6 of Swords Tarot Card Meaning

6 of swords tarot card

6 of Swords typically depicts people on a boat going on a journey, hopefully to a brighter place (see images below). The passengers are leaving stormy waters to a calm area, towards the sunlight and future.

I suggest, while looking at this card description, you have your tarot deck in front of you and decide for yourself if you agree with the feelings on this page or if the card represents something entirely different to you.

*The image at the top of the page does not depict all of the feelings represented by a specific tarot deck! You can find other tarot card meanings here!

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6 of swords tarot card

A few words to describe the card:

moving forward, travel, required journey

6 of Swords

The 6 of swords represents a journey. Unlike the trip depicted in the wands, this one is less full of hope, but dangerous and required. This journey can be turbulent. But it needs to be gone through. There’s no turning back now. We’re heading towards something positive, while the pathway previous was difficult. It might still be a strenuous journey, but worth it in the end.

This journey isn’t necessarily physically traveling; it can also represent an emotional or mental journey. We may have been going through something and it’s time to move forward. It’s taking the steps to a brighter future. One that we can flourish in. Not going backwards

6 of swords - moving forward. Can't go back, only one direction. but towards something more positive.


I’ve decided to do a highlight of specific tarot cards, if the decks have significantly different meanings. You can find more cards and descriptions here.

I’ve learned a lot about tarot cards through reading books, websites, and the booklets that come with the books. These posts I’m hoping will be slightly different, because they highlight maybe different aspects. Tarot cards are meant to have different meanings to everyone, so take what agrees with you and think on the rest. I’ll be comparing the images of my current tarot decks, and how the feelings differ for me based on which deck I use: Healing Light Tarot, Rider Tarot Deck, and Triple Goddess Tarot. Typically, I consider the Healing Light to have a more masculine energy and Triple Goddess to have a feminine energy associated with it.

Differences and Similarities between Decks

To me, each of these 6 of swords cards represent something completely different. That’s why it’s important to not memorize the meaning of a card, but also focus on what each card means to you.

In the Healing Light Tarot deck, my interpretation is that people are off on a journey. They cannot come back until the goal of the trip is complete, if they are ever to retun. They are being forced to leave the land, but it’s for the better. The swords are keeping the travelers heading towards the bright light, rather than returning to their original place. It might be a dangerous journey, but they cannot come back. It’s time to move on. No people are represented in this card, but a large ship.

The Rider Tarot deck seems to have a family heading out. They are trying to get away from turbulence and to the calmer ground near the land in the distance. The swords seem to be sheltering them on the boat.

6 of swords in the Triple Goddess Tarot deck is ambiguous as to whether the people are leaving or entering the cave. It seems like regardless of which way they go, once they are out of the entry way, the swords will close as a gate. The boat probably is facing out of the cave, but there’s an interesting feeling towards entering into Hades‘ layer. This journey does not seem to be a positive one, but one that’s required. The only way to move forward is to go through. Or they are leaving the darkness and into the sunlight. But they will not be able to come back from where they came once the sword gate closes.

Still Confused?

Still confused about the meanings of the cards? A few tools that have been really helpful for me have been: practice, taking the time to look at each card, read books like Tarot: Learn How to Read and Interpret the Cards by Kim Arnold. Or try out tarot spreads! Try doing a simple reading every day. The Labyrinthos app is really helpful too. Or try some that I’ve created by looking here: Tarot Spreads.

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Want other comparisons of tarot cards? Find those here! It might help you better understand how tarot decks are different.