Tarot Post – Five of Swords

Five of Swords (Defeat)


Five of SwordsFive of Swords (Revised) by G A Rosenberg


Freely I entered
The fight was too much for me
Defeated I leave.


Well, It’s over
The battle has played out
and now I’ve lost,
not just the battle
that would have been too easy
I’ve lost myself
In the need to win
I became…changed
drove allies away
destroyed confidences
so that no matter the outcome
I would still have lost…
I believed that if I thought like my foe
I could beat them
instead I became them
and so the defeat completed…..

— G A Rosenberg (2013)

Now the battle has been won
He collects the swords of the vanquished, us.
He walks on determined,
all but oblivious to our shame
He may be weary, we are for sure
with wounds to lick
This day too shall pass
and we may yet win out
tho for now we taste Ashes
Another day will come

— G A Rosenberg (2010)


The suit of swords represents thought, ideas, plans and conflicts. Fives stand for conflict, change and a breaking through to higher thought. The five of swords thus represents defeat, whether in battle or in inner conflicts. It often represents the defeat that comes when we realize how much we have betrayed our own principles in the desire to win. Ultimately no matter how the conflict ends, we end up defeated having lost the intent that gave rise to the conflict in the first place.


Astrological Correspondence – Venus in Aquarius – Venus in Aquarius is innovative in how it chooses to love. Often a loner, it is an energy drawn towards the new and different and hates any aspect of getting caught in a rut. This can result in a sensitivity to the feelings and desires of others but a tendency to get bored and so they may sabotage their relationships in the search for the innovative.


I Ching Correspondence – 47) K’un Oppression –
____ ____
____ ____
____ ____

The image is of a lake above water–the lake is dried up– the “superior” man is exhausted by all manner of people and things besetting him. If he remains flexible and stable and maintains his equanimity through adversity than he will come through it fine. Only if he can’t roll with the punches and falls apart will any rough period truly vanquish him. Someone who has developed that inner consistency will find success no matter whatever external situation he finds himself in.


When the Five of Swords turns up in a reading, it often refers to a loss, usually one that feels somewhat humiliating. It may also represent a loss that comes when someone has won through unethical or unfair means and has become humiliated because of it. If it refers to an event that has not happened yet, it could be a warning against going into an unwinnable battle or one where winning it will turn into a humiliating defeat

When the Five of Swords comes up reversed, it normally refers to losses in the past that the person has not recovered from and still have a lot of energy about that is causing us to be reluctant to reengage.

0 thoughts on “Tarot Post – Five of Swords”

    1. But can we defeat him without becoming him or do we embrace and transcend… thesis – antithesis – synthesis leading to new thesis

        1. I recommend the short story “The Secret Sharer” by Joseph Conrad (among others). About the only way that someone can truly become more like us is if we become more like them at the same time.

          1. But in the end we are or become what we pretend as well, our intention may be to manipulate but…

          2. thesis – antithesis – synthesis leading to a new thesis and antitheses… thus our thoughts evolve 🙂

          3. Awesome — is one of my favourites and the paper i wrote on it liking it to the Fool’s Journey through the Tarot got me an A 😉

          4. What would you like… this course is self-grading… actually grades themselves are degrading so let’s call it a pass – fail where any failures are temporary

  1. Very interesting and informative post. While reading this I was reminded of the story of Sparta. When Athens was still trying to consolidate all the city states into a united Greece, Sparta was the last great city state to fall. The Athenians had tried and tried to figure out a way to bring Sparta to its knees and join the alliance of Greece but had been unsuccessful. Then they realized that as long as Sparta retained the values and principals that made it so great they would never defeat them so they decided that in order to beat them they had to make Sparta into the very thing they despised the most, Athens! By constantly attacking Sparta with their almost limitless armies Athens forced Sparta to become a city of warriors instead of free farmers. Over time Sparta excelled at the art of war and combat and they were able to defend themselves against the Athenians but in the end Sparta fell, not because they lost to Athens militarily but because the values and principals they had faught so hard to protect had been wiped out and replaced with those of a ruthless warrior society out of the necessity. Sparta may have won the battles but Athens ultimately won the war!

    1. Yes exactly how I read that aspect of the Five of Swords as well. I have been finding it interesting how it seems to have the aspect of cautionary tale for parenting a teenager 🙂

  2. You nailed it again – stunning. If you ever consider creating a page that contains all of your created deck along with your Tarot writings and correspondences, as in this post, I for one, as a still learning student, would be humbly grateful…

    1. My intention at this point John is to publish it as a book…that is made up of the individual entries plus an introductory essay or two… It’s coming along

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: