Six of Swords

6 of Swords from Anecdotes Tarot: a girl holding swords in a river

But stand brave, life-liver,
bleeding out your days
in the river of time.

Joanna Newsom, “Time, As a Symptom” (Divers, 2015)

Image Description

A woman stands knee-deep in a river with her eyes closed, holding six swords crossed over her chest. One blade appears to go into her heart. A pomegranate floats in the river in front of her – it is cut in half and its red seeds seem to form the numeral 6. The woman’s skin and hair is all the same shade of light pink. The swords’ blades are the same dark red as the pomegranate and their hilts are light blue. Six dark red trees are visible on the river banks in the background. The land, the river, and the sky are all shades of gray.


In the Six of Swords, the focus shifts from being immortalized to joining a greater collective. This image of renewal through self-sacrifice is inspired by the Nine of Batons from the Sola Busca tarot (see Selected References). The Six of Swords signifies a rite of passage, a painful but necessary experience. The pomegranate is a reference of the Maiden, and the sacrifice that she and her mother relived every year, creating the seasons and marking time. This mythology is the center of XXI. Time, As a Symptom.