easy tarot lessons




Ten of Swords Description

Depicted in the Ten of Swords card, under a dismal coal-black sky of clouds, so thick they completely block out any sunshine or happiness, a man lies in his own blood, impaled by ten swords, all of which were conveniently delivered to his back.

It seems that his past deeds have finally caught up to him. Too bad for his attackers; he left a clue to their identity.

Something happened to this man. Something forceful, sudden, and with enough will and determination to change his life forever. Thus the energy of the Ten of Swords card is unmistakably cardinal.

Prime Elements of Ten of Swords

  • Number: Ten. Endings and evolution. System reset. Results. Even
  • Suit: Swords. Violence, deception, rage, betrayal, hidden enemies, injuries
  • Direction: West. Revenge, mob justice, retaliation. Early evening
  • Element: Air. Change, storms, “clearing the air,” death rattle, character assassination

Ten of Swords Traditional Meaning

Live by the word, die by the sword. This is the undoing of a person. In extremely rare cases it may be the assault of an innocent; but as this is the summation of a life sworn to the fair and impartial virtues of the sword, the fait accompli visited upon this person is usually somehow apropos.

The Ten of Sword card is not a judgment on a person. It is an action befalling them, but this card rarely comes out when it has not been earned.

In the case where it has honestly not been (earned karmically), this represents the analogous “death of a thousand cuts” or slightly less known, but more appropriate, “curse of inconvenience.” The old saying that starts with, “Ever have one of those days . . .?” 

The Ten of Swords card indicates one of those days (or weeks, months . . .) where it just seems like any tiny thing that can be an annoyance suddenly decides that you look like the perfect target for their aggression.

In this case, the actual damage is much less than in other interpretations of the Ten of Swords card, but the real and complete damage is the incessant pin-pricking to the point of throwing you into a frenzy of anger and carelessness so that you ended up doing incalculable damage to yourself and your future, especially in ways that you cannot see.

Additionally: Absolute betrayal, financial ruin, treachery, overthrow by many hands. All of these may be physical or emotional, and they may apply to situations, as well as people (e.g., the sudden, ugly ending of a covenant, relationship, or business).

Finally, the Ten of Swords card may indicate chronic back pain or back surgery.

Ten of Swords Reversed Meaning

The Ten of Swords when in the reversed position can mean dodging the bullet. Danger passes so close by that you can feel the breeze of it passing.

Making an “impossible” recovery from certain “death” (physical, financial, etc.). Resurrection.

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