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Six of Swords Tarot Card Meaning (Compromise & Abandonment)

Updated September 11, 2023

The Six of Swords’ meaning relates to escape and sanctuary. You seek refuge by fleeing an unresolvable conflict.

You know when it is time to move on and seek calmer waters. The Six of Swords reminds you to pick your battles.

The Six of Swords tarot card appears when you have taken an argument to its conclusion. You can’t influence everyone. Know when to save your energy.

Sometimes you can’t convince others to embrace your perspective no matter what you try; the Six of Swords guides you to cut yourself free from toxic situations.

Seek refuge from a trauma or loss with the help of others. You may feel alienated, but you have the support of people who understand you. Lean on your allies for support.

Six of Swords Tarot Card
UprightRefuge, Relief, Compromise
ReversedStubbornness, Alienation, Abandonment
Yes or NoYes
ArcanaMinor Arcana
Zodiac SignGemini
Angel Number6

Common Symbolism

A man stands on a boat paddling his companions, usually a woman and child, to calmer shores. The figures’ positions with backs turned to symbolize closure. When the Six of Swords appears, you must accept limitations. Turn away from the past and focus on the future.

Six swords point down in the front of the boat. In other variations, the swords float above the boat in midair. Sometimes the Six of Swords depicts a vessel with swords in alignment and no people.

The family in the boat leaves behind choppy waters of turmoil. They head for serenity, and blue skies await. The symbolism of the Six of Swords indicates success on the horizon when you let go of trying to change the past.

In some decks, the Six of Swords is not fully illustrated. Some variations show six swords arranged in a pattern against a plain background. Yet traditionally, the Six of Swords imagery suggests movement away from tension and toward peace.

Different portrayals of the Six of Swords repeat the water motif. Sometimes there is only one figure portrayed in the scene. The figure is often in a boat or walking on or in water.

Although the suit of swords is associated with the element air, water on this card indicates its relationship to emotional healing. The Swords (focus, attention, perspective) help you redirect your mind and set boundaries, improving your emotions.

Sometimes the vessel portrayed in the Six of Swords indicates a figure rowing from the front of the boat. The symbolism suggests you are in charge of your destiny, compared with a figure rowing from the back of the boat suggesting less power and control.

The six swords aligned at the front of the boat suggest conflict is still prevalent in your mind as you move on to better shores. You master your anxieties and control your journey when the swords are in the back of the boat.

Some versions of the Six of Swords feature carrion birds flying near the boat. The symbolism of the birds suggests loss or sacrifice as part of the journey.

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Upright General Meaning

The Six of Swords’ meaning relates to acceptance and moving away from stress and trauma. The number six correlates to solutions, balance, and harmony. The Six of Swords advice is to solve a problem by letting go and seeking higher ground.

The Six of Swords reminds you not to waste your time and energy fighting an unwinnable battle. Avoid willful arguments that achieve nothing. Know when to drop the subject.

You may not be able to convince everyone to follow your lead but you have a core group or family who supports you. Take time to be with people who lift you. You find relief but not in the form you expected.

You may not have the last word in a disagreement, but you maintain your peace of mind, which is more important. The Six of Swords signals the need for travel, retreat, or move away to a safe harbor.

The Six of Swords yes or no is complicated to interpret. Your answer is favorable but with a caveat. Adjust your expectations, and you will get your wish.

Upright Love & Relationships

The Six of Swords in love indicates loss and sadness, but a silver lining if you tread carefully. You seek refuge with a partner, and downtime together restores your serenity and connection.

The Six of Swords indicates accepting loss; the image of the family on the boat retreating together suggests you are not headed for a breakup. However, you may feel like your partnership or family has been ostracized or alienated.

You can salvage a relationship by dropping a power struggle. Your romantic relationship may be tense because of pressures that threaten to undermine your connection.

The Six of Swords followed by the Seven of Swords can indicate trouble brewing in your relationship because you succumb to outside pressures. Anxiety and negativity infiltrate your relationship and cause damage.

The Six of Swords suggests someone close to you is sick, and you take on a caregiving role. Rearrange your priorities to care for a spouse, parent, or child, but the changes are temporary.

