5 of Swords: Yes or No

By Lauren Williams
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The 5 of Swords in Tarot is a card that often suggests conflict, defeat, and the hollow victory that comes at a great cost. It can represent a situation where winning may not feel like winning due to the sacrifices or compromises made.

A man carrying swords as the 5 of swords tarot card.

In ‘yes or no’ readings, the 5 of Swords tends to lean towards a ‘no,’ suggesting that the path you’re considering may lead to a victory that comes with such significant drawbacks or losses that it feels more like a defeat. This can indicate that the cost of pursuing your current course might be too high.

Upright 5 of Swords in a Yes or No Context

When the 5 of Swords appears upright, it often indicates conflict, tension, and the aftermath of a contentious situation. It suggests that even if you ‘win,’ the victory might not be worth the price paid in terms of relationships, integrity, or personal peace.

In a yes or no reading:

  • General Interpretation: The upright 5 of Swords generally suggests a ‘no,’ indicating that the outcome of the situation might not be as favorable as hoped or that the victory may come with significant drawbacks.
  • Energy and Symbolism: This card is typically depicted with a figure holding swords while others walk away in defeat, symbolizing conflict, domination, and the consequences of aggressive actions. It represents winning at a cost and the aftermath of unconstructive conflicts.
  • Reconsider Your Approach: Drawing this card is a call to reassess your strategies and intentions. It’s an encouragement to consider whether the potential ‘win’ is worth the potential losses.
  • Awareness of Consequences: The 5 of Swords also prompts you to be aware of the consequences of your actions on yourself and others, especially in terms of relationships and personal values.

Reversed 5 of Swords in a Yes or No Context

In a reversed position, the 5 of Swords can indicate a realization of the futility of conflict, the desire to seek resolution, or the necessity to accept defeat and learn from it, possibly leading to a cautious ‘yes’ in certain contexts.

When you draw this card in a yes or no reading:

  • General Interpretation: The reversed 5 of Swords might suggest a ‘yes,’ indicating a shift away from conflict towards reconciliation, or it may signal the need to accept a loss and learn from it.
  • Energy and Symbolism: Reversed, this card can represent a growing awareness of the damage caused by conflict and the desire to make amends or change one’s approach. It symbolizes the lessons learned from defeat or the need to move past contentious situations.
  • Seeking Resolution: This position may indicate the beginning of a healing process, where you are looking to resolve conflicts and rebuild relationships.
  • Learning from Losses: It encourages a reflective approach, emphasizing the importance of learning from past conflicts and defeats to avoid similar situations in the future.

Examples of Yes or No Questions

The 5 of Swords can provide insight into various scenarios:

  • Interpersonal Conflicts:
    • Question: “Should I continue this argument or conflict?”
    • Upright: No, it may lead to a hollow victory with significant relational costs.
    • Reversed: Consider seeking resolution or stepping back from the conflict.
  • Personal Decisions:
    • Question: “Is pursuing this course of action in my best interest?”
    • Upright: No, the potential gains may not justify the costs or consequences.
    • Reversed: Reflect on what can be learned from the situation and consider alternative approaches.

Factors Influencing the Yes or No Interpretation

  • Surrounding Cards: The cards surrounding the 5 of Swords can provide context and depth, helping to understand the nature and implications of the conflicts or challenges represented.
  • Question Context: The specifics of the question, especially if it involves conflicts, competition, or ethical dilemmas, will resonate with the 5 of Swords.
  • Personal Intuition: Your intuitive response to the card is crucial. The 5 of Swords may evoke feelings or thoughts that should guide your interpretation.
  • Card Position in the Spread: The position of the 5 of Swords in a spread can influence its meaning, highlighting whether the themes of conflict and victory are current challenges, emerging issues, or a warning to heed.


In ‘yes or no’ readings, the 5 of Swords is a complex card that often points towards the costs of conflict and the nature of victory. Upright, it typically suggests a ‘no,’ indicating that the path being considered may lead to a pyrrhic victory or that the consequences of pursuing a certain course may outweigh the benefits. Reversed, it can indicate a cautious ‘yes,’ suggesting a shift towards reconciliation, the need to learn from past conflicts, or the acceptance of defeat.

The 5 of Swords underlines the importance of considering the broader impact of one’s actions and decisions, particularly in relation to conflict and competition, and encourages a reflective and conscientious approach to challenges.

Lauren holding a crystal ball in her hands.


Lauren Williams
Lauren merges ancient wisdom with modern insights, offering a fresh perspective on life's mysteries. She's passionate about guiding individuals through the world of astrology, lunar cycles, numerology, and tarot. When she's not charting the stars or reading tarot, she enjoys getting out in nature, hikes and yoga.