This week’s card to study is the Ten of Swords.
Esoteric Title: The Lord of Ruin
In the Ten of Swords card from the Universal Waite Tarot, we see a man, face down on the a beach, with ten swords stabbing him down the line of his spine, from the base of his skull down to his tailbone. Each sword has been embedded so deeply, they’re able to firmly stand upright, all on they’re own volition. There is a red cloth covering only the lower part of his body and because his head is turned, we cannot see his face. The black sky is cloudless and moonless, adding to the doom and gloom of this man’s fate. However, just below, the sun is rising and is so bright, it’s creating a yellow glow, lighting up the calm, blue sea below. It’s a new dawn and a new day.
Rider-Waite-Smith Ten of Swords for comparison:
The Ten of Swords card lies among the Minor Arcana, which represents day-to-day life and its ups and downs, challenges and opportunities.
Swords Suit –
The Swords suit is associated with the element Air which represents our intellect: thoughts, words, double-edged swords, conflict, strife, challenge, communication, idea, plans, clarity.
Astrological Correspondences – Aquarius, Gemini, Libra (Air signs)
The Golden Dawn correspondences for the Ten of Swords: Sun in Gemini.
Tens can be viewed as the number 10 or reduced to the number 1. Personally, I view it as the number 10, the end of a ten stage cycle. In the suit of the mind, the Ten of Swords represents the reaching the peak of one’s mental pain. Keywords: completion, endings and beginnings, finality, renewal, mastery, transition, reaching a higher level.
Ruin, endings, being stabbed in the back literally, betrayal, disaster, giving in, giving up, surrender.
- 3rd Sword from his head – this sword seems to stuck in much deeper, so that is may stab right through this man’s heart.
- Black sky above – ominous tone of a murder in the night
- Calm blue sea – a calm, healing time is before you
The Ten of Swords can bring about rapid and abrupt endings or change. The pain the Ten of Swords represents, is usually something that is out of our control. You may have been betrayed, deceived, or stabbed in the back, by someone who you trusted. This struggle may not be welcome (obviously), and is definitely unexpected, but it may be necessary for you to change and could be a blessing in disguise. Trust that everything happens for a reason.
The Ten of Swords is also associated with hitting rock bottom and feeling like things can’t possibly get worse. You may feel like things are dire, but you’re at a turning point. This may be a time to reflect upon how and why you got to the place. Have you been pushing yourself too hard or taking on too much? It may be time to give in and surrender yourself.
Negative experiences help us to learn from our mistakes so that we hopefully do not repeat them and they also allow us to appreciate all the good in our life. Just like in the card’s image, there’s a new sunrise following a pitch, black sky; without the dark, there could be no light. This transition may leave you feeling reborn and renewed. With the ending of one cycle, comes the beginning of a new cycle.
*Note – this may be a warning of a health issue with your back.
Career: The Ten of Swords may suggest a betrayal or deceit from a colleague or your boss. A colleague could take credit for something you did, or maybe your boss promised you a promotion and then gave it to someone else.
This card could also suggest you may lose your job due to any number of reasons; a layoff, downsizing, company closing, etc.
Either of these circumstance may cause you to struggle, however you will be better off in the long run. It will bring about change in your life, for the better. One door closes, another door opens. And, you may find that you love your new job, you’re happier, and wish it happened sooner.
Romance: You may have recently gone through a bad break-up or a divorce, both sudden and unexpected and you’re still mending your broken heart. This is not the time to start dating again. This is a time for you to heal and renew yourself.
If you are in a relationship, the Ten of Swords suggests it may come to an abrupt end and you will not see it coming. The shock of it will add to the pain and you may struggle with it. You may feel a lack of closure or you may have a difficult time accepting it’s over.
A divorce, and even a break up of a long relationship, can feel like a Death. It’s such a deep loss and the Ten of Swords mirror the transition/transformation in the Death card. Allow yourself this time to focus on yourself, your energy, and feeling better.
Questions to ask:
- Could I be pushing myself too hard?
- Am I paying attention to warning signs?
“You may shoot me with your words, you may cut me with your eyes, you may kill me with your hatefulness, but still, like air, I’ll rise.”
~ Maya Angelou
This is my interpretation of this card. It may differ from other Tarotists, and yours as well, and that’s okay. Please work to create your own card meanings; learning the Tarot is not about memorizing.
In addition, remember nuances of the interpretation may differ depending on the Querent’s question, the spread, the surrounding cards, and what your intuition may be telling you at the time.
The Tarot card used in the image is from the Universal Waite Tarot used with permission of U.S. Games Systems, Inc., Stamford, CT 06902. c. U.S. Games Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. Rider-Waite is a registered trademark of U.S. Games Systems.
Rider-Waite used with permission of U. S. Games System, Inc., Stamford, CT 06902. c. U. S. Games Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. Rider-Waite is a registered trademark of U. S. Games Systems.