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The Two of Swords in Tarot and How to Read It

Andrea has a background in Myers-Briggs and Western astrology. She mostly writes about relationships.

The Two of Swords indicates a clashing of perspectives. Since an individual is holding the two clashing swords, it means they're dealing with a personal conflict.

The Two of Swords indicates a clashing of perspectives. Since an individual is holding the two clashing swords, it means they're dealing with a personal conflict.

Basics About the Two of Swords

This is an ominous-looking card upon which a blindfolded person is holding two swords. If they act too quickly, they could really hurt themselves. The card is ultimately about trusting your intuition. It is a sign that you need to study patterns and not just rely on tangible information or overt stimuli.

The Two of Swords is a balancing act of the mind and heart. The card encourages you to be in good alignment with yourself. How would you describe your relationship to yourself?

Card Alignments

Upright

Decisions, balancing act, an impasse, avoidance, patience, composure, delays, burden, stealth, meditation, contemplation, pause, serenity, calm, equanimity.

Reversed

Indecision, confusion, muddled, insomnia, overstimulated, stalemate, suffering, fear, second-guessing yourself, relying on old habits, retrogression, impulsive, wishy-washy.

When you cross two swords in front of you, it effectively makes a shield. The Two of Swords indicates a defensive pose as opposed to an offensive one.

When you cross two swords in front of you, it effectively makes a shield. The Two of Swords indicates a defensive pose as opposed to an offensive one.

Card Description and Key Meanings

A woman in a white gown sits on a bench with a blindfold over her eyes. She holds a sword in each hand and crosses her arms over her chest. Behind her is the sea, and the crescent Moon is hanging over her left shoulder.

The woman is seated like the woman on the High Priestess card—both cards are about intuition. Both cards also have to do with dualism, making choices, and balancing the conscious and subconscious.

On the Two of Swords, the woman's blindfold suggests she cannot rely only on her senses. She needs to examine her feelings, particularly at a gut level. In order to move into her higher self, she needs to get in touch with her subconscious.

The card is about balancing decisions. The card is like a combination of Cancer and Libra. The nice thing about this card is the woman is in control: she grips the swords. If she moves slowly, she can unravel her arms without harming herself. It is a precarious situation.

The woman must be disciplined in order to hold her pose and not hurt herself. She must trust herself and needs to have faith and patience to get out of her predicament.

Blindfolds are used in many cultures to encourage reliance on other senses. Blindfolds are also used in some types of martial arts. Though she cannot see, the woman isn't afraid; she is composed. She wields both weapons with grace and maturity and does not falter.

The sea on the card is calm, and the Moon is young. The Two of Swords overall encourages one to meditate—not act. It is likely a sign that you need a mental tune-up. Once you have a good idea of what you need to do, you can safely apply action.

Another important thing to note: the woman's dress color. White represents youth and new beginnings. It also represents a pure mind or the crown chakra. With an open crown chakra, the woman will find clarity.

The Sword Cards Deal With Nobility

The woman on the card isn't simple. She is part of the Second Estate, which is also known as the noble or knight class. Her white gown makes her look more simplistic and humble than she actually is, but she isn't a peasant. She is someone who has been initiated into the Suit of Swords.

Considering this is the second card of the suit, her rank isn't necessarily high. She is training for battle by trying to learn how to attack her enemies at night. She doesn't really need the blindfold; it's nighttime. The Moon is young, and there are no stars in the sky, so it's probably foggy or cloudy. The woman wants to train at night so she can be ready for battle at any time.

Training is a necessary part of battles and conflicts. You have to role play emergencies in order to get body memory. That way, when the real thing happens, your movements are second nature.

Training gives you the freedom to explore. You're allowed to fall short in training, and training is a good space for experimenting with both success and failure. When it comes to the battlefield, there is no room for error.

Tarot Suits

WandsPentaclesSwordsCups

Element

Fire

Earth

Air

Water

Elementals

Salamanders

Gnomes

Sylphs

Undines

Colors

Red

Green

Yellow

Blue

Represents

Free will

Physical Manifestation (The Body)

Thoughts

Emotions

Numbers

1, 5, 9

2, 6, 10

3, 7, 11

4, 8, 12

Animals

Land Mammals

Reptiles

Birds

Fish

Music

Percussion

Brass

Woodwinds

Strings

Seasons

Summer

Spring

Winter

Fall

Four Humors

Yellow Bile

Black Bile

Blood

Phlegm

Body Representations

Head, Heart, Thighs

Throat/Neck, Chest, Legs/Shins

Arms & Shoulders, Belly, Ankles

Hands, Root Chakra (Spine Base), Feet

Ruling Planets

Mars, Sun, Jupiter

Mercury, Venus, Saturn

Mercury, Venus, Uranus

Moon, Pluto, Neptune

Western Astrology

Aries, Leo, Sagittarius

Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn

Gemini, Libra, Aquarius

Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces

Chinese Zodiac

Dragon, Monkey, Rat

Snake, Rooster, Ox

Horse, Dog, Tiger

Sheep, Pig, Rabbit

Yin and Yang

Yang

Yin

Yang

Yin

Court Cards

Knights

Pages

Kings

Queens

Poker Equivalents

Clubs

Diamonds

Spades

Hearts

The swords and wands are similar. The swords are made of metal and the wands are made of wood. The swords indicate important and final decisions. Once a decision is made, it's difficult to go back on it.

