Power Dynamics with the Five of Swords in The Steampunk Tarot

the Five of Swords card from the Steampunk Tarot deck

The Steampunk Tarot by Barbara Moore & Aly Fell

This artistic interpretation of the Five of Swords has confused me FOREVER, but I think I finally hit on it! Someone is abusing their authority. I feel brilliant. πŸ˜€ Ok, this may have been a no brainer for some, but I’m stoked that it finally clicked, better late than never.

Obviously there are nuances that give the meaning of this card more depth and change the interpretation depending on the question, where it lands in the spread, etc, but having the core concept in hand makes the rest a lot easier.

5 of Swords Tarot Card

Rider Waite Smith Tarot

If you’re not quite tracking let me explain how I came to my conclusion. The Five of Swords in Rider-Waite-Smith-land talks about competitiveness, winning at all costs, selfishness, narcissism, and the like. The Steampunk version certainly can embody all of that, but the image never quite felt the same to me energetically speaking. In the RWS card there was obviously some kind of fight or dual that happened, somebody won, somebody lost. In the Steampunk card there is no fight going on, not a physical altercation anyway, everything is much more subtle.

To understand this card I had to ask myself “why are these two individuals handing over their swords?” They don’t look happy about it, so one must conclude that they are being forced or coerced in some way. Obviously they aren’t being physically forced to hand over the weapons. It doesn’t look like they are receiving anything in return either. So what would compel someone to willingly (albeit begrudgingly) give up something that they didn’t want to give up, for nothing in return?

It must have to do with power dynamics of some type. The man in the fancy coat and hat is obviously of a higher economic status, a higher social status and if he’s able to get these folks to give up there swords, then he probably has some sort of power and authority over them. I would also say he’s abusing it because he’s taking something away from them, not because he needs their resources (he already has three swords) but because he can. It feels like a power play, he’s trying to make a point “I can take whatever I want whenever I want.”

Not cool dude. Not cool.

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