Six of Swords
The Six of Swords brings us to a transition. This is an encouraging card. There is the feeling that we are leaving something behind, and that can be difficult, but at the time this card arrives, you have likely already made that decision and have worked through the conflict of feelings associated with it. The boat holds six upright swords. It is said to represent the power of the mind over the heart. Specifically, it gives us the idea that while we are sad to leave something behind emotionally, we know that it is for our own good, and have decided we are willing to make that sacrifice.
The scene in the card show a man mooring a boat across water, ferrying a woman (presumably) and a small child, to a not too distant land. The water to the right of the boat, where she is coming from is choppy and turbulent, while the water to her left, where she is headed, is smooth and difficulty free. Her head is covered, indicating that she is hiding away her sadness, and with the look of the water, it implies that she is leaving behind something that she is attached to, and will miss, but she knows it is for her own good, and in her own best interest. She has taken a leap of faith and an opportunity to move onward and upward toward the growth the future offers, even if she does not know what that is yet.
This can be seen as a time of starting over. You may be leaving behind a job that was sucking away your soul, or a relationship that was draining you emotionally. Usually by the time you have reached the state of mind associated with the six, you have tried alternative approaches to little avail, and realize that the only option left, as painful as it may be, is to just walk away. Walking away is not a sign of defeat or cowardice; again it can be a sign of great strength, knowing when to honor your own health and well-being.
You may be feeling sad at first, but take heart, you've done the hard part, you are well on your way, and when you reach the other side and see how much better your life will truly be, reap the rewards of your efforts, enjoy the new life opportunities this is opening up for you, you will feel much better and know that it was all worth it. When you close one door, you open a new one. When you remove that which no longer serves you, you make room for other opportunities to enter your life. You are starting a brand new chapter in your life, in the story of YOU!
On a more specific note, this card could literally indicate a trip, likely over water. You could be taking an overseas vacation or just a ferry ride across the bay. It could indicate a long term trip like traveling for work, where again, you will be temporarily bummed to leave your sweetheart behind, or it could be that you are being transferred for a job that is requiring you to move away from familiar territory, family and friends, with only the notion that you are on to something bigger and better. Take heart, this card is encouraging your travels!
Six of Swords Reversed
In the Six of Swords Reversed, the need to move on is present, but the desire, or ability to do so is lacking. You know in your head, logically, that the situation you are in is not good for you and really need to move on, but it is in conflict with your heart and emotions. It could be that you have invested so much into your current situation that you are simply not ready to give it up, regardless of how much pain or strife it is causing you.
In a relationship, things are not good, there is constant fighting or disagreeing, or you are being treated really poorly. But there are memories of the good times, the way things used to be, that you cling to. You think, "if only we could just get back to that state", ect. ect. There is difficulty accepting the truth. Most relationships are fairly good in the initial "honeymoon" phase, and this is not an indication of what the relationship is really going to be like over the long run, though it can give you the false sense that it is, and this is just a rough patch. Even if this rough patch has lasted 2 or 3 years beyond the initial "good" first 6 months! Your emotions cloud your good judgment.
It could be that you are simply unwilling to give up yet, thinking that you are doing the right thing by "persevering" through the difficult times. This card indicates that you are denying the truth and only procrastinating the inevitable, at great cost to your personal health.
This card can indicate you are not moving on due to fear of the unknown. This card beckons you to take the leap. Just because you are unaware of what is on the other shore does not mean it is bad, on the contrary, this card indicates that it should be better for you, and if you give it a chance, you will be glad you did.
It could be that you would really like to move on, but there are strings attached that keep pulling you back. If you know that moving on is truly what is best, than do what you can to sever the necessary ties to allow that happen. In this situation you must put yourself and your own well-being first. Don't let someone else hold you back. Similarly, you may be forced to make a move that you don't want, but have little control over. If this is the case, try to determine where the new opportunities for you in this scenario lie, and utilize those to your best advantage.
This is also a card of travel, primarily over water; so on a more literal note, this card appearing reversed can indicate travel delays or difficulties. There could be inclement weather or other conditions that make travel difficult or unsafe at this time. If you are preparing for such a trip, check the weather, and prepare accordingly. If you are in a time crunch, have a backup plan ready and other alternatives in place.