Mythic Tarot - Five Swords


Seated on the ground, Orestes faces Apollo, who informs him of his father’s murder at his mother’s hands and commands that he avenge it. Apollo points at the five swords he holds in his other hand as storm clouds appear to be coming in the background.

  • acceptance of limitations, boundaries and the confines of (one’s) destiny so that one is able to progress
  • acceptance of a task that has been imposed upon one
  • knowing who one is and what one can and must do is necessary if one wishes to live by the principles in which one believes
  • acceptance of one’s lot in life (in this case that it’s a son’s duty to avenge his father’s murder, where it wouldn’t be a daughter’s duty)
  • no amount of will-power or fighting can change a situation, so one must accept the situation
  • fairness doesn’t enter into the situation – one must accept the lot one has been dealt
  • the sins of Orestes’ parents have fallen squarely on his shoulders
  • the need to accept responsibility for one’s heritage whether one likes that or not
  • being powerless to do anything but accept a situation and work within its framework
Random Thoughts
  • being taken aback
  • the need to practice what one preaches
  • life isn’t fair
  • being between a rock and a hard place (anger Apollo or anger the Furies)
  • damned if you do, damned if you don’t

The keyword/phrase I came up with in my workbook on 14Mar92 was "acceptance of one's limitations".



Given that this deck is based on the Golden Dawn system, this card is to me a good representation of the 'Lord of Defeat'. Here is a situation where Orestes feels defeated, but also overwhelmed. I love that Apollo appears so large, as if to emphasise that in this situation things really are beyond your control. We often feel defeated when we are powerless to change things which is, I think, what this card is trying to convey.


It never would've occurred to me to apply Golden Dawn titles to the cards!


As I've spent more time trying to understand the Golden Dawn system it's something I've been doing lately. Lot's more I could say but probably would be off topic in this thread. :)

Miria Northwind

I have to say I like this interpretation a bit more than the usual five of swords.