The Six of Swords reversed isn’t the worst case of reversal. This is one of those reversed interpretations where the possibilities are more annoying than anything else. Like any card, the actual interpretation could range from mild to severe, but for this card, you’re likely looking at a situation where facing facts and just getting on with things is the key to moving toward a more positive outcome.
Sixes and Swords
The number six in the tarot is about balance. This is the number of give and take, the other end of the seesaw going up or down, one step back two steps forward, leaving the familiar for the better unknown, and so on. The Six of Cups, for example, is about pleasant memories of childhood or friendship seen from the perspective of an adult; the Six of Pentacles is literally generosity and giving/taking because it can represent lending and borrowing in one of its interpretations.
When you add in the Swords, the suit of logic, air, thought, and intuition, the interpretation turns to recovery after illness, leaving a bad situation for a better one, and even leaving one house for another, at a very mundane level. Unsurprisingly, this card in the suit of air and logic can also represent science, and society trades the unknown for the more-known. True to the imagery on the card, you could have a travel component in the interpretation. There is a hint of exhaustion here because of how the figures are usually depicted, with shawls wrapped around them like shrouds, heads bent down.
So When You Reverse Them….
The Six of Swords reversed means something is not getting better or not moving forward. You may be reluctant to make a move or take a trip, or you may even be refusing outright to go. If you are making the transition or change, it could be rough; mixups with movers, or maybe you’re happy to move, but you’re so sad to leave your neighbors that the move is psychologically difficult for you.
It could also mean a delayed or cancelled move or change. At a lower level, your flight may have been cancelled, or the new apartment may not be ready for you to move in on time. The new job could get delayed, or, on the science side, maybe results that should have allowed more research to go forward are not turning out the way you thought they would. Maybe you have fantastic science news, but you’re dealing with superstitious people who reject the science.
You could be isolating yourself instead of accepting the help you need. The card typically depicts a mother and child setting forth in a boat steered by a man, with all people having their backs to the viewer. Instead of letting someone help you make the change or move forward, maybe you’ve been refusing that help.
On the medical side, if you’ve been trying to recover from an illness, maybe you aren’t getting better, or a treatment is not as effective as you’d hoped. This isn’t necessarily disastrous. For example, it can represent a mom who caught a cold after taking care of one sick kid and who is on the road to recovery — and then the other kid gets sick and reinfects her. She’ll get over that cold, too, but her recovery and transition to a better state of health just got knocked off course. It can also mean that an exhausting situation will continue to be exhausting.
Yet another interpretation – nope, this isn’t over yet, fittingly – is that you’re not facing facts. The people on the card have their backs turned to you, and you’ve got your back turned to something important that you need to take care of. You need to face those difficulties to make things better.
On the relationship side, you may be stuck in a bad relationship, or your hoped-for new partner isn’t turning out to be as great as you’d thought. Maybe you want a divorce, but the divorce is delayed by negotiations over child support, custody, property, or pets.
Interpretations based on where the card shows up in the spread are pretty easy to spot. In an outcome position, the Six of Swords reversed could mean that your reluctance to do something will derail a change, or, if you asked if a medical procedure or treatment will work, there’s the indication it either won’t, or it will not be as effective. Don’t worry, though — this just means you can monitor your recovery more closely and switch to a new treatment sooner if you do realize the first one isn’t working.
A professional reading can help you sort all this out. With so many potential interpretations, hearing from another person could help you cut through the noise and find the real meaning.
This isn’t a card of doom, just one of hangups and delays. Most things are fixable to an extent with the Six of Swords reversed, but you have to face them. Don’t ignore what needs to be done.