Like the 4, the six of swords relates to air at air and whereas the 4 indicates how we are attached to our thoughts and beliefs about ourselves and is the ego, the 6 of swords indicates intelligence and the ability to discriminate between what is just a thought and what is the truth. Instead of being attached to our thoughts and beliefs without question, this card is logic and dispassionate analysis of who we are and what we think and is essentially the process of struggling with or navigating our way through these thoughts and beyond simplistic black and white or yes no answers. We are sifting and sorting through lots of bits and pieces of information in order to organise our ideas or understand the world around is.
In a reading the speed with which the q can find a solution is emphasised by surrounding cards and the 6 on its own is the struggle to work it all out, struggle being the main word as intuition is no where in sight with this card, it’s all about thinking, thinking and more thinking! When we experience this card we may feel that we are very tense, we don’t breathe deeply and we are not feeling grounded as we are stuck in our heads, going round in circles. We may have a headache or feel mentally exhausted if we have this card often or for a period of time as it is often a result of repressed emotions and the kind of person that is uncomfortable with their emotions- they will try to think their way out of any problems in life.
It represents science, including computer science, computers which originated from binary numbers being sorted and sifted through and is our struggle to overcome emotion or desire and be released from repeated karma and walk a truer path in life.
In practice I have seen the card as an echo of the tower, someone is being subtlety undermined and trying to logically work through the facts to arrive at a solution.
One client came for a series of readings as his business was under attack from some very nasty people. Initially it appeared they had no motive, but over a series of readings the 6 reversed stated that if he continued to investigate and analyse the situation, an answer would come to him. Money was obviously involved but it was difficult to see how. These people did everything imaginable to destroy his business, including contacting his suppliers to tell them he was a bad creditor, they even took legal action over products they claimed were damaged when purchased, claiming he’d refused to exchange them. He continued over a series of readings to be unable to see the situation clearly. Many of the false claims made against him were incredibly petty, but overtime his business went downhill. The six of swords kept showing up in each reading as his determination to outwit their attack and find the most rational way of dealing with their lies. After a few months, he came to see me again, this time triumphant. He had found out that his landlords had been offered a large sum of money for the premises his business was on and with suitable planning could be redeveloped. ‘Without that one fact, I’ve been in the dark. My landlords have contrived this whole fiasco’. This last reading showed the six of swords upright as he had finally worked out the puzzle.
Another client had this card crossed by the queen of Coins and the 8 of swords on the physical level showing that she was wading through a stagnant phase of her life and that she was stuck in a pattern of overthinking things and not allowing herself to be spontaneous or irrational.
Alternatively I have seen this card for psychic and artistic people who need to make a conscious effort to consider the facts and keep their spontaneous nature in check.
As air relates to movement, the 6 also symbolizes physical movement and this can be simply interpreted as any journey, including a journey over water as shown in the depiction from the rider Waite deck. It speaking of illness, it may be stress, stiffness, bloating, lack of balance and shock.
Struggle to make sense out of a problem
Science, computers, logic and analysis
Journeys / journeys across water
Delays through lack of understanding of what is going on in a situation
Illogical actions, motives or circumstances that don’t make sense
Not having all the facts to hand
Mental exertion and overwhelm leading to stress related physical illness