Six of Swords Tarot Card

Six of Swords Tarot Card Meanings

What does the Six of Swords card mean in a Tarot Reading?

The meaning of the Six Swords of Tarot is multifaceted and can be difficult to understand. The main symbol of the Arcana is the path, changes in life. It calls to leave in the past which has already exhausted itself, even if this is difficult for you.
The Six of Swords indicates a change through which we can reach new shores. As a breakout card, it sits halfway between the joyful performance of the hero (the Chariot) and the sad farewell (Eight of Cups). Its specific meaning largely depends on ourselves – on whether we are happy about the upcoming changes, whether we expect them, or, conversely, are afraid. In any case, it symbolizes the path to the new shore, for which, however, you will have to leave the old one. What lies ahead of us is unknown. Therefore, it also means the bitterness of goodbye, uncertainty, fear and concern, but also a certain level of curiosity and interest in what will happen. It should be borne in mind that this “new shore” awaiting us ahead does not necessarily mean physical movement from somewhere to somewhere. It can be the discovery of something new in oneself, the assimilation of new rules of the game, new norms of life, or acquaintance with other cultures and religions. In the Yi Ching and in mythology, crossing water always means a step from plurality to singularity.
The interpretation of this card can be difficult for beginners. The minor Arcana Tarot card Six of Swords can mean travel, problem solving, mental anguish and even death. So let’s take a closer look at everything.

Goal: Forward to new shores
Element: Air
Planet: Mercury, Saturn, Mars
Astrological sign: Aquarius


The Six of Swords Tarot card depicts a man with a pole, ferrying a boat from one bank to the other. Together with him in the boat is a woman, a child and six swords standing in parallel to each other. The water on which the boat sails is unconsciously calm.
(For a detailed depiction, analysis of the Symbols and all Elements of the Six of Swords Tarot Card, click here)

The Main Meanings of the Card In an Upright Position

Key Words and Phrases

Stress and problems are left behind. Relaxation of tension. Long-awaited changes. Reconciliation. Looking for a quieter harbor. Restoring the clear and calm thinking. Easing tension after a period of stress. Favourable wind. Avoiding conflicts and problems. Driving with the flow. Travel. Moving. Drive.

Six of Swords Tarot Card Meanings

Overseas tour. Safe move. Communication with people at a distance. Increase in knowledge. Getting rid of a stressful situation. Favorable changes. Weakening the bonds. Change in attitude. Death, which brings with it the end of suffering. The transition from a destructive situation to a constructive one. The worst is over. Like a bridge over muddy water.

The main meanings of the card in an upright position

rejection of a past life, habits, connections, occupations;
go to a meeting with an unknown person;
memories of sad events;
hope for the future;
chance of luck for a brave person;
failure for a timid person;
learning and personal development from negative experiences;
bitterness of goodbye, uncertainty, apprehension and worries;
rejection of old ideas and knowledge;
parting with a former partner, or parting with loneliness;
getting rid of the bad;
receiving a message;
road, alley, passage, path, road;
good news, water travel (over water), errand, escape;
finding a new, positive outlook on the world, moving;
a better future, remaining difficulties;
a difficult stage is left behind;
change of residence;
good news, a change for the better;
uncertainty of the situation, the need to wait.

Six of Swords. Witchcraft Tarot by Ellen Dugan
Witchcraft Tarot by Ellen Dugan

Situation and Advice

You have a period of tension, anxiety and excitement left behind you. There is a quieter time for you that will help you regain your clarity of thought. Sometimes, traveling can help relieve tension and restore balance and harmony. It is likely that you will be given the opportunity to travel, or you will receive guests from afar. Now you are completely open to gaining new knowledge. This is the right time to take a fresh look at past difficulties and draw conclusions for the future.
Some event will save you or someone close to you from suffering. Now you have every chance to leave a destructive situation or behavior pattern behind.

Persons designated by Upright Six of Swords Tarot Сard

Travelers. People cruising. Survivors of a period of suffering. People who have come from afar. Those who will help in need.

The Main Meanings of the Card In a Reversed Position

Key Words and Phrases

Delays in action. Delays. Looping on negative thoughts. Refusal of the offered help. Inability to extricate yourself from a problem situation. Tightening the knot. Going against the stream. Lack of progress. Feeling hopeless or stressful. Inaction. One problem after another. A fleeting relief. Failure to leave the problems of the past behind. Routine. Inability to see the situation as a whole. Unwillingness to see reality. The trip is canceled or postponed. Change of travel plans. Return from travel. Hiding your head in the sand.

