Visconti-Sforza Tarot (Cary-Yale 1466): Lady of Swords
Swords were typically depicted with curved blades in ancient tarot decks to distinguish them from staves. They correspond to the playing card suit of Spades, (in Italian, spada means sword). This suit represents the element Air, and the social classes of Nobility and Military. Swords are considered a Masculine suit. Swords typically represent intellect, reason, mental clarity, and the sciences. They may also represent conflicts surrounding the questioner.
The Ladies typically concern youthful, independent, female adults. Unlike their male counterparts, the Knights, the Ladies are less inclined to impulsivity and overconfidence, and more inclined to educational pursuits and planning for the future. The Ladies are self-sufficient, self-assured young women who know their own power and their limits. They are ambitious and quest for academic knowledge and growth. They look towards building careers or dedicating their lives to the arts or sciences. They are typically less interested in fertility and procreation, and as such may also represent older women who have chosen positively not to be mothers in favour of other creative or scientific endeavours. They sometimes represent medicine, or life-changing sacrifices. They can represent important contributions to the world.
Clear decisions. Rationality. Intelligence. Planning at the expense of imagination.
The Lady of Swords has strong guiding principles and a clear idea of what she will do with her life. She is a very rational, sensible individual, who, unlike her male counterpart the Knight of Swords, does not rush headlong into battle without armour. She is ready to fight her own battles, and plans them well. She has an enquiring mind and a sense of mental clarity that help to keep her feet on the ground. Her battlefield is often an academic one, and she is frequently associated with the sciences and medicine. Sometimes she plans too much rather than too little. Although she is ambitious and has a clear idea of her future, her life may take an unexpected turn. She should not allow herself to become too fixed on one vision of the future, as she is a capable individual and many options are available to her.
Reversed Meaning: Lack of improvisation. Confusion and indecision. Knee-jerk emotional decisions.
The Lady of Swords in reverse can signify someone who has decided their future but is too rigid with their plans. It can serve as a warning that things may not always turn out the way we want them to, but also that sometimes this can be a good thing. She may also represent confusion over big decisions, or a lack of clear planning for the future. She may even represent knee-jerk emotional decisions that do not hold up under examination.