A man guides a boat through the waters, heading towards land. His passengers in the boat are huddled together, the woman wrapped in a cloak. Six swords stand upright in the boat.
They reader’s eye is immediately drawn to the forlorn figure of the woman and child huddled together in the centre of the boat in the Six of Swords. They cast a lonely outline, being transported across the waters towards land. We are unsure if the ferryman is part of the family or a stranger. We don’t know if they are heading home or leaving familiar territory. Either way, they seem miserable, distinctly unexcited by the prospect of reaching their destination.
The Six of Swords speaks to us of a journey we may not be looking forward to. Swords are related to the realm of the mind so it is more of a mental journey we must make rather than a physical. We may have been putting off this journey, or avoided considering our choices, but now we find ourselves on that path regardless of attempted delays. Huddled down, wrapped up in a cloak, surrounded by a cage of swords, we may feel isolated, lonely, imprisoned by the future ahead of us.
There may be other family or friends relying on us as depicted by the child in the Six of Swords. Our mental journey will be all that much harder because of this added pressure.
Yet despite the hunkered down nature of the woman, there are hints of hope in this card. The waters are calm. There is no immediate danger to us. We can see land ahead. The ferryman is guiding the boat steadily towards the land. Unknown to the woman, there is more to look forward to than initially meets the eye. Her family is close to her, even though times are tough. She is about to make land – not perhaps where she would wish to be but land nonetheless. The swords are mental in nature – they could even be self-imposed.
The card is even more complex when we consider that sixes in general associated with harmony and balance. Clearly, there is an element of harmony lacking in the Six of Swords, re-enforcing the notion that we are undergoing a forced or unwanted journey. That journey may be necessary to find the balance and consciousness hidden in the sixes. We may be leaving behind loved ones or things, we may miss home, friends or the familiarity we were accustomed to – but to progress we must push ourselves forward and transition to a new land.
We may also be stuck in a journey – a lonely journey at that. Depression, sadness and regrets surround us and may be holding us back. For some reason, we are unable to lift our head or our spirits and look up to see the positives around us – family, new opportunity, help (the Ferryman), calm waters.
In relationship readings, we may be finding it difficult to move on from a past relationship. We are in shock that our relationship has ended, unwilling to move on, living in the past and ignoring the present and future ahead of us.
Reversed: The Six of Swords reversed speaks of a deep sense of loss and sadness. We are finding it difficult to accept that life must move on, that sometimes our journey takes us in directions we do not wish to go. We find ourselves in a rut, neither moving forward not dealing with our loss. Everyday is pervasive in its sense of gloom and foreboding. Yet as long as the days go on, things will only become brighter when we start accepting our reality and looking up to the future.
Of course, our sense of loss may be so great that we ourselves are resisting the future. No matter what land we see or what help the Ferryman offers, we refuse to accept it. We remain rooted in the waters, lamenting the past, our predicament, our loss, wrapped up in our worries and fears. Meanwhile, life passes us by. The Six of Swords reversed reminds us that life is constantly moving on, even when all we want to do is hunker down and disappear from the stresses of it.