The 5 of Swords tarot card carries a difficult energy, but understanding its meaning can help you make the most of challenging times. This card often appears when you feel conflict with others, face a moral dilemma, or are dealing with a “win at all costs” mentality.

By exploring the upright and reversed the 5 of Swords meanings, you’ll uncover guidance to help you find the healthiest path forward. You’ll also learn how this Minor Arcana card may relate to love, career, finances, health, spirituality, and more.

5 of Swords Key Facts

Upright Meaning Reversed Meaning Yes or No Numerology Element Planet Astrological Sign
Conflict, disagreements, winning at all costs Avoiding conflict, walking away, letting go of ego No 5 – Instability, uncertainty, conflict, loss Air Mercury Gemini

5 of Swords Tarot Card Description

The 5 of Swords shows a young man holding three swords taken from soldiers lying defeated on the ground. Two other swords remain stuck in the earth behind him. The man looks rather smug about his victory. Grey clouds fill the sky above a waterway behind him.

The original Rider-Waite Smith deck depicts a scene after a battle. One man has taken the swords from three opponents who lie on the ground in defeat. This card reflects someone feeling quite pleased with themselves after a hollow victory.

The Upright 5 of Swords Tarot Card Meaning

The Upright 5 of Swords Tarot Card Meaning
The Upright 5 of Swords Tarot Card Meaning

Love Relationships

When the 5 of Swords appears relating to romantic connections, it cautions about conflict, mind games, and power struggles in relationships. There may be ego battles, lying, or manipulation happening between partners.

You or your love interest might feel tempted to “win” arguments or claim the upper hand at the expense of the other’s feelings and needs. This card asks you to reflect on unhealthy communication patterns or signs of disrespect in your relationship.

If single, you could attract partners who treat love like a game or competition. Remain mindful that lasting love stems from empathy, compassion and seeing each other as equals. Avoid anyone who makes you feel small.


In career readings, the 5 of Swords tarot suggests conflict at work, clashing egos or unethical competition. You may feel pressured to compromise your values just to get ahead or “win” over colleagues.

Try not to get embroiled in office politics or feuds. You don’t have to prove yourself to anyone. Focus on doing good work, not outdoing others. Success will follow.

This card also cautions against taking credit for others’ contributions or stepping on people to advance. Any wins gained through shady means won’t satisfy. You’ll pay the price later in damaged reputation or relationships.


Financially, the upright 5 of Swords warns to avoid risky investments or get-rich-quick schemes that seem too good to be true. Read contracts carefully and steer clear of anything deceptive or ethically questionable.

You may feel tempted to cut corners to maximize profits, but dishonest gains bring bad karma. Play the long game instead. Slow, steady financial growth through ethical means brings lasting rewards.


For health, the 5 of Swords may point to stress, anxiety and sleep troubles caused by conflict or tension in your relationships. Toxic or high-drama connections wear you down. Consider if certain people in your life drain you more than uplift you.

This card can also reflect mind/body imbalance. You may pour energy into constant doing at the expense of just being. Make time for relaxation, reflection and activities that calm your nervous system. Don’t let busyness and ambition burn you out.


Spiritually, this card indicates an ego-driven outlook. You may be attached to seeing yourself as “right” and others as “wrong.” Let go of self-righteousness or a desire to “win” debates. Listen humbly. There is wisdom to gain from all perspectives.

The 5 of Swords also cautions against spiritual arrogance. Don’t assume you have all the answers. No one is above learning and growing. A beginner’s mindset leads to inner peace.

The Reversed 5 of Swords Tarot Card Meaning

The Reversed 5 of Swords Tarot Card Meaning
The Reversed 5 of Swords Tarot Card Meaning

Love Relationships

When the 5 of Swords is reversed in love readings, conflict comes to a close. You or your partner decide to lay down swords and cease attacking each other. Harmony is restored through open communication, compromise and remembering your shared hopes for the relationship.

If single, you stop engaging in ego-driven power struggles with potential partners. You realize that true love isn’t a game to be won or lost. Set clear boundaries and only entertain connections with others who make you feel respected.


Reversed, this card indicates resolving conflict and avoiding unethical competition at work. You may walk away from a toxic office environment that required betrayal of morals. Or you might have a change of heart and start uplifting colleagues instead of competing.

This card can also mark leaving a hostile work situation to pursue more fulfilling opportunities. You refuse to compromise ethics or well-being just to succeed. Have faith that there are gentler paths to achieving your career dreams.


Financially, the reversed 5 of Swords points to moving away from risky investments and get-rich-quick schemes. You seek more stable, transparent money management strategies. Or you may decide to be satisfied with less if it means maintaining your values and peace of mind.

This card may also indicate walking away from a shady financial proposition. Something about an opportunity just doesn’t feel right in your gut. Trust that intuition. Don’t ignore red flags just for possible profits.


For health, the reversed 5 of Swords shows stress and anxiety lifting as conflict resolves. Creating more inner and outer peace allows your nervous system to calm. You may start incorporating relaxation practices like breathwork, meditation and yoga into your routine.

This card can also mark seeking counseling or ending toxic relationships that are draining you. Limiting interactions with drama-filled people or establishing boundaries gives you an oasis of calm.


