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The Meaning of
the "Two of Swords" Tarot Card

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What is the inverted meaning of
the "Two of Swords"?

The Meaning of the "Two of Swords"
Tarot Card

The Symbolism of the Two of Swords

On a clear night, a young woman sits blindfolded on a simple stone bench in front of the sea.

The woman crosses two swords in front of her chest, in a perfectly balanced, meditative pose. She appears to be deep in thought.

Her blindfold reminds us that her deliberations are based on ideas, concepts and the powers of the mind; not visual clues or superficial traits. But it also indicates that there is much which is being hidden from her.

Her simple robe looks like the robe of a student or scholar, rather than one who has achieved a station, suggesting that she is perhaps training or being tested somehow.

...the water represents emotions and feelings which may also influence the woman's decision-making

A crescent moon hangs high on the horizon, symbolizing dreams and metaphysical influences which may affect the woman's decisions.

It's interesting that water is displayed very prominently here, which is unusual for any card in the suit of Swords and its associated element of Air. In this case the water represents emotions and feelings which may also influence the woman's decision-making.

NOTE: Observant students of Tarot may notice the many similarities between the Two of Swords card and the High Priestess of the Major Arcana: Both the Two of Swords and High Priestess bear the same Roman numeral 'II' at the top of the card. Both cards feature similar-looking, seated women, wearing nearly identical white robes. The numerological number '2' is repeatedly referenced in the symbolism of both cards as well. Other interesting similarities include the crescent moon in the sky which is replaced with a crescent moon at the feet of the High Priestess. And the crossed swords of the Two of Swords seem to be replaced with a cross-pendant worn by the High Priestess. Many tarot scholars believe (as with the Eight of Cups to Hermit story-arc) that the Two of Swords is laced with clues which reveal the early training of the High Priestess. Is this the beginning of her story?

How to Interpret the Two of Swords

The Two of Swords is the card of decisions.

The card references a troublesome choice, in which the two options are difficult to choose between. In some cases there may be a mix of positives and negatives with either answer. In other cases, both choices may seem to be equal to one another — but mutually exclusive.

... there may be a mix of positives and negatives with either choice. In other cases, both choices may seem to be equal — but mutually exclusive

In other cases, the card may reference a decision which must be made with only partial information; or a decision that involves risks and gambles.

Making matters more difficult, there are often emotional layers, logical layers, financial layers and moral layers to difficult decisions.

When the Two of Swords appears in a reading it's often a reminder to put on a metaphorical blindfold, shut out external influences and listen to one's inner wisdom and guidance.

If the card references a choice made in the past, it may serve as a reminder that life's choices aren't always clear. We are often faced with grey areas and conflicting desires which force us to make imperfect answers. Choices which seem strange in hindsight were such conflicted decisions.

Often times, the only wrong answer is to not choose an answer at all.

Take a moment of meditative stillness to consider the options, but choose we must.

NOTE: The Two of Swords is a very common card to draw clarifying cards with. If you need additional information about either of the paths before you, it's a great time to draw additional cards for extra insight.

The Two of Swords Inverted

There are times when it feels like there are no good answers. We walk through every scenario in our mind, and the results seem the same in every case.

While the upright postiion of the Two of Swords indicates a decision, the reversed Two of Swords indicates a paralysis of indecision.

You, or someone else is either being asked to choose between two things that are equal; Or they're being asked to cross some line which they're not ready to cross — or feel comfortable crossing.

We hide in a perfect limbo of indecision and hope the burden of choice will go away somehow.

Sometimes the act of not deciding can seem like the best choice of all; We hide in a perfect limbo of indecision and hope the burden of choice will go away somehow.

In other cases, the inverted Two of Swords represents some form of undue influence being made on a choice or a decision. Some external force may be attempting to swing a decision one way or another.

The reversed Two of Swords is a generally negative card. It also carries overtones of relationship stress, management issues and favoritism in the workplace.

Common Symbols Found On the Two of Swords Card

Tarot cards often use a a common symbology to illustrate information about how the card should be interpreted. The Two of Swords contains at least two common, repeating Tarot symbols. Each of these symbols can add greater layers of interpretation to the card.

The symbols which appear on the Two of Swords card are:

  • Water

    Water symbolism appears on the Two of Swords card:

    In Tarot illustrations, water comes in multiple forms — ranging from rain, to small pools, to winding rivers and streams, to endless seas and oceans. While each of these representations of water may carry a more specified meaning, water in all situations represents nourishment, emotion and intuition. In the Tarot deck, water is more common in the Minor Arcana cards, and is more often (but not always) linked to Cups cards.

    Read more about the symbolism of "Water" in Tarot  

  • Moons

    Moons symbolism appears on the Two of Swords card:

    Aside from The Moon Tarot card where one would expect to find Moon symbolism, the symbol of the Moon appears on several other cards throughout the Tarot deck. The Moon is a symbol of natural intuition, psychic ability and powerful emotions. The Moon is also representative of cycles of all kinds, and reminds us of the ever present cycles which make up our Universe.

    Read more about the symbolism of "Moons" in Tarot  

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