The sky has a dusklike feel to it (I love the sky in the Swords suit so far). The card is entitled "defeat" which is appropriate. Three full swords face two broken ones. Outnumbered .... battered .... broken. Without reading the book (which I will do soon), I assume that the flowers play a role in this card, as do the large stone momuments. In this particular case, I feel like the swords say it all.
Now, the question to me is this - how do you interpret this in a reading? If you are on the side of the two swords, you have been defeated. If on the side of the three, you are victorious. This card could have easily been labelled as Victory. Perhaps the the flowers invoke "truce"?
This was actually the card that I drew for my daily card draw this morning, so thought it was very timely that this thread popped up.
Contrascarpe, you bring up a good point, one I thought myself this morning when first looking at the card. Are you defeating someone, or are you the one facing the possibility of being defeated?
I guess that would depend on where it turns up in a reading and what some of the surrounding cards but my initial feeling is that as it has followed the 3 and 4 of Swords, that it could mean that if you rush into things too quickly without giving them enough thought that you could well be defeated.
Also when looking at the picture of the swords, the two broken ones seem like they are a bit trapped by the other three from above. Like they are surrounded and overwhelmed and perhaps should have thought more before taking on a battle where they were outnumbered 3 to 2. They will no doubt learn from this experience and become wiser as a result. "What doesn't kill you will only make you stronger" pops to mind.
PS. As an aside - I have also been looking through my new Thoth deck and its 5 of Swords is also called "Defeat".
In looking at this card at first my eyes are drawn to the skies... They are just beautiful.. the end of the day is the feeling I get from them....
Although the colors of the sky portay relax, soothe, tranquillity or peace (blue): youthful, femininie, warm (pink)
The swords in the air indicate otherwise.. 3 swords look battered and 2 swords are broken.. which they have no way of going against the other 3..
That is to tell me to accept what is going on around you.
I see 3 full swords with black (maybe burnt?) edges. Two broken swords stand their ground firmly against the greater force. A streaked grey sky, rose-colored where the light of the sun is trying to break through, the same color as the flowers circling the two implacable stones. Maybe two more stones in the distant background. A defeat yes, but an every-cloud-has-a-silver-lining-one.
On a personal note I feel this represents a situation at work I'm going through. I do addictions counseling and have an extremely resistant group made up mainly of young men on probation who were referred because of failing a drug test. They challenge everything and refuse to accept responsibilty for the actions that got them there. I feel outnumbered but I feel I'm giving them what they need. A broken sword is better that no sword. And occassionally one will ask a question or make a comment almost in defiance of the others, that lets me know that a ray of light is seeping in. If I was a brand new counselor I would have probably stormed out of there weeks ago, proclaiming that they're all hopeless. This card informs me that losing the battle is not the same as losing the war. It helps me see the whole picture.