Six of Swords - RWS
Six of Swords – RWS

Today, I drew the six of swords from my favourite deck, the Rider-Waite-Smith, commonly referred to as the RWS. It was the first mass produced deck to include images for the cards of the minor arcana. The image on this card shows three individuals travelling by boat to a distant land. The boat separates the rough waters behind from the calm waters ahead.

This card is from the suit of swords, which is associated with the element of air. This suit often relates to the mental or intellectual aspects of one’s life. The six of swords, as the all do :), has several meanings.  The traditional meaning, as outlined in Arthur Waite’s The Pictorial Key to the Tarot, signifies a “journey by water”. In his card description, Waite explicitly states that the burden of freight is one that the driver can bear. The six of swords can also signify a transition from busy to calm, from turmoil to tranquility. It can mean movement from troubles of the past to a more controlled future. It can be a card that reminds you using that all-to-familiar cliche, that life has it’s ups and downs. It can signify a passage from the old to the new, almost like a minor arcana version of the death card. Some view the six of swords as a negative card. I say there is no such thing. All cards have ‘light’ and ‘dark’ sides and this one is no exception. It’s all about perception. Should you look at this card as a ‘small death’ card, then note that small death translates into ‘la petite mort’ in French, a term that means orgasm. Nothing negative about that! 😉

For me, after an intense week of driving the Toronto-Quebec CityNew York City triangle and operating in ‘whirlwind tourist mode’ for a week, I’m looking forward to slowing down the pace and taking a holiday from my holiday. Spirit of the West put it best; I need “Home for a Rest’. This card reminds me that daily living is about balance between laboriousness and stillness and that life will always contain both. I need to make time for them.  How will you internalize the six of swords? Is there an aspect of your life that lacks balance? What do you need to move towards? What do you need to leave behind?

Leave a Reply