In my prior post, we looked at the Ten of Wands. Today we will look at the Ten of Swords, which is one of the cards that usually strikes fear when it pops up in a reading, mostly owing to the imagery that often accompanies this card.
In the Minor Arcana of the Tarot, the suit of Swords corresponds to thought, communication (the pen is mightier than the sword), the element of air, and ideals such as intellectualism, mental acuity, and focus. The Ten of Swords typically shows us an image of someone with ten swords, often stuck in his or her back, sometimes appearing lifeless, sometimes appearing in pain. It usually indicates at a general level, mental situations that have reached their apex. If the card is ill aspected, such as being surrounded by other difficult cards, it shows that the situation, at least mentally, is at its peak.
Even though the imagery shows physical harm, it’s important to remember that the Swords represent our thoughts, they represent words, they represent communication. At the heart of what the Swords tells us is that clear thinking, clear and concise communication, and honesty are the Right Action. While they often do portend some somewhat difficult times, it’s important to remember that most difficulties are caused by poor communication, our own mental filters, and a breakdown of clear thought. The Swords remind us this, and give us a choice: clean up your mind and words, or face the consequences.
In readings, the Ten of Swords shows us that the end is near for something, and any “pain” is going to be purely inside our heads; a mental anguish that feels awful. But it will pass, and depending on the surrounding cards, it will usually tells us how big the situation is. For example, paired with the Three of Coins, this card might be advising us to be mindful of how we are at work. To avoid discord and focus on mastering our skills. If paired with the Two of Cups, it might be advising us to be mindful of what we say to our partner, and to be gracious and loving and understanding as opposed to be argumentative and cold.
So if you see the Ten of Swords pop up in a reading, don’t panic. In fact panic is what it advises against doing. Stop, listen, remove the clouds, and see clearly, and things will resolve themselves with a minimum of disruption and strife.
The Ten of Swords corresponds to the Ten of Spades in traditional playing cards. In numerology the number 10 reduces to a 1, thus indicating that we are near the end as well as near a new beginning. Swords correspond to thought and communication, the element of air, the direction east, clarity, words, and language.