Inspiring Enchantment & Illumination with Tarot & Intuitive Guidance

Tarot Card of the Week: July 13-19, 2009

Five of Swords
Defeat is a school in which truth always grows strong.
— Henry Ward Beecher

Here’s a card that we were getting repeatedly in 2007. I can’t say I’ve missed it much. As is the case with many of the Swords, and the Fives of all the suits, this one shows us conflict and strife. The man in the foreground gloats as the others retreat in a defeat. At his feet are their two swords, the spoils of his victory. Yet he bears three already – an unfair advantage that makes his victory seem empty. The sky is stormy, with jagged, threatening clouds.

Although unpleasant, this card happens to most of us, sooner or later. The question is, who do you identify with? The winner who appears to have outsmarted his foes, despite their greater numbers ? Or with the two figures near the water, who have suffered defeat? They had more manpower, but the smirking winner was more heavily armed, perhaps due to some kind of trickery, almost certainly having some unfair advantage.

If you are the victor, this card asks – is your victory ethical and how do you handle it? Gloating, humiliating and taunting those who you have bested is vulgar behavior unworthy of real champions. And it only serves to strengthen your opponent’s resolve to fight more fiercely next time. To treat our adversaries with disrespect sows the seeds of future trouble.

On the other hand, despite our best efforts, sometimes we may lose out to someone who opposes us, and who is perhaps unfairly advantaged. Have you been defeated or cheated out of success by a wily and cunning opponent? Do you feel you have suffered because of someone’s cowardliness, cruelty, or malice? Perhaps now is the time to walk away while you can.

This week there may be setbacks, and we may have to remember one of our least pleasant lessons – life is not always fair. Astrologer Pat Paquette notes, “Not only are we in a disorienting period between eclipses, but there are several inconjuncts this week that could present anything from annoying frustrations to major challenges.”

In whatever conflict may be brewing, be especially mindful to act with graciousness and diplomacy. If you must disagree with others, do so respectfully. Keep your heart open to reconciliation and forgiveness. Remember to be the peace you wish to see in the world.

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  • July 13, 2009, 11:18 am Athene Noctua

    Thank you for posting this today. Came into work to find my computer and desk gone, something I'd been told would happen. Only, I didn't have time to pull all my work planning/projects off the computers HD and put it into the network. So now I am trying to chase down my MIA info. This is a good reminder to be gracious to all involved, so I can, hopefully, see the return of all the information I need. A very timely card for me today.

  • July 13, 2009, 11:58 am Beth Owl's Daughter

    Yikes! Hope you get it tracked down soon!

    I, too, had almost instantaneous challenges today. The venue where we've had our Tarot Meetup for the last 3 1/2 years suddenly went out of business over the weekend, and one of our biggest events of the year is this Wednesday night! It was just "coincidence" that I even found out about it!

    So I'm right there with you, Athene… Breathing…doing what needs to be done…and finding the gracious path forward..
    – Beth

  • July 13, 2009, 1:25 pm ARIE

    Hey Beth,

    Remember the Gratitude film from yesterday? 🙂

    I myself always love to have meetings in nature under the stars, surrounded by trees, with candles marking a circle, and maybe a small fire in the middle.

    May you have a wonderful meeting. Wherever it will be.

    Sorry I'm not able to attend.


  • July 13, 2009, 2:24 pm Thalia

    WTH Beth, that's horrible! That sounds like the day my brother came into work on Tuesday at the computer game company after missing Monday out sick and found everyone packing stuff up. The place had closed that day with no warning.

    Wow. Over the weekend, and it sounds like they weren't even bothering to let people know? That doesn't sound quite… legal. Good luck.

    About this card. This:

    They had more manpower, but the smirking winner was more heavily armed, perhaps due to some kind of trickery, almost certainly having some unfair advantage.

    Maybe it's my position in this society as a woman, but I'm thinking that if it's two against one, then whatever 'trickery' the one is doing is not 'unfair.' It's simply an attempt to even the odds. Because two against one is not a fair fight, and expecting the one to fight to the expectations of the two–even if it's been defined as 'the rules'–isn't fair, either. In other words, if you're disadvantaged, it is perfectly ethical to say screw the rules. Because the rules have been made by those in a position of power and they have been designed to make sure the disadvantaged stay that way.

    So I'm with the smirker, I guess, though I am not fond of smirking myself. At any rate are the two people who lost physically harmed? No.

    I guess I don't believe in rules of conflict or something. Not because I believe that conflict is a good thing, or because I'm an underhanded cheater, but because the rules themselves are bogus and unfair, and like to cloak manifest unfairness in a mantle of 'honor.'

    Not much use for 'honor', either, come to think of it.

  • July 14, 2009, 2:43 am ARIE

    Hi Beth,

    Being this a stage card, what would this mean in this context?


  • July 14, 2009, 4:55 am Michelle

    I just did this – the reconcile gesture – in a manner of speaking.

    Lovely posts, Beth. I'm enjoying them so much. 🙂

  • July 15, 2009, 10:00 am Beth Owl's Daughter

    Ah! So many great comments here! Lots to think about. Yes, good point, Thalia .. it seems that 2 to 1 is also unfair – so there is plenty of blame to go around, maybe. And yes, Arie, it's a stage card. What does that suggest to you?

    I have heard from a number people in email and conversation that this card kicked in quite nearly instantly this week. Yikes! Not my favorite, but lots to learn from it.

    BTW – Sorry not to post right back, but it's been a scramble to get our meeting together for tonight (Wed.). Thanks for your good wishes.

    The people who owned the restaurant were going to call me – I know they would have, because they are also friends, but don't know when it would have been.. I just feel so sorry for them; they've both been working 80 hour weeks, using money from all their savings to stay afloat the past 9 months. This restaurant was their baby, a dream that was going very well, until the economy tanked last fall. They've been hanging on, but they are just utterly drained in a dozen ways. So sad.

    – Beth

  • July 16, 2009, 2:13 pm Alan Joel

    Nice analysis of the Five Swords. Always a good card to bring consideration to our lives when it shows up in a reading. I've always found Five Swords to be a card of an active nature … and bringing graciousness into such an active situation is always a good reminder. I've recently been writing about the Tower card in somewhat the same vein. Thanks for the reminder and insight about graciousness and gratitude.