Today we have an interesting card to explore on the anniversary of the tragedy of Sept ember 11 taking the current political climate into account makes it that more appropriate.
The Five of Swords traditionally shows a warrior holding up all the swords in an angry, victorious sort of way while the defeated are either lying in the back ground or walking away. This card has many meanings and usually the interpretation of it is very dependent upon the surrounding cards in the spread.
It is often interpreted as “one acting in self-interest”, it can mean adopting an “us against them” mentality and choosing discord and battle over peaceful relations. It can also mean sacrificing integrity when focusing on the ends justifying the means. While the meaning in the Mythic Tarot is somewhat different, I think the traditional meanings are worth keeping in mind today.
In the Mythic Tarot, we see Orestes sitting on the ground being lectured by Apollo who is handing Orestes five swords. Apollo has just told Orestes of the murder of his father by his mother and he is demanding that Orestes avenge this murder. Orestes has a choice, he takes revenge and thus angers the Furies who are against matricide, or he disobeys Apollo and faces his wrath instead. Orestes didn’t want any of this and you can see how taken aback he is and how beaten down he feels by being stuck in this situation. Basically, when this card comes up it represents being stuck between a rock and a hard place. It’s not a situation of your own making but you’re stuck right smack in the middle of it and can’t get out. Even though it’s not a pleasant job, you have the tools to get it done (see the swords being handed to you?) The choice is still yours whether or not you take on this task but there will be consequences no matter which path you take.
I can only imagine what Barack Obama is feeling today.