I find the six and seven cards in Everyday Tarot (aka the Minor Arcana) the hardest to get a grip on. The lower numbered cards represent simple versions of each suit, the higher numbered cards complex versions but the 6s & 7s are the turning of the tide and like middle children can be overlooked and misunderstood. By me at least.
I used to get the Six Of Swords a lot. According to my Tarot bible ‘The Complete Book Of Tarot’ it represents “the moving away from difficulties to more peaceful times”. This can be a literal journey or an inner one i.e. a release of tension and anxiety. So I’ve always taken it to signify that I’m moving on from hard times. And this interpretation has certainly rung true whenever I got this card.
But now I’m wondering whether there’s another layer of meaning.
Swords symbolize thoughts and attitudes. And what I’m wondering is this: Does the Six Of Swords represent a change of thinking or attitude? Perhaps in response to a difficult experience. The bent head of the older cloaked figure in the boat suggests sorrow. It’s only under some kind of pressure that a person learns to change their attitude towards things.
As this is an Everyday Tarot card when I say there’s sorrow involved in this experience I’m not talking about full-on grief. That’s Death card territory. This is not an emotional transition but a mental one. And we’re not talking about a complete revolution in attitude either because that would be The Tower or The Moon card. It’s more of a gentle shift. An oh-that’s-not-working-I-better-try-something-else moment. A move that brings about a calmer state of mind. Six being the number of equilibrium, harmony and balance.
Now I haven’t seen this interpretation anywhere else but I also don’t see any other swords cards pegged to symbolise the everyday experience of changing your mind. One of them must, surely. And it fits with this card.
As a general rule I find the interpretations of swords cards to be overly negative. I’m a strong believer that each card has both a positive and negative side. A passive version and an active one. The passive version of the Six Of Swords is you being moved away from a difficult mental experience i.e. being verbally picked on by someone. The proactive version could be you deciding to approach a situation in a different manner and as a result that situation shifts i.e. ignoring the bullying so that it stops.
What do you think? Could the Six Of Swords represent a change of thinking? If not, which Tarot card do you think represents this experience?
I think that the interpretation you gave is a good one. The boat is going to the other side of the river…a new spot in a person’s thinking. The grievor is sadder but wiser in choosing the change. By the way, is the book of tarot you mentioned by Juliet Sharman- Burke?
Yes it is. I mentioned it in a previous post as my favourite Tarot resource. For years it was pretty much all I used. However now that the web has exploded with Tarot sites I sample a lot more sources for inspiration.