A woman and a child sit in a canoe as a man towers over them, rowing their boat forward. The water ripples to the right, but stands placidly still on the left. They are approaching a distance shore.
The image elicits several questions. Will they stop at the land ahead of them or is their destination even further still? Why are they moving to this place? And why does this card convey sadness, as if the boat’s passengers venture forward against their will?
Main Interpretation: It’s Time to Move On
The 6 of Swords is one of the cards in the Tarot deck that speaks to transitions. For instance, if you’re going through a divorce, moving to a new place, or en route to a new job, you’ll probably see this card in your reading. The same goes for anyone who is entering a new transition in life, be it happy or sad, for even when the future is bright, there is always a bit of melancholy about leaving the past behind, isn’t there?
This card often comes up when big events are occurring in someone’s life. Even though it’s not a Major Arcana card, I sometimes get that feeling from it, like it’s pointing to an important life change, like the client just needs to HOLD ON and get through it!
The card also tells me, your reader, just how well you’re handling all that’s happening to you. Since we are dealing with a card in the Swords suit, we know that we are dealing with the mental side of transitioning. Things around you might be changing, and this card begs you to answer the question, “Are you on board?” Is your head “in the game?” Can you “wrap your head around” what is happening?
If the answers to these questions are "yes", you are safely inside the boat and the card will appear upright in your reading. If the answers are "no" or "not yet", then the card may appear either reversed or upright. If the answer is “hell no!”, then the card will almost certainly appear reversed. Get my drift?
Example: Making A Life-changing Decision
I once had a client who had suffered many years of infertility. She had done just about anything you could do to address it, but after a series of disappointments, she and her husband made a fateful decision.
They were going to stop. They would not have children. Period.
They had strong arguments for making this decision, and my client said that she felt a huge weight lift off of their shoulders when they did. In fact, they felt a shot of encouraging energy zoom into their lives, and they were suddenly doing things that had otherwise been off limits or discouraged for fertility reasons.
Yet, the 6 of Swords appeared in my client's reading (upright), and I knew that this transition was not an entirely happy one for her. True, she was leaving a bad place in the hopes of happier times ahead. At the same time, she felt sadness. She wished that things had turned out differently.
Dream Symbol Equivalents
If you’re dreaming during a time like this, odds are you’re seeing some very similar themes play out. Some potential dream symbols that echo the core message of the 6 of Swords are airports, leaves (as in “leaving” a situation), and travel of any kind. In these dreams, babies may symbolize the new beginning that lies ahead.
The Bottom Line
Transitioning can be a very difficult thing, but if you accept the changes that this situation demands, you are bound to have an easier time with it. Trust that you are well guided, and you will be. It is time to move forward.