Six (VI) of Swords b

Six (VI) of Swords

6 of Swords Upright


Moving On, Slow Healing, Progress but slow, Calmer Waters, Finding a Safe Harbour, Shelter From The Storm, A Situation Calming Down, Overcoming Difficulties, Mental Stability, Mental Relief, Lethargy, Weary, Despondent, Lethargic, Feeling Defeated, Carrying Negative Attitudes or Beliefs, Pulling Back, Getting Out, Distance, Running Away, Making an Escape, An Accomplice, Ally, Assistance, Support, Guiding Hand, Steering, Spirit Guide, Guardian Angel, Transition, Journey, Travel, Travel Over Water, Holidays, Vacation, Smuggling, Boats,



When the Six of Swords appears in a Reading it often suggests that you are making an attempt to distance yourself from a situation of stress and turmoil in order to heal and rebalance. It is a positive indication that you are slowly moving from turbulent seas into calmer waters.  It is a time for leaving a troubled past behind to move positively into the future.  You can now see light at the end of the tunnel.  The Six of Swords asks you to trust that life will support you and bring new rewarding experiences. You must find belief in yourself and a new sense of purpose.  The Six of Swords marks a transition period in your life as you move from one state of mind to another.

The Six of Swords generally acknowledges that you may be feeling down or lethargic about your life.  You may feel that you have reached an all time low and feel quite negative about your future. Depression or the blues may leave you chronically fatigued. You may have little energy to complete any tasks and possibly feel deflated and defeated by life.  You may find it hard to function on a day to day basis and feel that you are just going through the motions of living.  It is very likely that you feel a failure or that the whole Universe has conspired against you.  Indeed you have been through a very tough time and are probably suffering from physical and mental exhaustion at this stage.  You may be in bad need of a break from your depressing situation.  A bit of distance from your problems at the moment could help you gain a new perspective.  It will also recharge your batteries.  A trip away or vacation could do wonders for you but it may not be enough unless you are prepared to address you real problems.

You may be trying to run away from your problems on the basis of ‘out of sight, out of mind’.  Remember that even though some of the conflict and stress in your life may be caused by others, there is a very good chance that you are one of your own worst enemies.  No matter where you go, you will probably find similar issues and situations develop over a period of time.  You must reflect on this and question the role you play in the ongoing drama of your life. You may be bringing problems from your past into your present and future.  You may have thought that you had dealt with certain issues, but in fact they are still there and are influencing everything you do, think and feel. They might be slowing down your progress.

In the Six of Swords, it very much depends on who you identify with in the imagery.  Are you the huddled Figure in the boat being helped or aided by another or are you the Figure who steers the boat?  You may be helping someone or in a position to help someone who is in difficulty, going through a crisis or drama.  Look around you, there may be someone close by who is going through an ordeal on their own.  Don’t be afraid to get involved for they may have no one else to turn to.  If it is you sitting in the boat, then there are others around who wish to help.  It may feel like a very lonely time but don’t keep your situation to yourself.  The Figure steering the boat in the Six of Swords is often symbolic of a Spirit Guide or Guardian Angel who stays close to you during times of trouble, comforting and guiding you through dark times.

If you have been ill, the Six of Swords can symbolise a slow recovery and eventual return to health.  Depending on surrounding cards, and with careful communication between you and the querant, it can also symbolise a gentle peaceful death after a long illness.

The Six of Swords is traditionally associated with travel and especially travel over water if accompanied by the Ace, 3, or 8 of Wands or Temperance Card. Holidays, vacations and trips of all sorts can be represented.  Generally, this holiday will be long overdue and much-needed.  The need to get away or take a break may not just be for recreational purposes but rather enforced due to stress and fatigue.  The vacation suggested would be one of rest and recuperation rather than action and excitement  so booking in for spa or holistic treatments would be a good idea along with plenty of light reading and lying around.  The break or vacation may not even be a physical one.  As a mental traveller you have the ability to detach or distance yourself from stress or worries so maybe taking up meditation or visualisation will give you the break you need.

The Six of Swords can highlight secrecy and underhand or illegal movement or activities. The presence of the Seven Swords, the Moon, The Devil, Magician Reversed or Reversed Court Cards might suggest the possibility. If you have been involved in any unsavoury business then you may think you are getting away with it but all it needs is one Sword (one of your lies), to be pulled out of the boat (your story) and the whole thing will come undone.  You may indeed end up in very deep water.  Consider your actions as the repercussions ( ripples in the water) will be felt by everyone around you and can have far-reaching effects.

In a Relationship Reading, this six would hopefully suggest that you are leaving behind a turbulent time in your relationship as communication opens the door to repair and progress. This is not going to happen overnight though. Progress will be slow but steady.  Much work will have to be done to repair any damage sustained, but for the moment the heightened state of stress and conflict is behind you.  Because of the negative stress and conflict surrounding most Sword Cards, this Six may indicate the moving away from an abusive relationship to heal.  Sometimes, we have to reach an all time low before we will take the required action and it is often when we are at our weakest that we find it in ourselves to do what has to be done.  The last straw will eventually break the camel’s back and no more can be endured.  This can highlight the beaten and broken person who runs with children and little possessions in search of safety and sanctuary.  Distance needs to be put between you and whoever it is that is causing you such harm and distress.  This Card reminds you that there is someone willing to help so do not try to do this all on your own.

