Six of Swords Explained - Upright & Reversed Meanings
Last Updated: December 1, 2022
The Six of Swords is the sixth card in the suit of Swords (also known as the suit of blades) and one of the fifty-six suit cards from the minor arcana. In divinatory tarot, the Suit of Swords is associated with thought, intellect, mental strength, and integrity. They can also represent conflict, hardship, and misfortune.
Divination practices such as cartomancy can help us make decisions, offer guidance, and help us tune into our intuition when we are at a crossroads in our lives. Understanding the meanings of each tarot card can help you sharpen your interpretative skills so you can get the most out of your readings.
The Six of Swords is the sixth card in the airy suit of Swords. The sixes are often a sign of recovery and search for stability after the turbulence of the five, and this six in particular is about seeking that calm.
In this article, we will discuss the meanings of the Six of Swords in various tarot reading contexts as well as the different symbols and nuances that can be found within this court card.
Pictorial Symbolism in the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot deck
The artworks from the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot deck contain deeper esoteric meanings that tarotists love to decipher.
The Six of Swords shows a man paddling a boat containing an adult and a child. Both are hunched over and covered, possibly hiding the hardships they’ve faced in the place they’re leaving, or as a sign of their exhaustion.
Six swords stand upright inside the boat, which no doubt will add weight and slow them down. The waters are rough where they are coming from, but we can see clear waters in the direction they’re heading in, suggesting calming and more positive times to come.
The Six of Swords key correspondences
Transition, healing, letting go, moving on, relief, guidance, calmer times
Baggage, feeling stuck, holding onto the past, slow healing, instability
|Yes or No|
Pluto, Saturn, Uranus
Aquarius, Mercury in Aquarius, Jan 31st - Feb 8th
What does the upright Six of Swords mean in the Tarot?
The Six of Swords represents an important transition or journey. There is no time left to wait, the time is now to move away from what isn’t working or what is holding you back and to trust that there is a better future ahead. Even if you have made the decision to move forward and make these changes, you might still be holding onto baggage and pain from your past.
You are heading to a better future but your journey will be made harder if you cannot acknowledge the journey so far and heal old wounds. This is a difficult but necessary journey and there is healing and letting go to be done but you are on the right path and moving towards a more secure and stable life.
When pulled in the upright position, the Six of Swords is associated with transition, healing, letting go, moving on, relief, guidance, and calmer times
What does the upright Six of Swords mean in a love reading
Pulling the Six of Swords in a love reading suggests your moving into a new phase of your relationship. If you’re single this might mean moving away from your past relationships and finally letting go so that you’re able to move on and start something new with yourself as a priority.
If you’re in a relationship this is a sign that things are going to calm down and become more peaceful, especially if you’ve been going through a time of struggle or conflict. The stability you’ve been wanting is due.
The important message that comes with the Six of Swords is allowing yourself to let go and trust in what comes next – keep looking forward.
What does the upright Six of Swords mean in a career reading?
If you’ve been in a challenging period with your career, this is a good sign that things are changing for the better. You might have been juggling a lot of responsibilities, dealing with high pressure or conflict that have made progressing in your career difficult, but the load will lighten soon.
This might take a decision on your part though, moving towards an opportunity or a shift in responsibilities, or letting go of some commitments that you don’t really need. There is a chance now to make these changes and find some peace and calm in your work life, and you might find that you have support around you from people ready to help if you ask.
What does the upright Six of Swords mean in a health reading?
The Six of Swords in a health reading suggests you have been making changes and getting the support you need to improve your health and it is going to start paying off. This card really does symbolise healing and stability for you.
You might still be feeling the effects of a challenging time healthwise, so it’s important to rest and take it easy before you return to your usual self, but this is a sign things are getting better and will continue to improve.
The Six of Swords as feelings/emotions
If you are asking the tarot how someone feels about you, pulling the Six of Swords suggests they feel safe and secure with you. Their relationship with you is still evolving and they might not feel sure of their feelings for you, which might have more to do with their own past than it does with you, but they are curious to see how it develops.
The Six of Swords as a person
As a personality archetype, the Six of Swords represents someone who is intelligent and dynamic. They are good at problem-solving and naturally make changes to move forward and improve their situation. They are also often quick to offer help to others, sharing opportunities and wanting to take others along for their success.
This person might have experienced challenges and trauma but they have been able to move through it and heal. That experience will have shaped who they are as a person and how they view and move through the world.
