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General Book of the Tarot, by A. E. Thierens, [1930], at

Five of Swords

TRADITION : Loss, dishonour, degradation, defeat, ruin, reversal of fortune, diminution, wronging, bad luck, destruction, etc. Reversed : Much the same, burial, obsequies. It is also said to represent a thief and theft, corruption, seduction, plague, and all that is hideous and horrible.

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THEORY: The element of Earth with its influence of Mars and Saturn on the Fifth house, ruling the heart, cannot be very 'favourable' in the ordinary sense of the word and is certain to lead to a feeling of being wronged by the world, an inner bitterness and impotence, which hinders enterprise and business; so these will suffer. And the heart itself, being of precisely the opposite nature, will suffer and find things awkward, horrible, hideous, etc. In the same way this card must indicate affliction of honour, which is ruled by the Sun. Moreover, as "from the heart are the issues of life," the card may indicate vice and a bad use of the inner or spiritual forces. Still there is another possibility, and this is given by Mr. W. when he says that this card's image signifies a man who "is master of the field." So he may be if the inner force is great enough to conquer the afflictions which assail him. In other words, it need not be a card of absolute defeat, for there may very well be a good result, but nevertheless it denotes serious difficulty and a critical moment or period in life, in which the querent or some one to whom it relates will be threatened with the above-mentioned sad effects.

CONCLUSION: Affliction, crisis, morose disposition, bitterness, impotence, lack of self-respect, or self-confidence; it may be that self-confidence is ascertained by some struggle or conflict; difficulties, which after all may prove very useful but necessitate much self-discipline. In the same way discipline of children is necessary. Enterprise or expansion is impossible or not advisable. Things indicated by this card may indeed be bad-looking or unpromising. There will be a question of a loss in most cases.

Next: Six of Swords