Five of Swords, like all fives, represent a challenge. Here the challenge is on mental processes, and even the one who is undefeated is not happy.
The Five of Swords depicts a post-battle scene under a restless sky. A young man, with a satisfied look on his face, is looking at his defeated enemies who are walking away in sadness, defeated. The young man possesses five swords; two of which is pointing upwards in his left hand, one pointing downwards in his right hand and the remaining two on the ground. In the background, the mountain tops and the sea can be discerned.
The clouds and the swords on the ground symbolize a period of conflict; and a win-at-all-cost attitude. The unequal number of swords at the hands of young man indicate an imbalance between the conscious and subconscious aspects of his individuity, creating tension. Furthermore, as he is unable to carry more swords, and swords of the defeated are on the ground, it is clear that the young man might have fought in vain, not gaining anything but harming others.
Don’t fight a battle if you don’t gain anything by winning.-Erwin Rommel
Five of Swords is a card of conflict and unfruitful competition, which would lead to loneliness even when one comes out victorious. Alternatively, it might also mean accomplishment of objectives, although that is to have a price. This card, in general, advises to pick the battles and not to jump into the fight in every disagreement. A person represented by this card would be ambitious and competitive; would want to win even that would mean loneliness and isolation. Career-wise, this card implies a tough job environment and indicates that for success one should watch their own interests. In the relationship context, this card shows a tension and conflict and calls for getting done with the pride and apologize for the regretful words and deeds.
All in all, Five of Swords is a card that warns against greed for battling, as not all battles include trophies; some are just self-consuming.