6 of Swords – Escape

The 6 of Swords shows a boatman rowing an adult and child across a body of water with the horizon in sight. The adult is shrouded and hunched while keeping the child close. The water on one side of the boat is rippling with waves while the other side – also the direction they are heading towards – is calm.

This card symbolizes the passage from rough waters to calmer seas. We are walking away from a painful or difficult situation. As we depart, there is no sense of glory or satisfaction in knowing that we’ve put up a good fight; rather, this exit is accompanied by feelings of defeat and loss.

Admitting defeat is one of the hardest things to do because we may believe that giving up and running away is cowardly. We may think that the brave and noble don’t stop fighting for what they want. Afterall, all the stories we read are filled with people who succeed through preserverence. Unfortunately, in the real world, there are fights that can’t be won and goals that can’t be reached. There are some experiences that results in only pain and nothing is gained, not even a lesson. In such circumstances, leaving is our only meaningful choice.

Although this may equate to failure, once we’ve acknowledge that we’ve failed, we can start anew when we’re ready. We may be so scarred that we won’t be ready for a long time, but this is still better than continuing down a path that leads nowhere.

At such times, we must do whatever we can to keep our heads above the water. Instead of giving into despair, concentrate on that fact that we’ve manage to stay afloat. We must keep treading the waters until we can find land, or at least something to hang onto.

As dreary as this card seems, however, there is solace to be found. Even though times are rough, there is comfort in knowing that we are transitioning towards peace. And although we may have to leave things behind, there is an opportunity to start over and gain new experiences. Yes, there are painful memories and regrets, but there is also the possibility of a better future to look forward to.


Hexagram 56 – Wander

Fire above Mountain produces the hexagram of Wander. To wander is to go from place to place and not calling any of them home.

Sometimes we wander because we want to travel; other times, we wander because we have no home to return to. In such circumstances, we must be careful in all our deeds. Not having the comfort and security of home and family, we can rely only on our conduct to survive in strange lands.

When we live on the hospitality of others, we must strive to be flexible, humble and cautious. Pay attention to local customs and abide to them. Do not meddle in others’ affairs and, while we should be cordial and grateful, we must also consider the intentions of others, regardless of whether they appear friendly or hostile. If we can master these skills, such wandering can serve as great learning opportunities.

Six on line 1:

When travelling in strange lands, wanderers should not engage in others’ affairs or behave in indignant ways. One does not gain friends and good will by attracting undue attention.

Six on line 2:

Wanderers, traveling with a light load, doesn’t have much to offer or bargain with. As such, their greatest assets are their modesty and cordial attitude. It is through winning the positive opinion of the locals that wanderers may gain lodging and assistance.

Nine on line 3:

Just as one gains favours through one’s action, one also loses favour through actions. If wanderers behaves arrogantly and engages in controversial matters, they are sure to lose friends and gain enemies. Don’t take others’ kindness for granted and don’t burn bridges. These are important lessons even in normal affairs, but especially important when one is far from home.

Nine on line 4:

Wanderers cannot get too comfortable when they know the places where they rest are not homes. Even if they find sufficient lodging, they must always act with care and always be alert. Although they may gain, their accumulations do not feel secure and their hearts are not glad.

Six on line 5:

Making a good impression is the key to winning acceptance. Those who can learn the customs of the locals and genuinely abide by them will prosper in new lands. Likewise, those who make no effort have no one but themselves to blame when they do not succeed. Thus, if wanderers feel like they are receiving poor treatment from the locals, before accusing them of xenophobia, they must first reflect on their own behaviour and ask whether they’ve tried to make friends.

Nine on line 6:

The worst mistake wanderers can make is to forget their origin. Carelessness in foreign lands and new situations is most regrettable. There are many reasons why people do not succeed, but failure due to greed and ingratitude is never necessary and always preventable. When people fail due to these factors, they lose what they hoped to achieve along with the good will of those who might have otherwise supported them.



There are times when we travel for work or leisure and there are times when we must move in order to escape a bad situation. During these rough times, there are several things we must always keep in mind.

The first thing is to remember is that there are fights that simply can’t be won. During such times, walking away is not cowardly but the wisest thing we can do. Although difficult, concentrate on moving forward and do not lose hope.

The other thing to remember is that, when we become refugees, we are living at the grace and kindness of our hosts. As such, we should make all the efforts to understand local customs and abide to them. We need to ensure that we get along because, whether we are rich or poor, we require the acceptance of the locals in order to thrive.