The Six of Swords as advice
If you are asking the tarot for advice regarding a specific situation in your life, drawing the Six of Swords means that it’s time to let go and surrender to change. You are in a transitional period and things are moving and changing, but in order to move forward you must be ready to leave behind where you are now.
Take your time to focus inward and heal yourself first so you don’t continue to carry the pain of your past into your future.
What is the zodiac or astrological sign associated with the Six of Swords?
The Six of Swords is associated with the astrological sign of Aquarius. Aquarius is a fixed air sign and it is associated with logic, intellect and forward thinking. Aquarians often have a rebellious nature and are self-reliant with calm energy.
This reflects the Six of Swords message of looking forward with a vision of the future that is better than the turbulence of the present. Mercury in Aquarius, or Jan 31st – Feb 8th, is the tarot timing.
Is the Six of Swords a yes or no card?
The Six of Swords is generally a yes card, but it doesn’t necessarily have a strong yes energy. It can be seen as more neutral and a sign to surrender and trust in the process.
Below are some of my interpretations, as an experienced tarot practitioner, based on different types of questions:
- Will I get the job? Yes, if it is the right path for you it will come naturally, and will offer some stability to you.
- Is this new person in my life good for me? Yes, if they make you feel safe and like a calming energy, but be wary if they don’t offer these vibes to you.
- Will I achieve my current goals? Keep moving forward, and trust you’ll be where you need to be.
- Should I make that investment? Your finances might improve soon but be sure to keep your stability and security in any decision you make
- Should I start my own business? Yes, moving forward to start something new will be good for you
What does the reversed Six of Swords mean in the Tarot?
Pulling the reversed Six of Swords can suggest a resistance to change and being unable to move forward. Whether or not this is a conscious or subconscious decision, something is keeping you where you are and unable to move forward.
It’s not through lack of trying or wanting to move on, but something in your past or present needs your attention first. What is stopping you from truly moving forward? It could be unhealed pain or trauma, fear or wanting to keep a certain door open.
Know that at this point in order to move on and do the things you say you want to do, you have to let go of the past, fully.
When pulled in the reversed position, the Six of Swords is linked with baggage, feeling stuck, holding onto the past, slow healing, and instability.
What does the reversed Six of Swords mean in a love reading?
Pulling the reversed Six of Swords in a love reading suggests the past is very much present in your current relationships. Maybe it’s an ex that keeps reappearing, or pain from previous relationships that is affecting your ability to truly connect with someone new.
All your past relationships and experiences helped to shape the person you are today, and they can all hold value, but if they have too much power you will never be able to live in the present.
Come to terms with the past and release what you need to before you start something new with someone else.
What does the inverted Six of Swords mean in a career reading?
In a career reading, pulling the Six of Swords can mean you’re feeling trapped or like you’re not making progress in your career. This can be exhausting and disheartening, and might feel like no matter how hard you try, the problems just keep coming and you can’t see a way out.
It might be time to take a break and re-evaluate what you’ve been doing. Are you looking in the wrong places or fighting for something you don’t truly want?
Go with the flow for a little bit and see what starts to appear – follow what feels right to you and trust that no struggle can last forever.
What does the upside-down Six of Swords mean in a health reading?
In a health reading, the reversed Six of Swords suggests you’ve been struggling with your health for a little while. You might be feeling frustrated that you can’t do all the things you want to, or that you need extra help right now.
Recovery from illness might be taking longer than you’d like but you must allow your body, and mind, to heal in its own time.
Allow yourself all the rest and recovery time that you need without judgement.
In conclusion, the 6 of Swords tarot card is a powerful symbol of Transition, healing, letting go, moving on, relief, guidance, and calmer times. When this card appears in your reading, it is often a sign that you are going through a difficult period and it will soon pass. It suggests that you should trust the process, be patient, and take comfort in knowing that better times are ahead.
Despite its association with mysticism and occultism, the tarot has grown to become much more than a simple “fortune-telling” tool. For many tarot practitioners, it is a complex system made of symbolic imagery and psychological considerations (Jungian archetypes for example) that can be used for self-exploration, meditation, and personal transformation.
The 56 lesser arcana cards relate to the day-to-day events of our lives, the more mundane aspects of our existence. Even though that part of the tarot is about the “smaller picture”, it symbolizes the constant choices we make that shape our lives, our characters, and ultimately our destinies.
Have you ever had a reading where the 6 Of Swords appeared? What was the outcome? What does that card mean to you personally? How do you interpret this card in your own tarot practice?
Share your thoughts and experiences with me in the comments below. Additionally, If you want to know more about the different tarot cards, feel free to check out my complete list of all 78 tarot cards and their meanings.