Two of Swords: Creating Healthy Boundaries


This week’s question is: “How can I grow my business to make it self-sustaining?”

To read my preface to this week’s reading, from my weekly newsletter, go here.

If you aren’t already signed up for my Monday newsletter, click here.

For those of you joining me now from my newsletter, here is the rest of my reading:

The woman in the Two of Swords is defending herself from real or perceived threats.
The woman in the Two of Swords is defending herself from real or perceived threats.

Disappointment at what seems counter-intuitive

My first gut impression upon seeing the Two of Swords as my answer was honestly disappointment. I thought: “Hey! I want to grow my business! Give me the magic, happy solution! I don’t want to see this woman. I don’t like her. She’s closed-off and cold.”

When I see the Two of Swords, oftentimes it comes up in relationship readings. I see this card a lot when people are coming out of difficult relationships and feel that they have to protect themselves from harm’s way. So, they put up their defenses, seen here as those two huge swords, and they cross their arms over their chest and they blindfold themselves and they say, “Never again!!” It’s a gesture of self-protection. The problem though is that sometimes we can be so careful about “protecting” ourselves that we fail to see what’s right in front of us and we end up shutting ourselves off from being vulnerable and open to new opportunities for growth, even if it involves risk.

See? See why this was a card that I absolutely DID NOT want to see regarding growing my tarot business as I re-launch it? Not exactly the happy card with money pouring out and abundance. How in the world could a card like this be pro-active advice? It seems so counter-intuitive. “Shut yourself off to grow your business?” WHHAAAT?!?

Seeing things for what they are—or not

First, regarding growing my business, I see that blindfold. My questions to myself are: What is it that I’m refusing to look at, or what is it that I don’t want to see about growing my business into something self-sustaining? Am I avoiding something?

Secondly, as pro-active advice, should I be closing my eyes to something? Here I think, absolutely I could stop looking around at what others are doing as a point of comparison and intimidation, and focus inward on what I can do. That would be a healthy step for me to take. The water behind the woman also shows that she has turned her back on her gut intuition. Getting back in touch with my intuition and inner feelings and knowing about how to grow my business will certainly help me, as this card higlights when we’ve gone a bit overboard perhaps on intellectual theorizing or rationalizing and need to balance it more with the watery, feminine, yin, heart-centered feeling and knowing about how to proceed. That involves trust.

Creating healthy boundaries vs. putting up a defensive stance

The second factor to examine here regarding growing my business has to do with how open I am to sharing with others and interacting with others. Since the card of advice shows the woman actively closing off, it makes me wonder: do I somehow need to find ways to protect myself as I grow my business? Am I letting myself be too vulnerable or am I not setting up healthy boundaries that allow me to grow my business the way I would like?

Certainly in my personal life I could do a better job of managing how others take advantage of my generosity. Perhaps I need to start saying “no” to others in order to have more time to devote to my business. Perhaps growing my business into something self-sustainable is going to mean I have to get a bit “tougher” about boundary-busting people in my life who would distract me from the work I’d need to do to truly focus on my own business and not their concerns or taking advantage of my time.

The caution about boundaries is that they don’t become a brick wall or a barrier that shuts others out. So, focus boundaries that protect my time and effort from being sucked away by others is apparently something that I need to cultivate here in order to move forward in building my business.

A clarifying card

Sometimes, on impulse, if I still feel I’d like a bit of commentary on a reading, I draw an additional card. Here I felt that I wanted that something extra to round out my thoughts, so I drew the next card on the deck.

In the Six of Pentacles, we see sharing resources and accepting abundance.
In the Six of Pentacles, we see sharing resources and accepting abundance.

The Six of Pentacles is about give and take. So it highlights the need to be careful with my resources and find balance (see the scale) in how much I give as opposed to how much I get. I can’t give “hand outs” in order to grow my business. I have to distribute my resources even-handedly and fairly. On the flip side, I shouldn’t “beg” for business. Balance in resources and in the give-and-take of growing the business is important in terms of the factors shown with the Two of Swords.

Over to you

What do you think? Any additional thoughts? You don’t have to read tarot cards to comment. Just look at the images and share with us what they make you think, feel, or believe to be true, and then relate those thoughts, feelings, images, etc., to my question, and tell me what you come up with. I’d love to hear from you—just leave a comment!



