In the Five of Swords, a sly-looking man picks up three swords from the ground. He glances over his shoulder at two men who are walking away with their shoulders slouched, conveying a sense of sadness and loss. Two more swords are strewn across the grass, suggesting a battle has been fought and lost. The sky is cloudy and tumultuous, a sign that not all is well even though the fighting has stopped.
The Five of Swords turns up when you have had a falling out, disagreement or conflict, and you are walking away with a sense of sadness and loss. You may be upset and resentful over the heated words you said and now wish you could take back. ‘Bad blood’ and a general ‘icky-ness’ hang over you as your relations have turned sour.
Even if you won the argument or came out the apparent victor, you realise that you have lost as much as (or more than) your opponent. This battle has cost you trust, respect or dignity, and isolated you. As you try to pick up the pieces and set the conflict behind you, you find it‘s more difficult than you thought; others have lost faith in you and are keeping their distance. You will need to decide whether your point of view is so important to you that you’re willing to put your relationships in jeopardy, or if you can compromise and see eye-to-eye.
The advice of the Five of Swords is to pick your battles. You may be tempted to fight every conflict to ensure you get your way, to prove that you are right, or defend yourself when you are feeling challenged or threatened. However, most experts agree, choosing your battles wisely is a much better way of life than engaging in every disagreement. Not only will it lead to a more peaceful existence, but your interpersonal relationships are likely to come out stronger.
The Five of Swords can often indicate that you are competing with others on the path to success. You see them as threats to your own happiness, and so you seek to win at any cost.
If you have been engaged in a conflict and can see it taking its toll, the Five of Swords is an invitation to apologise. The longer you brood, or the more you try to prove you were right, the more challenging the relationship will become. Be ready to say you were wrong and make amends. There’s no sense in trying to justify your behaviour; just let it go and move on. Look for common ground with those you have been fighting with, or seek forgiveness so you can put this behind you.
The Five of Swords may also point to failure. It shows that, despite your best efforts, you are likely to be beaten or come out as the loser. If you allow yourself to become disillusioned after such a loss, then you will find yourself on the path to increased ruin and torment. Accept your defeat, and learn from it. Be smarter and wiser next time.