Deirdre of the Sorrows - Five of Swords


This card has appeared frequently in readings of late. Deirdre has eloquently described how each character could be identified with, and that has certainly applied to my readings where it has appeared.
When I first started on the path of tarot, I was taught the basics, and was advised this card meant you needed to be aware of what you were saying and to apologise if you knew you were in the wrong. Therefore there was an issue of hurting others or trampling over what they were doing in order to further your own cause. Deirdre has taken a slightly different approach, and one that many would associate with as being the more appropriate meaning for this card – that of victory or defeat.

So, who do you associate with? Let’s take a closer look at each character in turn.

Well, we don’t really think of him being victorious that’s for sure! Notice his clothing compared to the guy on the right. The rags are just about hanging off him. He has certainly been through a lot. His hand covered his eyes, his head is lowered and he is about to let go of his sword. If there was ever a character who needed to take some time out as shown on the 4 of swords it is this guy. He really has had enough and we just know he does not have any fight left in him. If you associate with this person, you may have to accept there is nothing more you can do. You have tried your best but there does come a time where we have to admit defeat. Not a nice thing to do, but sometimes we have to be realistic and accept situations as they are. Dropping of the sword signifies the fight from you is over.

He too is dressed in rags and the length of his hair and beard show us he has been involved with something over a long period of time. Notice how his brow is furrowed. Is he signifying anger and defiance? If so, how much longer can he really continue like this? Will his defiance eventually pay off, or will he become like the guy on the far left?
Could the furrowed brow show he is reflecting on the issue and may change his opinion or approach when he realises what the possible outcomes could be?

I spent a fair while looking at him through the book image, and I really did not know what to make of him. He left me feeling a little wary, and then I realised why. His glance backwards but his posture contradict each other. His clothing is slightly different in as much as only the sleeve appears ragged. My instinct led me to think he has betrayed one side or the other, or may be changing his allegiance. Which way will he go though? Will he side with the two previously mentioned characters and therefore over throw the victor? Or has he realised he will not be successful if he stays with these two characters and is about to align his energies with the victor? I really do believe either case could be possible. If you associate with this person, does it show you may be about to cede a point and change your allegiance? If so, what could be the benefits to you? The disadvantages?

This is obviously the victor. His clothes are intact whilst his physique underlies his physical power. He is the only one holding his sword at the ready, his stance showing he is prepared for action. He has his back turned to the other three characters. Is this because he does not see them as a threat? Or are these the characters he has defeated? Could this show some arrogance on his part, whereby he could be underestimating those who oppose him? If they were his own colleagues, it could even indicate the inclination to go it alone as opposed to making use of others who could be of support. (In this case though, it is understandable why he would not want to call on them for assistance) If you feel this does apply, why are you preferring to go it alone? What are the benefits of tackling something by yourself?
Deirdre has pointed out he has notches on his sword, indicating previous victories or successes. Could this show he is a natural survivor and one who will always strive to win? Or could it indicate he sees fighting as a sort of game, one where he relishes in keeping a tally of his successes? Can you identify with anyone with this character trait?

We see that there are some ruins on the hill behind this group of men. Is this something they are responsible for, or are they guarding what they have left?