  1. Hi Shelly,
    The first thought that came to me seeing the Two of Swords is ‘Compromise’. I think in order to be continuously growing, you would need to ‘bend’ with the wind, like, for example, taking on EXTRA work, if necessary, and not bothering about feeling tired. All of this will certainly pay off one fine day. But for the time being , take on as much as possible, not judging what kind of clients you get. This is no time for being choosy because the only goal would be to grow your business successfully. Use the word ‘Compromise’ with a BIG C in every way possible.
    This is just what I think about this card 🙂

  2. Hi Mieta!
    Thanks for your thoughts!
    The idea of compromise is new for me regarding the Two of Swords. Can you tell me what specifically about this card prompted your idea about compromise and “taking on as much as possible”? I can see how that might be general advice for growing a business, I’m just not understanding how those concepts can be tied directly back to the Two of Swords. Could you add a bit more? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

    • Hi Shelley,
      Well, here’s more about it…
      First of all, you have asked the question after you already have a business. Then, you pull this card out…… to see how you can grow it. Taking this as the context, I see the person in this card is sitting bolt upright on a strong seat that is definitely not very comfy. Till late in the night (the moon is up there in the sky) she is having to protect herself from difficult situations. No time to rest, always having to be alert. The two swords she holds up firmly, protecting her inner hurt emotions. She needs to have a blindfold on her eyes too so that she judges not too fast, even though the situations that she tackles could be very unfair occasionally. or just maybe too overwhelming, needing constant contact with other people.
      The ‘water’ is behind her…she has to keep her ’emotions’ out of her sight for the time being. So the context is very important here.
      I would follow the ‘action’ (or ‘nonaction’) that is seen in this card…taking it as Advice. So you need to be alert (the person in this card is not flopping down nor is she looking weak)…she only needs to practice super selfcontrol and self disciplined and being extremely hardworking even though she may be literally feeling hopelessly tired and ill. The number two speaks of the duality in the mind, because there’s too much to do, too many balls to juggle. The Swords say you are worried. Sometimes its not all that easy to make everybody happy in this kind of business.
      But we need to not miss the high mountains at the very back in the card. That’s the ultimate success that you are aspiring towards. That’s to keep you going at the moment.
      So I used the word Compromise …with the not so easy time coming up for you regarding business growth.
      Also, the second clarifying card you pulled links up so well with the Two of Swords here. This clearly says that the hard work you would be doing is most helpful to the clients who visit you . The Six of Pentacles has a balance that says there would be a fair exchange of ‘gve and take’ here…and that’s the real picture of doing business using a particular skill.
      I hope I could clarify how my mind spoke to me when I saw the Two of Swords. Please let me know what you think about this 🙂

      • Thank you Mieta! You’ve given me so much constructive information to consider here. I really like how you brought in the challenging aspect that seems to always accompany a Swords card. Also, I never thought much about this card as being impartial in judgment and emotionally detached in a constructive, beneficial way. That is an eye-opener and really useful in terms of viewing the positive possibilities in this card. Thanks for sharing your deep insights with all of us! (I can relate to the “moonlighting” aspect…so far my tarot business has been relegated to that as I’ve also been juggling two other day jobs!!)

  3. Hi Shelley,
    I love your posts, you speak in a way that seems like you are having a conversation face to face with me.
    My take on the 2 of swords as to how you can grow your business would be…. You are being advised to take the time to think long and hard about the best way to move forward…no rash or quick movements here.You have a wonderful mind and all the answers are within you, but take the time to think carefully and make this business truly yours. This card is also suggesting that you need to be balanced ….give each component of your life equal amounts of energy and planning, almost like having a schedule ( now if you are like me schedules or time tabling are not something I do well) and stick to it so that the two different parts of your life, family and business can co exist in harmony. Carefully plan and implement the different parts of your business…the advertising, the structure, the finances etc. get down to the cold hard facts. That woman is sitting on a cold hard stone….she has a firm foundation on which to work/ plan. She has her feet firmly planted on the ground. Her shoes are yellow telling me that that is where the joy/ gold/ wealth of the business starts, from being grounded, practical and steady. Her back is to the water almost saying forget the watery sensitive stuff for now and get to the hard facts of business. This question is about your business plan not the content or the product you deliver. Get the plan right and all that follows will be gold!

  4. Hi Maureen!
    Thanks so much for your comments and kind words!
    There are a lot of new ways to look at the Two of Swords here that I find very insightful. I like the idea of “turning back on the water” as a constructive or positive thing. Sometimes I see this card as “get back in touch with your intuitive side” but here you’ve turned that on its head and shown how, at certain times in life, it’s best to focus on concrete (literally! stone bench!) facts, matters, and action items.
    Balance is also something that really resonated with me here. I see how well that idea always partners nicely with any of the “two” cards. Two makes me immediately think of both balance and choice, polarity, black/white, one or the other, and how often we need to see middle grounds in these extremes. Makes me think of Temperance, mixing the water in her cups to find that balance shown in the triangle on her forehead (RWS deck), the third point that harmonizes everything. Here the two swords are like the choices, and they’re crossed over her chest as if to show that the heart can help decide the middle way.
    Thanks again. I hope you’ll continue to comment and share your thoughts with all of us!

  5. Love the 2 of swords – You can choose to either leave the blind fold on and let blind faith and the universe sort things out, or you can take the blind fold off and take charge of your situation and make a choice.

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