The Five of Swords
Saturn rules obstruction and so can the earth element. And so the Five of Swords can be an extremely obstructive card. This means it’s all about what’s in your way. And, of course, the thing that is always in your way is you, even when it seems to be something outside you.
I feel that this card, more than any other, signifies the kabbalistic principle of resistance. Resistance is the limiting, confining or obstructing of a being for the purpose of giving it something to push against. For as you push against your challenge your magnify your own light, you grow spiritually.
It is wondrous to me that the number of this card, 69, is 3 times 23, and 23 is the Ace of Wands. The significance of this is that behind the rigidity and limitations of this card we see that it is a way of relating to or connecting with (3) a new cycle (Ace) of creative energy (Wands, which are the element fire).
69 adds up to 15, which is the Major Arcana ruled by Saturn. The fact that both the arcanum number of the card’s planetary ruler and its place on the Tree of Life (the fifth station) are both signified by Saturn emphasizes the Saturnity of this card. And if we subtract 15 from 69 we get 54, the four of cups, meaning that the way to utilize this card to the fullest is to maintain a positive, enthusiastic, and hopeful attitude toward the obstructions and lessons it may be imposing on us, no matter how hard they may be.
This card can signify stoppage, stillness, non-movement. It makes me think of a mountain. Sometimes a good way to handle it is to wait, to become contemplative, to do into the silence and just be for a while. These can be marvelous antidotes to frustration.
Certainly the card is asking you to be careful, cautious. It’s really good to move slowly now, to become more passive and observant. This card is working to bring spirituality into the physical world, and often when this happens the world does not understand or believe that what it is witnessing is of a spiritual nature. The card can mean the hiddenness of spirituality, and how a loss might actually be a gain, or a seeming tragedy might be a blessing.
In terms of 69 adding to fifteen, this is the second term in the 15-cycle, meaning that this is the first time after the number 15 that we encounter 15 again, and two always signifies refining and perfecting. So 69 is about refining and perfecting (2) our spirituality (15), which, given the current spiritual status of our world, tends to strongly go against materialism and all its beliefs.
A great way to support the energy of this card is to get rid of things you don’t need, to clear debris from your life. It can be good now to disengage from connections that are bringing you down or which are no longer serving your evolution. We might say that “no” is a great keyword for this card. It can signify economizing, dieting by both eating less and change what you are eating, applying more discipline where it is needed, etc.
And of course, the Five of Swords is compelling us to look at what is truly practical, which often turns out to be different from what many people think it might be.
For instance, if our primary reason for being here is to reach enlightenment, then meditation is practical. If we see that the principle of karma is real, then we can see that it’s practical to not automatically respond with hostility when someone pushes our buttons, that it’s practical to give away money to homeless people, and practical to go about spontaneously sparking laughter and love in others. As we do these things we are bringing into the world that bright Ace of Wands energy I told you of earlier, and serving the highest purposes of The Five of Swords.