While swords have the reputation of signifying misfortune (see the Barbara G. Walker card), they also are about intellect, wit (as in "razor"), and communication skills. Because they are associated with the element of Air, Swords are also about travel. Ace is the first card of a suit, a fledgling idea, a flickering light. The Ace of Swords may indicate something profoundly different from gloom and doom.
Kris Waldherr's Ace of Swords has a certain beauty, even though it is sinister at first glance, all stabbed into a barren wasteland, and all. Inscribed on the hilt is the Ankh, symbol of everlasting life, and above it is the symbol for Hathor, the cow-eyed Egyptian goddess of the restful arms. Is the handle of the sword always a fan, or does it fold back? Fans and feathers are symbols of Air, the element of freedom, intelligence, swiftness, travel, and lessons learned. The Sword as a symbol for medicine also comes into play here, because sharp things can kill but can also be used to excise infection and tumors. The goddess that Kris Waldherr uses for the suit of swords Isis, who brought her husband Osiris back to life from the dead. In Inuyasha, Sesshumaru (spoilers) brings the little girl Rin back to life with the power of his sword Tensaiga.
The Celtic Ace of Swords is also the Sword in the Stone of Arthurian legend. The gaining of wisdom and knowledge the Swords refer to can be arduous. If the knowledge gained is a "life lesson," the process of gaining the knowledge will probably be trying at best and absolutely terrible at worst. It takes a strong person to come out the other side with grace. King Arthur was the only person who was worthy enough to pull the sword out of the stone, and still had to plow through a ton of crap, with a lot of personal flaws. Life can suck. It takes an amazing person to push through the suckage and come out as good or better than they were.
Key words: intellectual endeavors
possible medical issues
Accolades for intelligence