The Six of Swords is about being mindful of where you’ve come from, where you’re going, and what you take with you on the journey.
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To give you a bit of context whilst you reflect on your own relationship to the card, here are a few key things to know about the Six of Swords:
In the Rider Waite Smith tarot, the Six of Swords is illustrated like this: a long boat (which we see neither the front or tail of) is being steered through the water by a gondolier, whose back faces the viewer. Huddled in front of him in the boat are a crouching figure with their head and body covered by a cloak, and a child. In front of them, six swords stand upright in the boat - giving the appearance that they’ve been stuck, by the point, into the keel of the boat. In the distance, a shoreline waits beyond waters that are neither fully still or fully choppy.
There’s something equally melancholy and optimistic about this card - and because we can’t see the faces of the rower or the passengers, it's up to us to decide how they’re experiencing this moment. The proximity of the shoreline and the relatively unthreatening quality of the water left to cross makes it seem like rest and respite after a long journey is on its way. But then there are those swords, stuck ominously into the boat. Will our travellers make it the short distance, before water starts gushing into the boat, or will this last leg of the journey be the most difficult, as they’re forced to abandon ship and swim to shore? Once again… it depends on the story you want to tell yourself.
It’s interesting to consider what the swords stuck into the boat might symbolise. In my personal practice, I think about it this way: the swords are the baggage we carry forward with us in life. The weakness and the faults and the bad experiences. That knowledge that comes with that baggage can be useful - it can prepare us for what’s to come, help defend us against making the same mistakes over and over again. But it can also be heavy and sharp and difficult to travel with. For that reason, the card can be a real invitation to consider what you want to carry with you into the next phase of your life, or even - in the short term - what elements of yesterday you want to carry with you into today, and what difficulties are better left in the past
In your tarot journal, you’re asked to reflect on what this card means to you, now, in this moment, and what actions and thoughts it inspires in you. As you journal, pay attention to what you’re personally picking up in the card, but also consider what the key themes and symbols in the card might be telling you. How can you take a moment to reflect on how far you’ve come? What baggage have you been carrying around - and do you really need it all? What does the next leg of your journey realistically look like - where will the blessing and the pain points be?
This mini-tarot lesson was brought to you by me, Chelsey Pippin Mizzi, founder of Pip Cards Tarot. I hope you gained a little context to help you continue reflecting on the card in your own way, and I’ll see you tomorrow for another mini-lesson.