In spiritual matters, the reversed 5 of Swords reflects growing humility. You let go of rigid opinions about what’s “right” and open up to different viewpoints. This card points to the awareness that you have more to understand than you realized.

Spiritual arrogance falls away. You accept you aren’t above anyone on the soul journey. This mindset change brings greater compassion. You realize everyone is learning at their own pace.

5 of Swords Tarot Card in Yes or No Questions

5 of Swords Tarot Card in Yes or No Questions
5 of Swords Tarot Card in Yes or No Questions

The 5 of Swords tarot card indicates “no” in yes or no readings. This card marks a time of conflict, disagreement, and hollow victories. Things likely won’t unfold smoothly if this card appears. Expect ego clashes, power struggles, and disharmony if you continue on your current path. The 5 of Swords cautions you to rethink your approach to avoid unnecessary turmoil.

5 of Swords Tarot Card and Numerology

In numerology, the number 5 resonates with instability, uncertainty, and change. As an odd number, it creates disruption of the balanced, even forces. This energy aligns with the unpredictable conflict and disorder represented by the 5 of Swords.

The number 5 also points to a period of transition and loss on the way to future gain. While the 5 of Swords can mark painful interpersonal lessons, these help you shed false beliefs and outgrow limiting patterns. You emerge wiser and more conscious.

5 of Swords Tarot Card and Astrology

Astrologically, the 5 of Swords tarot card corresponds with Gemini energy. Gemini is an Air sign associated with intelligence, communication, and duality. The twin pillars on the Rider-Waite Smith 5 of Swords connect to the Gemini twins.

Gemini’s ruler is Mercury, planet of logic, analysis, and reasoning. The cerebral energy of Air and Mercury comes through in the strategic, if cutthroat, energy of this card. Swords also link to Air energy.

Negatively, Gemini can fall into duplicity and using intellect for ego-driven outcomes. The 5 of Swords reflects the manipulation, cunning, and duplicity of Gemini’s shadow side. Hidden agendas and information wars are afoot with this card.

5 of Swords Tarot Card Combinations

5 of Swords + 3 of Swords: A painful breakup or betrayal. Lies and mind games damage an intimate bond beyond repair.

5 of Swords + 5 of Wands: Heated competition creates a toxic environment. Gossip, slander and power plays abound. Avoid engaging.

5 of Swords + 7 of Wands: Standing up for yourself against bullies or people trying to take advantage of you. Don’t compromise boundaries.

5 of Swords + Queen of Swords: A formidable, sharp-tongued woman who doesn’t hold back her opinions. She can be overly harsh.

5 of Swords + King of Cups: Manipulating someone’s emotions or taking advantage of their loving nature for personal gain.

5 of Swords + 9 of Pentacles: Financial independence gained through cunning means and stepping on others. Hollow victory.

5 of Swords Tarot Card Designs

Over the centuries, tarot decks have presented the 5 of Swords with slightly varying illustrations. Here are three examples of 5 of Swords cards across different decks:

Rider-Waite Smith: A smug young man holds three swords taken from defeated enemies. Two other swords remain on the ground. Storm clouds gather in the sky.

Modern Spellcasters Tarot: Five magical swords crossed with vines of thorns. A witch’s hat hangs from one sword, representing cunning and strategy.

The Fountain Tarot: Five penguins face away from each other on an icy landscape, indicating isolation and disagreements. Their turned backs emphasize lack of community.


What does the 5 of Swords tarot card mean?

The 5 of Swords represents conflict, disagreements, and a “win at all costs” mentality. Someone may pursue victory through cunning, manipulation or by compromising ethics and morals.

What does the 5 of Swords mean for love?

In love readings, the 5 of Swords can point to mind games, power struggles and unhealthy communication patterns in a relationship. Avoid partners who treat love like a game.

How can I tell if I’m receiving an upright or reversed 5 of Swords?

If the situation involves conflict, ego battles, and general disharmony, it’s likely the upright 5 of Swords. If conflict is resolving and peace is being restored, that indicates a reversal.

Is the 5 of Swords a yes or no card?

The 5 of Swords means “no” in yes or no readings. Expect conflict and disagreement if you continue down your current path. The card advises rethinking your approach.

What planet and zodiac sign is the 5 of Swords associated with?

The 5 of Swords corresponds astrologically with Gemini. Gemini is ruled by Mercury, so this card is affiliated with both Mercury and Gemini.

Key Takeaways

  • The 5 of Swords represents conflict, disagreements and hollow victories achieved through manipulation or by compromising integrity.
  • In love, this card cautions about mind games, power struggles and unhealthy relating patterns that erode intimacy.
  • For career, it marks office politics, unethical competition, and feeling forced to betray values in order to succeed.
  • Financially, it points to risky investments, sketchy propositions and get-rich-quick schemes.
  • Reversed, this card indicates walking away from conflict and restoring peace through compromise and open communication.


Though its energy is challenging, the 5 of Swords brings valuable lessons about choosing healthy relationships and ethical means of achieving goals. Let this card remind you that hollow victories ultimately leave everyone defeated. Focus instead on lifting up yourself and others.

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