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Upright Money & Career

The Six of Swords in career and money suggests you fight a losing battle at work. A career path you were counting on is disrupted, and your only option for success is to reroute and change your plans.

Pick your battles and know when to give up an argument for serenity. Accept a situation you can’t change. When the Six of Swords appears look for a new job, you can’t progress in your current position.

The Six of Swords also denotes the need to spend more time with family. You may take a break from work to care for a family member. A move or relocation causes you to seek work in a new place.

Your finances are drained because of a disruption in your life, such as a family emergency. You have enough money to meet your basic needs but must be strategic as your income is unpredictable as you manage a change or crisis.

Upright Health

The Six of Swords indicates an illness impacting someone close to you. A child, spouse, or family member is sick or injured and you become a caregiver temporarily.

Your health is strained because of your responsibilities as a caregiver. Avoid burnout and seek support from people close to you. You can’t manage the stress alone.

A toxic environment jeopardizes your health. You may have to choose between work and health. Make your health and the health of your loved ones a priority.

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Upright Spirituality

The Six of Swords in spirituality means you have lost faith and seek refuge to figure out your priorities. You may feel alienated or disconnected from your community.

Your spiritual principles and ideals don’t align with the people around you. Step away from people who have a negative influence on your mindset. You can gain perspective by spending time with people who empower you.

You can heal your spiritual connection by changing your environment. Surround yourself with people who inspire you. The Six of Swords indicates a need to reset your focus and change your perspective to find serenity.

Reversed General Meaning

The Six of Swords reversed indicates you’ve given up on a goal or are in denial about a power struggle. You lack balance, and instead of accepting a situation with serenity, you go to extremes or abandon your goals.

You may go through the motions when the Six of Swords appears reversed, but you haven’t internalized wisdom from your challenges. Rather than adopting a new perspective or learning from a challenge you push forward or drop out.

You ignore opportunities and insist on having your way rather than accepting an outcome you don’t want. The Six of Swords reversed shows difficulties in coming to terms with defeat.

Accept a situation even if you don’t like it. You must change course but try to learn from the experience rather than running away or hiding from pressures and stress.

The Six of Swords reversed yes or no is unclear. Rather than a definite yes or no answer, the Six of Swords reversed guides you to dig deeper to learn a lesson before you move on from a conflict.

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Reversed Love & Relationships

The Six of Swords reversed in love indicates you are out of touch with your partner or family’s needs. You may continue to go through routines while a partner needs additional attention.

A family member or partner struggles with illness or stress, and you may be too distracted to attend to their needs. Shift your priorities to fulfill an obligation to your partner and family.

A relationship is on the rocks, and you must acknowledge the strain in your partnership. When the Six of Swords is reversed in love, you ignore red flags in a relationship and hope everything will return to normal.

Reversed Money & Career

The Six of Swords reversed in a career or money reading indicates stagnation in work. You are burning out and aren’t taking care of your underlying needs.

The Six of Swords reversed followed by the Eight of Swords suggests you try to move on from a stressful situation but aren’t finding new opportunities. A deeper lesson is looming. Pay attention to the bigger issues.

You need to learn something or develop deeper insight when the Six of Swords is reversed in career and money. You may change jobs but a challenge remains because you haven’t changed your perspective or behavior.

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Reversed Health

The Six of Swords reversed in a health reading suggests you are drained and need rest. You’ve been working hard to care for others but neglecting your health.

You need support caring for loved ones or family members so you can attend to your health. You may lose balance and perspective because you’ve been working too hard.

Your health suffers because of stress and anxiety. Take a break and recharge after a period of caregiving. Your responsibilities weigh heavily on you, but you are stubbornly refusing help. Be open to letting others assist you.

Reversed Spirituality

The Six of Swords reversed in a spirituality reading indicates blind faith or unfulfilling spiritual routines. You may go through the motions of ritual and spiritual practice but are disconnected from your higher wisdom.

A period of rest or retreat helps you replenish your spiritual connection. Avoid superficial spiritual practices that have no deeper meaning for you.

You may seek new spiritual beliefs or practices after a crisis. Be open to leaving a toxic spiritual community in search of a community that aligns with your beliefs.

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