"Pride comes before a fall"
The 5 of Swords is a card of empty (and pointless) victory, low self esteem, quarrels and even violence. 5's are never welcome cards in any tarot reading and Swords are often troublesome. This card especially is a warning not to be taken lightly. The imagery is one of the aftermath of a battle. The victor picking at the remains. The defeated have turned their backs and walked away. This is a man without friends. There's no real prize here for anyone and the bleak landscape and grey sky sums up the mood of despair for all. What was the purpose of the fight? To strengthen an ego hell bent on it's desperate need to be right. The pitfall of being viewed as sanctimonious. This tragedy could have been avoided through diplomacy, listening to what others have to say, accepting differing opinions and searching for, and reaching, common ground.
There are no friends in this picture. No unity, only loneliness. Too often we allow our views of the world, our identities, our religious or political beliefs to drive a wedge between us. By placing less value and priority on these abstract mental constructs we can build bridges between and create harmony for all.
The element here is Air which relates to challenges, conflicts and the mental aspects of our lives. The storms on the path of life that we have to navigate through. Like the steel in the sword we are tempered by the hammer and flames of life's challenges and trials
The negative aspects of the number 5 in numerology are irresponsibility, procrastination, carelessness, self-indulgence and thoughtlessness. In numerology the 5 also represents freedom and scattered energy. This combination of element and numerology would suggest not focusing on doing one thing well but many things badly. Not thinking things through properly and being forceful in gaining the upper hand or victory only for it to later turn against you into defeat and humiliation.
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THE PICTORIAL KEY TO THE TAROT
By Arthur Edward Waite (1911)
A disdainful man looks after two retreating and dejected figures. Their swords lie upon the ground. He carries two others on his left shoulder, and a third sword is in his right hand, point to earth. He is the master in possession of the field. Divinatory Meanings: Degradation, destruction, revocation, infamy, dishonour, loss, with the variants and analogues of these. Reversed: The same; burial and obsequies.