The main meanings of the card in a reversed position

the chance is negligible;
statement, explanatory act, development, explanation;
publication, proclamation, explicitness, advertising, authenticity, reliability;
information, discovery, exposure, vision, revelation, appearance;
discovery of truth – promulgation, declaration of love;
confession, confession; perhaps a love proposal, a surprise;
other meaning: immobility, procrastination, temporary relief.

Situation and Advice

No matter how hard you tried, you could not get out of the trouble. You feel stuck and unable to free yourself from problems. Perhaps you have chosen an inappropriate solution for this. Most likely, the choice fell on the easiest path and you just decided to hide your head in the sand. You need to face the truth and start solving problems, not hiding from them. You will have to sail the rough sea for a long time until your life finally gets better … Sometimes this card can mean a change in travel plans or its cancellation. Possible unfavorable outcome of the litigation.

Six of Swords. Tarot by Nicoletta Ceccoli
Tarot by Nicoletta Ceccoli

Persons designated by the Reversed Six of Swords Tarot Сard

Slow people. Lazy people. Those who enjoy sailing the rough seas. People returning from a trip.

In the Spreads

In the most general sense, the Tarot card of Six Swords symbolizes goodbye to something once important, avoiding problems and difficult situations, willingness to leave something behind and move on, getting rid of old stereotypes and principles.
This card speaks of the available way out of any situation. No matter how confusing, complex and even dangerous the situation may seem, you can get away from problems. But you should not wait for help from above, salvation depends only on your actions. To find a way out, you need to distance yourself from the situation psychologically, to find calmness and composure. If you succeed, there is a whole new path ahead of you.
Its meaning in the upright and reversed position is quite different. More details below.

In an Upright Position

The meaning of the Six of Swords card is avoiding something difficult for the querent, which fettered him and prevented him from living. Moving forward, perhaps saying goodbye to something dear and important that should remain in the past. The card conveys the emotions of sadness, fear, sadness, but at the same time hope.
Six of Swords Tarot predicts better times for the querent. The pressing problems and difficulties will be left behind as a result of mental rather than physical work. But we must take into account the weakening of the positive qualities of the card, typical for Swords. Trouble still lies ahead for the querent, and the transition to a new stage in life will not be easy. However, all the worst has already passed. The Six of Swords Tarot card also speaks of a long journey, probably across the sea.
The Six of Swords Tarot card means a journey in an uncertain direction. Change with unknown result. Message received. Escape, adjournment of the sentence. A change that will possibly allow your enemy to be repaid. Sometimes this card brings good luck, despite previous defeats.
The Six of Swords, appearing in fortune telling in a straight position, indicates changes, thanks to which something new can be achieved, avoiding conflict. What lies ahead is unknown. Therefore, the card means the bitterness of goodbye, insecurity, fears and worries, but also a certain curiosity and interest in what will happen. At the event level, Arcana can mean a safe way out of a difficult situation.
In the upright position, the Six of Swords Tarot symbolizes the end of a difficult period in the life of the fortuneteller and the uncertainty of the transitional stage. The presence of this card in the spread suggests that the main difficulties have been left behind. At the moment nothing depends on you, and you can relax and rest, allowing the River of Life to carry you where it needs to.
However, despite a temporary respite, a new shore and a new stage await you ahead, which means it’s time to stock up on your strength. The changes predicted by the Six of Swords are for the better, but they will require you to exert a lot of strength, patience and perseverance.
In addition, the Six of Swords Tarot can mean a journey, a long trip, most likely associated with water.
But do not be scared, if the Six of Swords of the Tarot fell out in the spread, the meaning of the card may indicate that you will be able to avoid serious trouble. You will find safety and peace. Neighboring cards will tell you how easy you can get out of the situation, and whether there will be losses. Surrounded by positive Arcana, this card says that problems remain in the past, everything will work out soon, even if it does not seem so now.
If the Six of Swords is surrounded by negative cards, we can talk about a forced need for changes, a change in life guidelines. In this case, you should calm down and open up to life lessons. Even if you are scared or sad, remember that any situation is given to a person for testing the spirit and self-development.
Quite often, the Six of Swords directly shows travel and trips, including water travel. It can be a business trip, vacation, a romantic trip with a loved one, or exploring new places. In a broader sense, it can mean moving to another city.
But travel is not always physical, sometimes it is a metaphor that indicates a change of job, a new partner, or a reassessment of mental orientation.
The Six of Swords is, among other things, a card for acquiring new knowledge. Perhaps you will discover another country with its traditions and customs. Or maybe you will read a book that will completely change your worldview. Or you will find a job with completely different standards than those to which you are accustomed. The acquisition of new knowledge also manifests itself in different ways. This can be higher education, refresher courses, self-study.
In this case, the helmsman leading the boat is interpreted as a teacher and mentor. Searching for the truth, revealing secrets, sharing ideas and useful information, planning for the future. Mind is actively working here, which is associated with the suit of Swords.
Or it may be that your home is just the very quiet harbor where travelers go. In this case, wait for an early arrival of guests or a message asking for help. The Six of Swords is also historically associated with messengers. Therefore, wait for news and messages that are likely to make you move and take action.
It is interesting that in the old days the Six of Swords predicted marriage for a girl. Wedding traditions used to be different, so the young bride often felt not so much joy and a lot of anxiety, sadness and misunderstanding of what awaited her in the future, the pain of breaking up with her family.

