Alchemical Study Group - Five of Swords


(from the book)

A blacksmith works on a sword. Two broken swords hang on
the wall, their points downward, connoting negative forces. Two
repaired swords, points up, hang above them, connoting positive

Tarot wisdom: Make the best of a bad situation. Things can
be fixed--you can change your life through work, action and
positive thinking. The message also points to reclaiming losses.
Or, it suggests striking while the iron is hot--there is a right
time to take action in every situation.


I like this card, I didn't at first, thought it bore too much resemblance to the 8 of Coins and couldn't see anything to do with the mind or communication there but thanks to the passage in the book, I've decided that I really like this card now.

The fives come mid-way through the suit and show a period of stress or change which in turn facilitates growth and helps us to move away from the potential stagnation of the fours.
I like to think of the fives as being a little like a mini Tower experience.. A revelation, something that has been thought or said that changes the direction of the situation in question.

Usually in representations of this card we see the immediate aftermath of an argument or battle when it seems that a victory has been won but at a great cost.
Here we see the same thing but a little while later... It appears that things can be fixed, all is not lost.
I like the blacksmith imagery too, the blacksmith is himself and alchemist and transforms metal from one thing into another.. Implying that hard work is necessary to get things back on track. The scene from the window behind him looks peaceful and tranquil.. Something to work towards.

I love the 'strike whilst the iron's hot' image too..

Here's an image of the card:


In most decks I dislike this card, but I really like the imagery of the card in this deck. I like that it is more positive showing not just the difficulties or issues but what can be done about them. Being a Swords card and therefore dealing with the realm of mental thought and intellect, it shows that when we have conflict or difficulties we have the ability to use our mind/intellect to reframe the situation and make the most of it.

Like Sulis said, with hard work we can work through the difficulties and no doubt learn some valuable lessons as a result.


Things are balanced in this card, two repaired, two damaged, and one in-between. Here is a card of balance of the middle-ground.

On the other hand it can also be a card of growth towards becoming Gold, you have to work with what you've got. With this it shows you're given abilities and it is up to you to work with these skills you're given to purify yourself so that you can turn yourself into Gold.

All the fives show promise and growth--the V of Coins shows the middle ground leads to purity even if you're poor; the V of Swords is purification by using your own skills; the V of Staffs is allowing yourself to be purified by passion; while the V of Vessels shows that breaking and spilling what's not needed any longer can lead to new growth and life!

Looking at the cards there is also an element of balance and middle-ground in them, the pauper walking between the downwards and upwards (both pointing to her) elements on the coins; the hand only half turned to staffs and burning; two vessels broken, one spilt, two upright; and of course two fixed, two broken, one being worked on--neither broken or fixed.