The Blades Class (Swords in Tarot) cards deal with the mental level of consciousness that is centered around the mind and the intellect. Swords mirror the quality of mind present in your thoughts, attitudes, and beliefs.
Swords are often double-edged and in this way the Blades Class symbolises the fine balance between intellect and power and how these two elements can be used for good or evil. As such, the Swords must be balanced by spirit (Staves) and feeling (Cups) to have the most positive effect.
The Suit of Swords is associated with the element of Air. Air is intangible and unseen, but also in constant movement. Air can be still and mostly unnoticed, to becoming a breeze or a fierce wind. It is powerful yet refreshing and cleansing. Symbolically, the air element relates to knowledge, action, power, and change. It is a masculine energy that can lead by force and power, even though it remains unseen.
The King of Blades sits upon his throne, facing forward as if ready to confront whatever life throws at him. He holds a sword in his right hand, the hand of the conscious, rational mind, and points it upright and to the left, the side of the subconscious, intuitive mind. This symbolizes the King’s decisiveness, but also flexibility in all matters; while he makes decisions based mostly on his intellectual understanding, he stays open to his intuition. The King wears a blue tunic beneath his armor, symbolic of a desire for spiritual knowledge. The back of his throne is decorated with an eagle and a crescent moon, positioned overhead as if to give him subtle guidance. The trees behind him stand still, and the clouds have settled. The wind from the previous Blades court cards has died down, giving the impression of stability and clarity rather than the confusion of sweeping change.
King of Swords
Mental clarity, intellectual power, authority, truth
The Queen of Blades stands stoic and ready, with a sheld that is decorated with a cherub, representing the Queen’s softer side, and butterflies representing transformation on the armor about her mid section. She faces towards the future, and in her right hand, she holds a sword up high and straight, representing her desire to find the truth in all matters. As with the earlier Blades Court cards, clouds accumulate in the sky and a strong wind that passes through the trees, symbolizing the ongoing nature of change.
Queen of Swords
Independent, unbiased judgement, clear boundaries, direct communication
The Knight of Blades shows a knight dressed in armor, charging ahead with great energy on his powerful gryphon. The knight’s sword is held high, a symbol of his dedication to his purpose and mission. In the background, storm clouds are beginning to form, and the trees bend in the strong winds. The wind doesn’t stop the knight, however; he heads directly into it, eager to complete his mission alongside his comrades in the background.
Knight of Swords
Ambitious, action-oriented, driven to succeed, fast-thinking
The Page of Blades shows a young woman standing with her sword pointing upwards to the sky. Her body and the sword lean in one direction, but she looks the other way as if to see what else is happening around her. A breeze blows through the young woman’s hair, and the clouds behind her appear to dash through the sky, bringing dynamic energy to the card. The ground on which the Page stands is green and fertile, suggesting that the Page’s ideas are likely to bring positive change and forward movement.
Page of Swords
New ideas, curiosity, thirst for knowledge, new ways of communicating
The Ten of Blades shows a large humanoid lying face down, apparently dead, with nine swords in its body and one clutched in its hand. A red cape drapes over the its body as a sign of dignity as it leaves this world. While the dark sky is ominous, the sun is rising on the horizon, bringing a renewed sense of hope and opportunity. The calm sea in the background also brings solace, suggesting that even in times of darkness, there is a sense of peace and calm to be found. We do not know what has become of the soldier whose helm lies in the foreground.
Ten of Swords
Painful endings, deep wounds, betrayal, loss, crisis
This Nine of Blades shows a woman (The Ranger from the Quest Cards) lying in bed with hands upraised as she experiences a terrible nightmare about her animal companion. Nine swords are pointed towards the creature, causing high tension and worry in the woman. * May still adjust art to have a carving in the wood panel of the bed and roses/constellations of the blanket.
Nine of Swords
Anxiety, worry, fear, depression, nightmares
The Eight of Blades shows a woman appearing trapped and blindfolded. Eight swords surround her, seemingly trapping her in place, a symbol of the limiting thoughts, beliefs and mindset that prevent her from moving forward in her life. However, look closer: if the woman removed her blindfold, she would quickly realize that she can escape her predicament by letting go of her limiting beliefs and establishing a new, more empowered mindset. The water pooled at her feet suggests that her intuition might see what her eyes cannot.
Note that this is The Valkyrie character from the Quest Cards.
Eight of Swords
Negative thoughts, self-imposed restriction, imprisonment, victim mentality
The Seven of Blades shows a man sneaking away from a military camp with four swords in his arms. He looks over at the area where the encampments people are at a fire. The smile on his face suggests that he is proud of himself for having slipped away without being noticed. Two swords lie on the ground, pointed in opposite directions, indicating his actions could be taken as right or wrong depending on the circumstances of this theft. The character (in this case the Assassin from the Quest cards) also has a sword holstered on his hip.
Seven of Swords
Betrayal, deception, getting away with something, acting strategically
The Six of Blades shows an unknown character and The Jester (Ero the Goblin) being rowed across a body of water towards a nearby land. In the boat stand six swords, suggesting that the character and the Jester are still carrying memories or baggage from their past into their future. While the water on the right of the boat is turbulent, the sea ahead is tranquil. This imagery suggests that they are leaving behind a tumultuous situation, bound for a more peaceful and supportive environment.
Six of Swords
Transition, change, rite of passage, releasing baggage.
In the Five of Blades, a sly-looking man carries three swords over his armored shoulders. He glances over towards another man, whom you cannot tell if he is friend or foe. Was there a battle, did someone win or lose? We do not know. The sky is cloudy and tumultuous, a sign that not all is well even though there is no conflict in the scene.
Five of Swords
Conflict, disagreements, competition, defeat, winning at all costs
The Four of Blades shows a knight lying horizontally on a tomb. He remains in his full armor, hands clasped about the hilt of his sword, symbolizing a focus on a single blade.. Three swords hang above him, pointing downwards towards his head and torso. The stained-glass window above him shows The Centaur interacting with The Jester, perhaps suggesting that a new hero is coming.
Four of Swords
Rest, relaxation, meditation, contemplation, recuperation
The Three of Blades shows a heart pierced by three swords, representing the pain inflicted by words, actions and intent on the emotional and physical self. The dark clouds gathering in the background mirror this pain but offer the hope that, just as the storm clouds will disappear, so too will the pain and hurt you are experiencing.
Three of Swords
Heartbreak, emotional pain, sorrow, grief, hurt
The Two of Blades shows a blindfolded elven man holding two crossed swords. The blindfold over his eyes tell us that the man is confused about his plight and that he can see neither the problem nor the solution clearly. He may also be missing relevant information that would make his decision much clearer if he were to obtain it. The swords he holds are in perfect balance, suggesting that he is weighing his thoughts and addressing both sides of the situation to find the best resolution. Behind the man is a body of water dotted with rocky islands. The water represents the emotions and, while the Suit of Blades traditionally associates with the mind and intellect, its presence shows that the man must use both his head and his heart to weigh her options. The islands represent obstacles in his path and suggest that his decision is not as clear-cut as it seems. He will have to consider the situation as a whole. The crescent moon to his right is a sign that this man needs to trust his intuition as he makes his choice.
Two of Swords
Difficult decisions, weighing up options, an impasse, avoidance
The One of Blades shows a goblin's hand appearing from a white cloud. It holds an upright sword, symbolic of the mind and the intellect, and at the tip of the sword sits a skeletal crown, a sign of success and victory. While this card is a sign of triumph, the jagged mountains in the background suggest that the road ahead will be challenging. You will need mental resilience to navigate this path.
One of Swords
Breakthroughs, new ideas, mental clarity, success