Interpretative advice. If the card fell out last in the spread, then the outcome of the situation has not yet been determined. In any case, changes and a way out of the usual way of things await you. But how it will end is not yet clear. It only depends on your actions.

In a Reversed Position:

The reversed Six of Swords means a dead end, the wrong path or the wrong time for this path. The card can signal that it is not yet time to burn bridges and radically change your life.
The reversed Six of Swords of the Tarot can also show that the querent refuses to face the problems facing him. Temporary indecisive measures will lead to short-term improvement, but the source of the difficulties will remain. The root problem must be recognized and resolved before moving forward.
In a reversed position, the Six of Swords speaks of dead-end situations, for a way out of which it is impossible to find at least some suitable solution. In the daily events, Arcana is interpreted as a change or rejection of the original intentions and plans, troubles, problems, hindrances, a chain of repetitive situations of the same type.
The Six of Swords Tarot in the reversed position means that you are running away from existing problems instead of starting to solve them. Perhaps you feel temporary relief in delaying the adoption of an important decision or closing your eyes to something, but the problem does not diminish from this. On the contrary, sooner or later it will declare herself in full voice, and you will no longer be able to ignore it. However, since you have already lost control of the situation, the result will not be what you would like it to be.

Six of Swords. Guardian Angels Tarot
Guardian Angels Tarot

The reversed Tarot card Six of Swords warns you against dangerous passivity and inaction. The situation requires your intervention and control. You risk losing by ignoring this fact, dragging out time or limiting yourself to indecisive half-measures.

In the Spreads for Different situation

In an Upright Position:
It’s time to take a fresh look at the circumstances. Step away from past principles and emotions, look at the situation from the outside, and you will find the answer. The main difficulties are over.
In a Reversed Position:
In the case of the situation, the reversed card symbolizes stagnation, a dead end. The circumstances are confusing and it is difficult to make a decision. Perhaps you made the wrong or too hasty choice, and now you need to go back and fix everything.

In the Spreads for Relationship

In an Upright Position:
Six of Swords of the Tarot meaning in a relationship spread does not carry much negativity. This may be a slight detachment from each other, associated with a desire for retirement or forced separation. Desire for change and transition to a new level. It can mean breaking up old relationships by mutual agreement and the beginning of new ones. Or it’s a sudden outbreak of love, when the previous partner has not yet been forgotten. For a more accurate interpretation, pay attention to the adjacent cards.
In the upright position, the Six of Swords means changes. These could be both external and, possibly, purely internal. Moreover, there can be any changes. For example, parting with a former partner and finding the path to a new one. Or, conversely, parting with previous ideas (for example, about the inevitability of one’s own loneliness) and establishing truly strong relationships. In any case, you will have to part with the old, habitual norms of life in order to move on to new, not yet familiar ones. In the position of the total or future, Arcana can mean moving to a partner in another city or country.

In a Reversed Position:
Most often it means a dead-end, unpromising relationship, when it is bad to live together and there is nowhere to go. One or both partners want to part, but so far they have not succeeded, not all ties have been broken, and perhaps the right time has not come yet.
In a reversed position, the Six of Swords means serious disagreements between partners, resistance to new prospects, unwillingness to meet each other halfway. Sometimes Arcana indicates a feeling of fatigue and emptiness when a person begins to feel weary about existing relationships, considering them boring, routine, overly trivial, and not seeing any interest in them for themselves.