If you have been going through separation or divorce court proceedings then you may feel a sense of defeat or that you have given in or surrendered to the other side.  Sometimes, a battle is just not worth it and you must decide what is most important.  Deciding to pull out, get out or give in does not mean that you have failed but comes down to how much more of yourself or your energy are you prepared to sacrifice to this situation.  Someone may be advising you to ‘take what you can and get out’ or ‘you are better of without him/her’ or ‘just walk away’. They may have a point.

If you have been bereaved then the Six of Swords shows signs that you are beginning to pick up the pieces of your life again and are finding a way to cope with your loss.  It brings the first glimpse of recovery.

The Six of Swords also come with a Spiritual Message for you in times of trouble and darkness.   You may feel steered or guided by unseen hands as your Spirit Guide or Guardian Angel walk by your side and comfort you in your despair.  You are not alone when this Card appears.

Unfortunately, The Six of Swords may highlight that you have a tendency to run from relationships at the first sign of trouble or conflict.  Instead of confronting the situation through communication and compromise you pack your bags and flee. Because you pay no attention to your role in relationship disasters, you are likely to come up against the same or similar problems in future relationships.  You may be entering a relationship with heavy baggage in tow or getting involved with someone who has had a troublesome past.

In a Career Reading, You may be slowly returning to work after a period of illness or unemployment.  The Six of Swords can indicate a slow but progressive move away from lean times. You may be eventually clearing debts and bills after securing employment. Travelling overseas to secure employment may be on the Cards or there could be a chance of securing an overseas position. This Card also suggests a career on the water.  You may be a sailor, work aboard a passenger ferry or charter private yachts.

In Business, the Six of Swords is a positive indication that you are coming out of a difficult period and although progress will be slow, you now have a chance to rebuild. You may still feel that you can barely keep your head above water but the worst is behind you and now you must look to the future.  However, you may need to go back and rework your original Business Plan as what you were doing did not work. Possibly the changing times need a new strategic approach so buck yourself up and get your mind working.

The Six of Swords imagery in relation to careers and employment highlights the current global recession.  People may be forced into travelling far from home to secure employment.  You may have to leave all you know behind just so that you can financially survive and provide for your family.  It demonstrates the typical emigration scenario but it also brings with it hope for the future. It may be a struggle and at times you will find the process hard and slow going but it is also a time of progression in your life.

There may be something underhand going on around you in the workplace or business.  If the Moon or Seven of Swords appear alongside there may be a secret, deceit or cover-up.  Check accounts and all paperwork. You or someone you know may be involved in illegal trafficking of goods/drugs etc.


6 of Swords Reversed


Not out of The Woods, Delays, No Progress, Mentally Stuck, Trapped, Restrictions, Hopeless, Lack of Faith/Belief, Lack of Help/Allies, Rocking the Boat,  Sink or Swim, Turning Around, Stopping in your Tracks, Deciding to Stand your Ground, Change of Plan, Heading for Trouble, Stirring up Trouble, Sticking your Oar in,  From the Frying Pan into the Fire, Running Away, Conflict, Stress, Overwhelmed, Too Much, Going Under, Nowhere to Run To, Instability, Negative, Revelations, Shame, Disgrace, Embarrassment, Infidelity, Eloping, Covering Up, Illegal Trafficking, Stormy Atmosphere, Disrupted Travel Plans, Return from Travel, Being Sent Away/Abandoned, Drowning, Boating Accidents, Floods

When The Six of Swords Reverses you may decide to turn the boat around and head back into the turbulent waters.  You have not finished with a particular issue regardless of how much you want to get away from it.  You may be angry now and fed up with being brow beaten and walked on by others.  There may be a conscious or unconscious desire now to bring things to a head and to do this you may have to force the situation or someone’s hand.  A situation often has to get worse before it can be resolved.  You may be deliberately trying to rock the boat in order to make waves and grab everyone’s attention. This may have you returning to the scene of Five to retrieve your Sword, take back your power and make one last stand.  You have had enough but are not yet ready to retreat.  There is a belief that something can be done to turn the situation around.  It might be time for everyone to open up and air their grievances about past experiences. Revelations may unleash a torrent of emotional reactions but is necessary in order to put the past behind and move on.

The Six of Swords Reversed can suggest that you are not yet out of the woods.  You are trying to distance yourself from your problems and make a fresh start but you do not seem to be making any progress.  You need to have a little more faith and belief.  Better times are coming if you can just hang on in there.

