What do you see when you look at the six of swords tarot card? Our eyes are drawn to a number of images. One thing we see is the seated figure. Here is a person hunched over, covered in a blanket. Their face is away from us. We can only imagine the expression on this person’s face. Based on the body language and overall demeanor, it is easy to imagine that this person is not happy. Here is somebody going through a healing process. The blanket they are wrapped in is a cocoon. They have withdrawn into their own world, in need of transformation and healing. Are they able to do this alone? Sometimes, we all need a little help. We all need a little compassion and understanding when we are going through a rough time. In the six of swords tarot card, this understanding and compassion is represented by the figure rowing the boat.
Here again, we do not see the face of this person. He is an anonymous figure who simply wants to aid this person in the boat. There is no ego involved here. He is not looking at us wanting to be seen, wanting to be known. No, his job is simply to help because he is able to do so and he is needed to do so. There is respect here. He honors this person in his boat that he is helping. He honors by his simple presence and his willingness to do what is needed without the pursuit of glory. Right now, what is needed is understanding and the strength to row the boat to the shore ahead.
Take note of this shore ahead. Take note of the water as well. The shore ahead is calm. It is peaceful. There is no sign of war or of strife on this land. All seems relaxed and easy going. There are trees growing, and we can imagine the abundance in this new land. This is a good place to be. Here, that hooded figure in the boat can heal and become what they need to be. Look at the water they are rowing into. It is calm and mellow, as opposed to the turbulence they are rowing away from. We can only imagine the strife they are leaving behind.
This is one of the strongest messages of the six of swords. It reminds us that when we are having a hard time, when our life gets turbulent, sometimes we need help from others to feel good again. It is not a weakness to admit to needing help. A weakness is to need help but deny it. Strength is to admit to needing help and surrendering to the powers that can provide it. We can set our sights on a distant shore and say, “Over there, I will heal.” And then allow ourselves to be taken there.
When the six of swords comes up for you in a reading, consider this. What help do you need? You may also put yourself in the position of the rower and ponder, what help can I give?