Ten of Swords: Unexpected End

Another ominous card from the Suit of Swords and boy have things escalated quickly. Of all the cards in the Tarot (including Death), this is probably the most grim and morbid. Yet, despite the depressing meaning behind the card, there is still so much colour and a message of hope.

As we go into yet another lockdown (or rather the previous lockdown gets extended yet again), it’s easy to spiral into despair as it feels like it’s never ending. My hope is that given that we have gotten as restricted as it’s ever going to get, this is low point (or low plain) which means the only way to go is up from here (right? RIGHT?!)

Ten of Swords from the Rider-Waite Tarot Deck

What you see: A man lays on the ground with ten swords pierced through his back. His body is partially covered with a red cloth and he lies on a beach with water and mountains visible in the background. The sky is dark though sunlight is on the horizon and it appears to be dawn.

What it means: The man has died in a painful way with swords in his back representing a betrayal. The red cloth that covers him symbolizes some preservation of his dignity. Though the dark sky is ominous, dawn signifies new beginnings. The sea is also calm suggesting a sense of peace.

The story: The Ten of Cards represents the lowest point in a person’s life; a painful ending, failure and possibly loss through a betrayal.

Reversed meaning: Reversed, the card represents recovery or regeneration or alternatively, resisting an inevitable end.

Reflection: The big takeaway with the card is not that something has come to an end (a relationship, a project, etc.) but rather that there is a new beginning as represented by the dawn. Though this is an otherwise ominous card, the small band of yellow provides hope.

My research sources:
A Complete Guide to the Tarot, Eden Gray, 1970
Tarot Card Meanings, Biddy Tarot
Card Meanings, Labyrinthos
Root Lock Radio: A Tarot Podcast



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Tarot Stories

A Canadian marketing strategist learning storytelling through the Tarot, and maybe finding the meaning of life along the way.