The swords and wands are similar. The swords are made of metal and the wands are made of wood. The swords indicate important and final decisions. Once a decision is made, it's difficult to go back on it.

Upright Two of Swords

When upright, the woman on the card is weighing her thoughts on both sides of a situation. She is trying to be fair and just. Similar to the Justice card, she believes the truth will only come forward if both sides of a story are shared.

In this position, this card indicates you are facing a difficult choice. Perhaps you were offered two jobs, one that's closer to home but pays less and another one that's far away and a place you've never been . . . but it pays more.

You're uncertain what is the right choice, so you're contemplating the decision. You're putting things on pause until you find clarity. This card is a sign that this is the smart thing to do.

You might also be in a situation in which you have two options and you know both outcomes are bad. You have to pick the lesser of the two evils. Sometimes people will deny picking either choice because they can't be fussed with two bad options. They resign to whatever is the default.

Advice for Navigating Options

Study out the pros and cons of your choices. Consider your highest priorities. If you approach your decision with thought, you'll eventually find that one decision sticks out more to you than the other.

Take a weekend to think things over. Make your own charts, graphs, and spreadsheets. Daydream about the possibilities before you. Step away from your decision and go for a walk or run. Perhaps you're thinking about your decision too much. You're too close to it to really see it clearly. Give your decision some space, and perhaps the correct answer will reveal itself.

Consider a Third Option

If you really don't like either option, you could deny both and wait for a third option. This is often the best choice in a love reading. If you have two suitors and neither really grabs your attention more than the other, then neither is worth your time.

Both suitors have failed to really make you feel special. Love is one of those things where you feel you have to dive in, or else you might miss your chance. A suitor shouldn't make you feel like you need to sit on the fence and meditate.

Incomplete Data

You might be missing a key piece of information, which is preventing you from moving forward in a realistic manner. You might have to be patient for the critical piece to arrive.

Intentional Stagnation

You could be intentionally stalling things in order to prevent a decision. If you refuse to resolve the issue, you will lose your say. You may lose both opportunities, or you may risk a whirlwind of threats. There is a time to step back and not add to the noise in a room, and there is also a time when you have to make a concrete choice. Listen to your intuition to help you develop the best strategy.

This card is a reminder that you hold the power. You hold the swords, and this means you get to decide how you're going to cut out a path for yourself. Remember: holding off on a choice can create more problems. Try to nip things in the bud—not when you have a full-grown tree.

In a love reading, the Two of Swords indicates that you have two suitors before you but neither really grabs your heart. The indifference indicates that you should wait for a third suitor.

In a love reading, the Two of Swords indicates that you have two suitors before you but neither really grabs your heart. The indifference indicates that you should wait for a third suitor.

Reversed Two of Swords

This card is a warning when it shows up in the reversed position. It's a sign that you may be trying to force a decision before you really have enough information. Perhaps you're worried that if you don't move fast enough, you'll be sorry.

If you make your decision before you have all of the critical data, however, you could end up doing something disastrous. You're more likely to make the wrong decision when you act off impulses.

Crippling Indecision

The card could also indicate that you're severely stuck in indecision to the point that you can't envision either option or come up with a list of pros and cons. You have severe brain fog. Your indecisiveness is giving you anxiety, and you might be losing your sense of calm. In the upright position, this card indicates calm, serenity, and equanimity. In the reversed position, the card indicates turbulence, lost sleep, and fear.

Fear isn't the best motivator for decisions. Fear is based on bad sources and unreliable emotions. The Suit of Swords is trying to teach you to be more pragmatic and wise. You need to see connections and a pathway to answers. You don't just make decisions based on strong emotions. Anger can be confusing, and sadness can sometimes betray you. Watch enough TV shows, and you'll see how your emotions can be manipulated.

Scrambled Thoughts

In some sense, this card is a sign you are maybe out of tune with the solutions you need. You have the skills necessary to solve the dilemma, but you're refusing to actually see them in your mind. Your head may be too full of distractions and nonsense. Perhaps you're having a hard time cutting out a path in your mind and feel very muddled. When your heroes are muddled in Final Fantasy, it means they may strike at anyone, including their own teammates. You don't want to be muddled; it gives your opponents the upper hand. In fact, if you are muddled, it would be best for you to leave the arena until you do have your head on straight.

Apply Sound Methods

This card could be a reminder to look to expert opinions, do more research, and minimize your distractions. Perhaps you need to tidy up your home or cut down on all your social interactions. You need to set things up in a way that makes it easier for you to focus.

Perhaps you're in a working environment that doesn't promote real solid thinking but chatter and gossip. This card could be indicating that your workplace is really getting to you and that eventually, you'll need something to change, whether your workplace needs adjusting or you have to take on a new job.

Internal Sensor Not Working Right

Your internal compass may need to be recalibrated. Right now, you can't make heads or tails of what is north or south, and your arrow is pointing everywhere. You need to rest so that you can get your equilibrium back, and so your compass points to true north.

Stuck in the Middle

Don't get stuck as the negotiator or peacemaker. If you're stuck between two sides, perhaps you need to bring those two parties to the table and get them to start talking to each other—and not just use you as a sounding board. Put a timetable on how long you'll be their go-between before they have to meet each other.

People need to be adults and learn how to work with each other to resolve issues and not just use friends or family members to convey messages. That will get old really quick.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2022 Andrea Lawrence