You are bound to feel mentally all over the place when the Six of Swords Reverses.  There is indecision and fear. You may feel duty bound or obligated to stay in a bad situation.  Mentally you could feel paralysed.  This could be from your own doing or as a result of programing or brainwashing from another.  You need someone to share your concerns with.  You need a friend or ally to confide or to seek advice from.  There is a fear of the new and unknown.  There is always an excuse or reason close at hand as to why you do  not or cannot change your situation.  You may choose to stay stuck and put up your lot rather than make a bid for freedom.  You may feel you have nowhere to run to. You will probably put the happiness of others before yourself.

You could feel broken and destroyed and powerless to help yourself.  Grief, bereavement and deep sadness engulf you leaving you drowning in depression and despair.  You may not be able to pull yourself out of the depths you have sunk to. Your health may also be suffering and chronic illness could be a constant plague. Professional help may be needed to bring you back to the surface so that you can breathe life into your body once more.

When the Six of Swords Reverses, restlessness can take over.  You may have been plugging up holes in your life or situation, just like the Six Swords in the boat, but now they have begun to spring leaks.  Water is seeping into your boat and you have two choices.  You can either go down with the boat or abandon it and attempt to swim for shore.  It can herald an attitude of ‘Sink or Swim’ as you realise that it is now or never.  You may even speed things up by actually pulling the Swords out yourself, to get things over and done so that you can be on your way.

The Six of Swords Reversed can suggest that you are the main orchestrator of drama in your life.  You create it and spread it around.  You deliberately make waves and stick your oar in at every opportunity.  You could be a trouble maker and gossip who has a nifty way of navigating the situation to stay out of the firing line. You may show little concern for those you drag into  your scenarios and schemes. Mentally you may not be very balanced and have a habit of sabotaging your own happiness.  Your negative mindsets and attitudes taint every area of your life and you are bound to blame others for the predicaments you get yourself into all the time.

You may have a habit of running away as soon as things get difficult.  Instead of finding calm waters and sanctuary you may unwittingly jump from the frying pan and into the fire finding yourself in much worse circumstances as your attitudes and beliefs work against you. Your thoughts and beliefs may begin to mirror your reality. If you are feeling negative then you will experience negative situations as you unwittingly draw them to you.  You may be stuck mentally and physically in a stressful situation. What you thought you had escaped from has caught up with you.

When the Six of Swords Reverses, rough seas cause the boat to capsize and the occupants are flung into the water. The boat may not have been strong enough to make the journey but the weather may have been a strong influencing factor.  Travel plans may be disrupted or delayed as a result.  The journey you are embarking upon, whether physical or mental may also take longer than anticipated. This Reversed Six could simply represent the return home after travel or cruise.  It may take some time to adjust to the bad weather again as you leave the heat and sunshine of exotic locations behind.

There is also the sense of being forced to leave when the Six of Swords Reversed appears.  You could feel that you are being sent away or dismissed.  You may be worried or feel dread about where you are going.

The capsized boat can also point to water related accidents such as drowning but surrounding Cards would need to back this up.  Severe weather may cause rivers to burst their banks resulting in flooding and destruction to property.

In Relationships, the Six of Swords Reversed can suggest that you may be stuck in a difficult relationship and cannot leave or believe that you cannot leave.  This relationship is bound to be mentally and emotionally destructive.  You may be barely keeping it together and just go through the motions in order to keep the peace.

A partner could disappear as infidelity or an affair is discovered.  They may not be able to deal with the fallout at present and are lying low.  If your relationship is frowned on or disapproved of by others the Six of Swords Reversed could represent eloping or secret rendezvous.  Then again you may be running off with someone else’s partner.

You may have been named and shamed in a scandalous or embarrassing situation and are keeping your head down and away from public scrutiny. You may not be able to face anyone and now wish to get away. You may also have been run out-of-town.

Career wise, you may be stuck in a stressful job or career and feel unable to leave. There may be external issues controlling this or because this is a Swords Card, it may be all in your head as you fear change and disturbance. Your work may have you so stressed that you just can’t think properly or positively. On the  other hand, you may have to work in a stormy environment.  Could you possibly be causing trouble or stirring things up in order to get fired in an attempt to free yourself? Have you or someone you know done something in work that has been discovered and a quick escape or cover-up is necessary?

If in Business, you may be considering abandoning ship.  You could probably be the last one standing on board as the others have long jumped ship. You would be wise to hang on in there for a little longer.  A renewed effort may be all that it needs to get the business buoyant once more.

Brief VersionsAce of Swords   Two (II) of Swords  Three (III) of Swords   Four (IV) of Swords  Five (V) of Swords        Six (VI) of Swords  Seven (VII) of Swords  Eight (VIII) of Swords  Nine (IX) of Swords  Ten (X) of Swords

Brief VersionsWands  Cups  Swords   Pentacles

Back to 78 Cards – Brief Page

The 78 Cards – Detailed Study Version (Card Description, Keywords, Upright & Reversed Meanings)

The 78 Cards – Shortened Version (Keywords, Upright & Reversed Meanings)


Copyright © 2006-2013 Vivien Ní Dhuinn

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