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?
I once had a client who had just gone through a round of in vitro fertilization (IVF). As you may or may not know, women who go through IVF have a brutal two-week wait between when their eggs are implanted and when they take the pregnancy test to know if they’re pregnant. It’s a difficult time, a happy time, an anxious time - you name it! This is when I performed her reading.
Lo’ and behold, this card came up in the upright position. It was easy to see why. This first time mother-to-be was potentially about to enter a new phase in her life and changes, changes, changes abounded!
One of these changes had to do with body image and weight. You see, prior to getting pregnant, she had done a lot of work to lose weight, and she was so close to attaining her goal weight. Now with the prospect of pregnancy upon her, she was going to have to change gears and joyfully accept weight gain. The card asked her the question, “are you on board?”
Truthfully, she was having some difficulty with this aspect of it, but the card urged change. She would have to leave her old calorie-counting ways behind. She could come back to that later if she really wanted. Now, it was time for a different kind of healthy. She abided this advice and is now well into her third trimester!
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.