In the Spreads for Dates

In an Upright Position:
You will soon enter into new relationships or significantly improve the ones you already have.
In a Reversed Position:
As long as you do the same mistakes, the relationship will not satisfy either you or your partner. Learn from your mistakes.

In the Spreads for Family

In an Upright Position:
Change of residence. The consequences will be good for everyone.
In a Reversed Position:
You must let go of the past. Your rancor oppresses both you and your family.

In the Spreads for Friendship

In an Upright Position:
There is a calm, quiet time ahead for you and your friends.
In a Reversed Position:
Lack of communication with friends will cause problems.

In the Spreads for Money

In an Upright Position:
Money is scarce, but you handle the situation well. The Arcana will most often mean unplanned or unnecessary spending.

Six of Swords.  Legacy of the Divine Tarot by Ciro Marchetti
Legacy of the Divine Tarot by Ciro Marchetti

In a Reversed Position:
In terms of the financial situation, a reversed Arcana almost always indicates debts, loans or monetary fraud.
Be on the lookout – this is a bad card for the financial sector. Try to keep what you already have.

In the Spreads for Education

In an Upright Position:
A new course of study will begin soon – a new academic year, semester or subject.
In a Reversed Position:
You retreat too easily.

In the Spreads for Career

In an Upright Position:
In the spreads for career, the upright Six of Swords very often means something new. These can be new projects, new responsibilities, a new position, etc. There is no need to be afraid, you have every chance to show your professional qualities.
In the professional and business sphere, the upright Six of Swords can symbolize both dismissal and transfer to another job, as well as the emergence of new tasks in the same place. In any case, the card shows that you will have to say goodbye to familiar activities and get acquainted with new ones, which usually instills uncertainty and sometimes fear.

In a Reversed Position:
The reversed Arcana in spreads for work will warn you that you are in too much of a hurry to make decisions about new projects or moving to a new position. Perhaps you still lack experience or professional knowledge. Now it is better to postpone these questions.
Falling out in fortune-telling or a scenario, the Reversed Six of Swords describes the situation of marking time, the inability to take a more prestigious or highly paid position, to get the desired job. The reason for this, as a rule, is precisely the personal inertia, laziness and sluggishness of the querent.

In the Spreads for Health

In an Upright Position:
The straight Six of Swords in health is a good card. It indicates the recovery from the disease and the restoration of the body.
In a Reversed Position:
Usually means the normal state of the body. Sometimes the card can indicate minor problems with the nervous system or psyche.

Answer to Yes / No Tarot Spreads

In an Upright Position:
In a Reversed Position:

Self-Development Lesson

You must make this journey. You have the strength and perseverance to achieve your goal. Aim for what you can achieve in the future.

Type of person in an upright position:

The card means a thoughtful, balanced person who knows well what he needs from life. He prefers a rational approach to everything, is calm, does not like fuss. He calculates his actions, rarely relying on fate, and is sad when he is forced to submit to it.

Six of Swords. Tarot by Alphonse Mucha
Tarot by Alphonse Mucha

Type of person in a reversed position:

It means a person who is not too confident in himself, but bold, not devoid of cunning. He is charming, (albeit superficially), open to communication, always listens with pleasure to the interlocutor, but prefers not to open his cards until he decides whether he needs it or not.

Arcana’s warning

Do not hurry. Before you seriously change your life, think it over again and be prepared for these changes.

Final Advice of Arcana

Arcana advises: analyze your life, determine what is holding you back, leave it in the past and boldly go forward.

In an Upright Position:
Study, study and study again. Don’t cling to the old, be it a job, a relationship, or a place of residence.
In a Reversed Position:
Stop lamenting about what you can’t change. Remember that revenge is a dish that is served cold.


Now everything is starting to change, but it is not yet clear, for better or for worse. Perhaps you go on a trip, receive a guest or receive a message. Whatever happens, you are slowly getting out of the bad situation you recently found yourself in. Note that the meaning of the Six Swords Tarot card also includes a “declaration of love”, either in a romantic sense or in the sense that someone will offer you their sincere devotion. If you really have to travel from one place to another (as opposed to a change in mental or emotional orientation), then most fortunetellers agree that it will probably be on water (or, given modern possibilities, above water).

Floral Tarot

Discover other Minor Arcana:

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