Wednesday, April 30, 2014

5 of Swords: Appropriate Letting Go, Healthy Self Care

Here is the card I got for today's pull. I actually got it twice. I received it and I thought, "UGH...5 of Swords?" So I shuffled it back into the deck. Upon pulling again I decided just to accept what I got. The 5 of Swords reared its head again, so I am going with that! And really this card isn't so bad. I am learning to love this message, and hopefully, to follow it.

Some decks highlight the sense of mental defeat--needing to see things from a new perspective. I think that's very valid. For me, this card very often means a necessary letting go. This guy is waving his white flag, offering up a surrender. When you've got an armful of sticks like in the 10 of Wands, a burden that's hard to carry but you just won't drop it...well, it's time to...DROP IT! To polish off an old chestnut, sometimes knowing when to walk away, let go, drop stuff, is the healthiest thing.

I loved this portion of the Learn Tarot website's description of the 5 of Swords:

acting in your own self-interest
setting aside the concerns of others 
looking out for number one 
thinking of your own needs 
knowing you must concentrate on yourself 
encountering selfishness 
indulging in power plays 
going for the win-lose result
Well, it wasn't so much the indulging in power plays and whatnot that I liked. It's the whole idea of needing to take care of yourself. If we act out of self interest it is often a good thing--something that is forgotten in a society that favors martyrdom over self care. I definitely LOVE nurturing others, doing things for others, gifting things to others, supporting others, but it can also be very tiring if it isn't balanced out by letting go of responsibility from time to time, and/or turning over the responsibility to taking care of yourself.

There's a pretty thoughtful portion of the description of this card on the Learn Tarot site:

The Five of Swords is about self-interest. Society tells us to think of others, yet we resist. How we can ignore our own concerns and still survive? This dilemma comes from our definition of self. If we view our self as our personality/body, our interests become those that relate to that self. Do I have enough to eat? Am I happy? Do I have all I want? 

We may expand our concern to those we love, but, then, how can we stop there? We are connected to everyone in the long run. In truth, our self is the world. What we do to that world, we do to ourselves. This understanding is so basic, but so infuriatingly easy to forget day-to-day.

In readings, the Five of Swords can mean that you or someone else is forgetting this larger view of self. You are defining your interests too narrowly. If you try to get ahead in isolation, your actions will come back to haunt you later, one way or the other.

Sometimes this card implies a need to put your own interests first. If you are being abused or taken advantage of, you must get free. If you are worn out by demands, take care of yourself. If it is your turn, step forward and claim your due. Just be aware that if you hurt others in the process, your victory will not feel complete.

It's been a recent theme in my life to see that modeling self-care, good self-esteem is highly important. It is something I see women in this country (and men, too!) need to do more of. We're taught that delegating tasks in order to do things for ourselves is indulgent. But what this results in is showing our children that our sanity and our selves are sacred and it's crucial to care for ourselves. I see such a legacy of negativity toward ourselves. To me, that's just as abusive as being cruel to someone else. It's not OK to be cruel to ourselves. To ignore our own needs and the loud messages we receive from our bodies and minds when we're burnt out and miserable is madness! It is so loving, so nurturing, and in everyone's best interest, to infuse our lives with positive self-talk, positive self-concept.

Who's with me? :)



  1. I absolutely agree. I like the part when you write about balance. Sometimes when you've been neglecting yourself too long the scale can tip over to the other side and self care becomes selfish. My card for today was Temperance, which combined with yours make a great pair :)

    1. Thanks, Ellen! Yes, balance is very important and Temperance is a great companion card to this.

      The part that concerns me most with giving vs. receiving is the language we use. If we are down in ourselves we teach/model that negativity to others. That was my main concern here. Things begin within.