Tarot of Prague - 5 Swords


This card is so interesting. The dragon is green, the colour of jealousy. He dominates the card and is so overpowering. He is breathing fire, he has just taken three swords from the soldiers. You can just hear him saying 'na na, nana, na - look what I've got and do you see those two swords on the ground? I can have those too if I want them'. He seems to be rubbing it in, almost laughing at them. He is enjoying their defeat so much. The three men sneak away, one is even tip-toeing. Just look at his face. It says it all really. 'Ut oh, better get out of here'. They have white feathers of surrender sticking out of the top of their helmets. I see a sneaky victory here.

The arch across the top of the card draws your eye to the tower, which reminds us that the higher you are, the harder you fall. The dragon will get his come-upance when the Tower destroys his beliefs. The archway symbolises the narrow-minded, limited, shortsightedness of the dragon. What goes around, comes around!

Many words come to mind to describe this card including - overwhelming, loss, degradation, to take advantage of others, jealousy, gloating.

I dont see the significance of the plant growing in the middle of the card. Any thoughts?

J :)

Bean Feasa

This card really adds something extra to the traditional RW 5 of Swords scene. The one in possession of the Swords is a dragon. The three soldiers look like they're clinging together in a miserable huddle, beating a hasty retreat. But of course they could also be regrouping, formulating some cunning plan. They could be going to pull off a kind of David versus Goliath stunt. Who knows. The 5 of Swords always gives me that feeling - there's a very definite victor - in this case a marvellous gloating, green dragon, but somehow I always get a feeling, a kind of Wheel of Fortune-ish feeling that the tables could be turned and things could go the other way. I don't really know why I see it this way.
I like the way the card is full of shadows - shadowy trees, shadowy smoky plumes of dragon's breath, his huge shadow falling bluish-grey on the ground. Does this suggest that sometimes we allow ourselves to be deceived by murkiness and lack of light, that we create our own obstacles and conflict, by not seeing the situation clearly enough? Are our aggressions, our perceived wins and losses sometimes just illusions? There's certainly an overall foggy, unclear sort of atmosphere.
The mast (if that's what it is) in the distance is an interesting touch - it and the matter-of-fact-looking houses glimpsed between the trees ground the scene, which might otherwise seem lost in the realms of myth, lacking in relevance to our lives in the modern world.
This card reminds me to face my demons and look them in the eye - my inner and outer aggressors and victims, to try to work out what the real losses and gains are, what the best strategy is in areas of conflict in my life.


I had this card come up in a reading today and the image that caught my attention was the tower in the background (off in the distance). In the book Karen says, " The background shows the Petrin Lookout Tower (Petrinska rozhledna). This is a 60 metre high scaled-down copy of the Eiffel Tower, built in 1891 on the occasion of the Jubilee Exhibition in Prague. It was closed to the public for many years but as finally opened again in March 2002 after major reconstruction".

Since the tower is high above the city and described as a lookout tower it gives the feeling that this disgraceful defeat is being watched. The three soldiers think that they are sneaking off and nobody can see them but anybody could be watching from the look-out tower and their seemingly sneaky act is not as private as they think.

This watching aspect indicates that sneakiness is often exposed. Meanness and selfishness within is usually discovered in acts that reflect those qualities. Defeats are not usually kept private.

Any other thoughts on that tower?



Jewel-ry said:
I dont see the significance of the plant growing in the middle of the card. Any thoughts?

J :) [/B]

That plant has me stumped also. It is right in the middle of the foreground, it cannot be ignored, yet I don't get a meaning for it. the only thing that comes to mind is hope but I don't really feel that.



The plant was in the original sgraffito. We talked about it a lot and decided to leave it in - I think we work with obsessive attention to detail at some points, while at others we actually go with a certain serendipity if it feels right. I like the plant as it is a poor struggling little thing that is managing to grow - at least in some way - in spite of all going on around it. I am not saying that this is deeply symbolic, more that it adds just a small nuance or touch that Alex and I both liked. The original sgraffitos in this series tend to have plants popping up in unlikely places - so the original artist obviously did want this. I think he was right - it adds a quirk that at the same time is quite touching.

We did try taking it out at one point - and it seemed to make things colder in an odd way.

I should also say that you can (just) catch a glimpse of this sgraffito in Milos Forman's Amadeus. In one scene Mozart is walking determindely and rather angrily into his house - part of these pictures can be seen behind him. It's a nice little coincidence, as in Amadeus Mozart is constantly betrayed and "set up" - due only to jealousy. It fits well - but no, it was not intentional (as I say, we try to "go with the flow" - or a kind of intuition - on some things, and it's amazing how this can end up supplying layers that could not have been planned in logically).


So interesting to hear the thought process involved with that plant, Karen. I like that you did leave it in, there is something that does make it belong in that scene. I can see how it adds a quirk that is at the same time quite touching (as you said). Very interesting about Amadeus too.



Yes, it was a good idea of leaving the plant there. I find it is acting as a wall or a truce between the group of men and the dragon. We can't know if it is permanent or not. But if this plant can survive near a dragon, it must be resistent to fire!


This is a special card, it's rather different from the RW.
The soldiers has lost the swords to the dragon, instead of trying to wins the battle with other means. They decided to sneak away.
Some of the times we find the easiest way out... by turning away, by ignoring the matters. Did you realize it's a selfish act to do so? Stop and think, there is always an option.

the beginner

Queen of Disks

This card makes me laugh. I can hear the dragon now, saying (in a Brooklyn accent) "Whats tha matta? You got no swords? Get outta here! Run home to your mothers!" :laugh: In my head, he sounds like a character from the Sopranos, for some reason.

I think these three men will have to come back and have another try at this dragon. There are houses in the background, and if the soldiers want to save the civilians, then the soldiers will have to come up with a Plan B. And if the soldiers can't do it, then the residents of these homes may have to save themselves.