In the Rider Waite deck the Six of Swords shows someone being ferried from one piece of land to another across a stretch of water. This image of transition looks as though it's been planned out, it's necessary and it's taking place under sorrowful or regrettable circumstances, and yet it also looks hopeful, exciting and in the spirit of adventure. This card asks us to consider the value of moving away from a place that no longer suits us or benefits us. It also asks us to think about what to take with us and what to leave behind. Why are you leaving? How and when will you start again? What is the plan? This card can often appear when a querent is feeling unsure or trapped between two courses of action which serve to cancel each other out, creating non-movement. Sometimes a move can signal defeat, but only if it signifies running away instead of facing the issue. If the issue has been faced head on and leaving is the only sensible or viable option, then there is no defeat - in fact it takes resolve and determination to make a change that really counts in order to free yourself from a negative set of circumstances.
There is a sense of major, life-changing mission at work here. A plan has been hatched, imagination has come into play and the querent is working out how best to make the break. Considering the way forward is an important part of the process - it's not wise to make huge alterations before considering likely consequences. The Six can arrive as a warning to the querent to think things through carefully before acting. Alternatively, it could be a comment on the self-doubt the querent is doing battle with. Making big changes for the better is scary territory and many people would gladly 'sit on their hands' and deny the issues they're having, rather than face that things aren't right.
The Six of Swords tells us that we should never feel trapped. There is always a choice, no matter how difficult it is to make. I've always felt that this card has a message of self-love inherent in it too. Sometimes we stay put for other people and fail to put our own needs first, but there is a breaking point inside every single one of us and when we reach it we know that we have to do what's necessary for our own happiness, no matter whose nose might be put out of joint.