The Ace of Swords

The Ace of Swords card is the beginning of the Suit of Swords. This suit is represented by the element of Air and symbolizes conflict, losses, discord, and all of the anxiety provoking circumstances in life. It is often correlated with the Suit of Spades in a regular deck of playing cards. Air is used in the imagery of the Major Arcana to symbolize movement and things being upset by sudden change. All Aces signify beginnings, which is appropriate for their position; this card shows where things are beginning within the confines of the Suit of Swords. The Ace of Swords in a typical tarot deck will show a single sword, which is sometimes seen as the ruling force of law, firmly grasped by the hand of the divine high in the sky.

Because all Aces encompass initiations and all swords represent upset, worry, and illness, the querent will always be in a position of beginning a journey in the realm of authority and power when this card surfaces. This will be modified by surrounding cards, but it is very encouraging to find Aces in a spread as they foretell good fortune. Pairs of Aces in a tarot layout will show that there are two journeys happening simultaneously, and three Aces will reveal that there is good news about marriages or the birth of a child. If one is lucky enough to see all four Aces in their tarot layout, they will soon see great success. It is important to remember that although the Ace heralds new beginnings, there has to be an end in store to balance out the scales. Regardless of this, this particular Ace shows where the querent is starting out on a hard and nerve-racking journey or battle of some kind.

The Ace of Swords in an Upright Position

When the querent sees an Ace of Swords in a spread facing upwards, it shows bad news of some kind is on its way. This is really the beginning of an anxiety-provoking journey of sorts where there is worry and doubt. In addition, there may be broken plans or cancellations. There could be a breakthrough, but this will not silence the nagging voice of fear. There is a situation, meeting, beginning, or person that the querent is dreading having to meet, and they are anticipating disappointment or a poor outcome. The querent may also be healing from a conflict, breakup, losing one’s job, or sickness. The Ace of Swords could show delays with medical test results, wait lists for operations, or doctor’s appointments that the querent is nervous to attend. The triumph of this card doesn’t feel to the querent like winning, but it does provide some relief until the next battle ensues and he must take up his sword again.

The meaning of all Minor Arcana cards can be modified by the cards that surround it. Court cards from the Minor Arcana (Pages, Knights, Queens, and Kings) all represent people. They have corresponding physical characteristics as well as their own astrological correspondences. If the querent has suffered any wrong that they are recovering from, the court cards around the Ace of Swords will show who has wronged them and who is there to help the querent move on or heal. If there are Major Arcana cards nearby, these should be read in relation to the Ace of Swords as well. The Magician can show that the querent has been deceived by someone, and near the Moon would indicate that someone is keeping things hidden. Perhaps this is why the querent is so worried.

The Ace of Swords in a Reversed Position

The reversed position of each card of the Minor Arcana is really as it states: an inversion of the card’s meaning, but with cards holding a negative connotation, it can be magnified. The Ace of Swords show the divine hand plunging the sword into something below, which shows that the querent is worried about the sword of justice coming down on him for his underhanded activities. There may be worry that the law is coming, or the querent has not been given a truly clean bill of health yet and could experience additional problems. Whatever the case, the action of the sword coming down is seemingly deliberate. It is as if Karma is coming to collect from the querent in some way and if the querent finds themselves in trouble it is not a coincidence and not by accident that they should find themselves there. The querent may have to watch who he trusts. He may have been stabbed in the back by someone he normally feels secure with, or is paranoid that this is the case.

The reversed Ace of Swords seems to be dangling over the querent’s head, which signifies urgency and feeling that everything could fall apart at any given moment. A situation that was thought to be resolved may not be, and the querent could find himself trying to hide out or is waiting for the roof to cave in on him. Sicknesses may not be over as previously believed, and worry and anxiety are higher with the reversed Ace of Swords than with its upright position. If the querent is going through a divorce, there may be difficulty with letting go or the querent may face legal delays that make the proceedings drag on longer than expected. Whatever the case, the meanings of the Ace of Swords are amplified when it is reversed and there is more fear, conflict, and trouble brewing than once thought. Again, the cards that surround this will enlarge or diminish the card’s meaning, so keep this in mind to receive the full message that this card has to offer.

Key Terms

  • Sicknesses
  • Divorce
  • Delays
  • Cancelled plans
  • Fear
  • Doubt
  • Worry
  • Anxiety
  • Deception
  • Progress
  • Battles won
  • Long trials
  • Hard decisions
  • Breaking the law
  • Paranoia
  • Overcoming obstacles
  • Healing past hurt
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