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The Five of Swords and the Meaning of Separation

‘’And ever has it been known that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation.’

Khalil Gibran
Have you ever been walking along the street and kapow! A thought literally drops into your head as if from nowhere?

This happens to me frequently and very often a card will come along and insist to be given a voice. This is what happened today with the 5 of Swords so I thought I would indulge our dear 5 of Swords and write down what this troubled card wants to say.

I say troubled lightly as I don’t believe there is such a thing as a bad card but the thing with the swords is they can spell dysfunction and struggle.

The swords are about our mental processes and thoughts. I have found that it is not others that can totally damage us but it is we, ourselves, that can dissect every last bit of goodness from our being just by thinking. We live in a society where self loathing is not only expected but encouraged and if you take the time and listen to the undercurrent of what people are actually saying, you will see that it is all about how much they loathe their assumed inadequacies, ineptitude and insecurities. However, we are kept in a state of lack by a consumer society that is built around us constantly wanting; it is never enough, someone else has something better, nicer or more beautiful, efficient, trendy and so on. On the whole, society yearns to have it all.

I like the Jungian approach to the human condition when he infers that this world is all about self.

It stands to reason that if we attack ourselves in a fit of morbid pique then this is what we will find in the world: destruction, rage and ruin. It would seem then that the answer would be to create an inner world that is calm, strong and self-loving. The external world is but a phantom of our internal landscape and all this loathing perpetuates the war machine which not only is a presumed fact of earthly life but a lot of gadgets, medicines and technology have come from lessons learned in warfare.

History is littered with man’s search for utopia. Every utopia is usurped by a dystopian paradigm. This is the rhythm of life and each epoch is subject to its utopia according to its consciousness

So, how do we reconcile ourselves to this? Let’s look at the 5 of Swords. For me this card represents having a much more positive mental approach to self. It is likely that there is a strong sense of separation due to conflict, intimidation and struggle.

We are being called upon to pick our battles well and it may mean that we have to accept defeat. Those voices within that blindside us and tell us we are not good enough are the enemy that must be vanquished! Now is the time for recognition, now is the time for achievement, now is the time for self-nurture, not in later years when the moment of awakening has passed.

This 5 also shows us that conflict is hidden.

Superficially all is well but underneath there bubbles a fountain of seething energy. All our unfinished business, scars and torment lie in wait for that moment when we can indulge in discord and spiritual confusion.

Yet, if we work with this card and see it as a portal to self-awareness we can begin to take control of our thoughts and the part the ego plays in forming them. Our thoughts are driven by the compulsion of the ego and ends up being self-defeating. We are being advised to take heed of the power of emotional states; harmful thoughts can create dis-ease and physical damage.

From this card we can form a structure for healing the wounded ego and engage in thoughts that mirror the beauty of our spirit through acceptance and observing separation.


I like the Reiki adage, ‘For today do not anger, for today accept.’ When we accept we can remain calm and protected from the destructive, wild forces of fiery anger. We step into flow.

This doesn’t mean we have to be so docile that we succumb to every whim and want from just anyone but we are in a position of authenticity. We can take our time to make our mind up and put our will into action.


By understanding the nature of separation we can return to our divine qualities and attributes. Most of our problems in the modern world are created by disconnection. Ultimately we become separated from the divine self. Duality is an illusion. Even though we have dualistic aspects, the carnal and the divine, the thrust of our evolving self is to unite these two aspects to become a whole. When we recognise how feelings of separation underpin our lives, we can transform those illusory concerns into an opportunity to unify all our different facets and see our true magnificence which is beyond the realm of the childish and demanding ego.

‘O you who stab the selfless one with the sword – you are stabbing yourself.’ Rumi.

And so, we welcome change and transformation.

We explore new alternatives, we release ourselves from old belief patterns and intellectual systems and strategies that fail to serve and uplift.

It is the survival of the fittest; the nature of evolution. The divine is in a constant state of evolution and we play a part in that process; as we grow so does the universe.

We have to adapt and to adjust at any given moment, this is more meaningful when our goal is to be whole and to be brilliant.
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