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The Meaning of
the "Two of Swords" Tarot Card

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Tarot Quick Info

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Quick Tarot Meanings:

A difficult decision lies before you. There is a kind of perfect balance to your indecision at this time. You hold a different option in each hand -- only you can remove the blindfold and choose for yourself.

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

If this card appears, things are out of balance. Old rivalries reappear. A time of peace may be the calm before the storm. Arguments arise. Confusion reigns. An overload of information.

Advanced tarot interpretation

(Applies to the upright position)

The Symbolism in the "Two of Swords" Tarot Card:

A young woman sits blindfolded on a stone chair in front of a beach. There is a shallow, rocky lake in the background. A waxing moon hangs high above her left shoulder.

The woman crosses two swords in front of her chest. Her simple robe suggests a student or acolyte, rather than one who has achieved a high station. Unlike most of the other swords tarot cards, water is featured prominently here as well as air.

The Meaning of the "Two of Swords" Tarot Card:

The Two of Swords tarot card presents us with an impossible choice: This choice cannot be made while blindfolded. But to remove the blindfold, one sword must be dropped, and the other sword chosen.

In other words, there is no way to choose, and yet no way to move forwards without choosing.

This is the ultimate blind decision. The impossibility of selecting either option has led to a perfect stillness and cautious contemplation.

The perfect symmetry shown in her posture and in the position of the swords indicates mental stability and a state of meditation. From the crossed position of her two swords we can assume that her thoughts are peaceful. The crossed swords also suggest a truce and perhaps even a defensive posture during her contemplation.

Behind the seated woman are two features which are noteworthy: The first are the rocky islets which represent waters which are difficult to navigate. The calmness of the woman's contemplation is contrasted by the difficulties behind her.

The crescent moon adds additional meaning to the imagery of this card: Because the moon is illuminated from the right, it is likely a waxing moon and not a waning moon. Also called an "evening crescent moon" a waxing crescent moon-phase indicates the "beginning of plans" and the "first steps along a path". This is a time of formulating new plans and a careful contemplation of "next steps".

For more information about the meaning of moon phases, see iFate's popular Moon Phase Calendar.

Ultimately, the Two of Swords symbolizes a difficult choice -- one which must be made without full knowledge.

The blindfold can be interpreted in one of two ways: It may reference blind justice and a careful and unbiased weighing of choices. Or the blindfold may represent the impossibility of making a choice at this time. Perhaps you don't have all the information you need. Or perhaps you need to use your heart -- not your eyes.

In any case, you must choose cautiously. Weigh what information you have and make the best choice you can. Do not focus on winners or losers. Instead follow your feelings and consider the benefits of a truce.

This impasse is temporary. Contemplation, introspection and meditation will yield the best decisions -- if not outright answers. If you are caught between two opposing forces, consider a middle path. If you must make a choice, rely on your inner guide and not your eyes at this time.

The Two of Swords Reversed Meaning

When the Two of Swords appears in a tarot reading, it represents conflicting ideas which lead to mental confusion. A decision needs to be made, but emotional issues and mixed signals prevail. The decision-making process is brought to a standstill. With all the mental anguish, it's impossible to achieve greater objectivity and see the issue clearly.

In some cases this card causes tension in the background. There may be an underlying tone of stress and indecision -- or a feeling that something is amiss, as conflicting ideas derail mental clarity.

When this card is reversed, it carries a powerful sense of immobility. You may feel stuck -- unable to move forward with either option at hand. Neither choice brings you to a place you really want to be. Or the consequences of each choice may seem unbearable.

In these times of mental paralysis things tend to go off the rails. Old rivalries may appear and confusion may reign. You will feel pulled by opposite sides, but at the same time you will feel rooted in place.

Don't forget to pay attention to the moon in this card: When the card is reversed, the moon "flips" from a waxing moon, to a waning moon (also called a "morning crescent moon").

While the waxing moon in the upright position suggests the "beginning of plans" the waning moon reversed position suggests something more meditative and personal:

The morning crescent reminds us that periods of extroverted action are over, and a phase of cautious introspection has begun. In other words: The answer will require quiet analysis and communication with one's higher self. Do not try to see through the blindfold. Instead, consider the big picture -- like the distant moon in the sky and the islands on the horizon.

Making a choice based on immediate implications could have drastic consequences. Focus instead on a point on the horizon and make your decision based on the long-term.

Consider whether the conflicting ideas need resolution at all. And consider whether it is really you that needs to make this decision. (If it isn't, then don't).

PRO TIP: If you're reading from a physical deck, and not using iFate's free online tarot readings, there's a common technique which can add additional insight to the Two of Swords card:
Pull two additional cards from the deck and lay them to the immediate left and right of the Two of Swords. These two additional "insight cards" can provide guidance and information about the two conflicting choices which the Two of Swords represents.

Now you're ready for a free tarot reading:

Time to put your newfound tarot knowledge to use? iFate's online tarot readings are easy enough for beginners, and powerful enough for experts. Try a free tarot reading now.

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