Five of Swords
„surrender to defeat“
acceptance of defeat, submission, to be at someone’s mercy
Geburah through Yetzirah
A knight in full armour is kneeling down in the centre of this card.
He is supported by his own sword, while four blades are directed towards his head. His knighthood implicates some sort of a previous fight. He is not dead, but downed. Even the geometric patterns indicate, that faith is striking down on him. He cannot fight any more, but has not yet been stripped of his sword. This is a card with ambivalent meaning. Not all is lost, but the knight finds himself at someone’s mercy nevertheless.
He is defeat, and knows, that this is the case. To fight on wouldn’t make sense, because it would turn his situation to grow dire.
His challenge is to accept his fate. He cannot be an active part in his story any more and has to submit to passivity at this point.
This is not the time to argue or to stand up to someone, but to wait and see what happens next. It is necessary to allow the subordination to happen naturally. One cannot be always on top of things. We are not used to be out of our own game, but nevertheless this will happen from now and then to all of us.
To concede defeat will lead to a new and wider perception of truth. In these times the key to faith is time itself. These two symbols can be found left and right of the kneeling knight.
To await the issue is the only possible solution in finding a way out of this situation.
Even if treason, illness, or loss are the cause, this archetype holds the possibility to grow to be a better person. There is a chance to find confidence and remuneration in this setback. The knight wears a crown of thorns as a reference to the suffering Jesus Christ, which is a fitting archetype, right after he is betrayed by Judas Iscariot and enters his episode of being imprisoned. In most cases, myths of holy men, heroes and demigods offer a rich variety of stories about times of suffering. Usually the heroes learn, that these circumstances are necessary to grow stronger, become more deliberate and wiser. Eventually they prevail, are reborn or return home as improved versions of themselves.