in a career context, it implies conflicts, competition, or ill feelings at your workplace. You might be achieving your goals, but possibly through unfair means or at the expense of others. It's important to remember that success won't feel rewarding if it is tainted with regret or guilt. Financially, it can mean legal battles or disputes over money. Be cautious in your financial dealings to avoid losses.


The Five of Swords in a health reading might be a sign of stress due to conflict, defeat or a sense of helplessness. This increased stress can affect your mental and physical health. Personal well-being should be a priority over winning at any cost. It encourages seeking support and focusing on self-care in times of distress.

Spiritual Contexts

Spiritually, the Five of Swords can signify a loss of inner peace due to external conflicts. It reminds you to focus on your spiritual growth despite the chaos in your immediate surroundings. It suggests incorporating mindfulness and meditation practices to maintain balance and peace.

Past, Present, and Future

If drawn for the past position, this card indicates past conflicts or betrayals that have shaped your present. In the present position, it highlights ongoing disputes or conflicts that need to be addressed. As a future card, it forewarns of potential conflicts and advises handling them with wisdom and humility.

What it means if Reversed?

When reversed, the Five of Swords indicates a resolution of conflict or moving on from past disagreements. It suggests an end to hostility, taking responsibility for your actions, and seeking reconciliation. It could also mean a natural end of a conflict or tensions easing in your relationships.

What it means in Yes or No Reading?

In a yes or no reading, Five of Swords typically leans towards ‘no’. This card warns against the pursuit of a goal at all costs as it may not lead to the desired outcome.

To sum it up, the Five of Swords serves as a caution against selfish victory and the havoc it wreaks. It advises one to seek resolution, reconciliation, and balance, even in the face of conflict. It's a card that prompts introspection and consciousness of the impact of one's actions on others.

Explore More Tarot Cards

Select card to learn more