Abuse in any relationship is clearly a sensitive topic and needs to be dealt with with care and professionalism. Knowing what Tarot cards may represent abusive relationships will help you to identify potential issues and ways in which you can offer your support. However, recognise when you are out of your depth or area of expertise and always have on hand a list of professional sources of help, such as a local network of psychologists, a help line or a shelter for victims of abuse.
Here are my top ten Tarot cards for abusive relationships.
Keep in mind that the appearance of the these cards do not definitely indicate abuse. Look to other cards in your reading and discuss with your client with sensitivity to understand if abuse is a potential issue.
Eight of Swords – The woman in this card is blindfolded and bound. She is seemingly trapped between eight swords, unable to see her way out. This card often comes up for the victim of abuse and represents the mental torment of knowing you must leave the relationship but also feeling trapped or bound by this person. If the woman were to take off her blindfold and remove her bindings, she would see that there is indeed a way out and while it may not be an easy path, it will eventually release her from her tormentor.
Devil – On first glance, we see a naked man and woman, chained by the neck to an over-bearing devil. Again, it would appear that the devil has a hold over these two people and they are restricted in their movement. Yet, the chains are only loosely fitted around the necks of these people and freedom is there for the taking. So, while this card can point to an abusive relationship that stems from a need for power and control, the victim can again escape this situation so long as they can see it for what it is.
King of Swords reversed – The King of Swords wields significant power. He is often in a position of authority and he uses his status and intellect to seek the outcomes that suit him best. Reversed, this is not a nice guy to have around. He is abusive with his power and he seeks to undermine anyone that threatens his position of authority and control. He may be a partner, boss, father or father-figure, and he is here to make life very difficult.
Ten of Swords – The Ten of Swords speaks of abuse from a different angle. Here, we see a man lying face down with ten swords stabbed in his back. He has been deceived and betrayed by the people he thought he could trust, and he now suffers deeply as a result. Thus, this abuse is more reflective of betrayal and deception, to the extent that it causes deep emotional pain and hurt for the victim.
Chariot reversed – The reversed Chariot may represent the tormentor or the person who is carrying out the abuse. This card often reflects someone who has anger management issues and who lets their desire for control and dominance get the better of them. They railroad, threaten or bully others until they get their own way. If you see this card in a relationship reading along with other abuse-related cards, then you may wish to raise the issue of anger and the potential for physical violence.
Emperor reversed – The reversed Emperor is highly authoritarian and domineering. He attains his own power and status by taking away the power of others and undermining them. Thus, the reversed Emperor again represents the abuser – someone who over-uses and abuses authoritative power and status. He may appear as an insecure man throwing his weight around who has a need for control.
Nine of Wands – In the Nine of Wands, a man is bandaged and bruised, but instead of letting himself be defeated, he stands strong and defends himself. This may indicate physical or emotional abuse, but it also signifies that the victim is standing up for themselves and not letting themselves be put down by the abuser.
Moon reversed – The Moon is representative of the psychology of the mind and uncovers the fears and illusions that torment us. Reversed, this card may indicate a very subtle, under-handed form of abuse that is occurring without the victim being fully aware of what is going on. It may be deep psychological abuse that has occurred over a long period of time or abuse that is very subversive in nature. It may also represent childhood abuse that occurred a long time ago and has since been repressed in the memory of the victim. Recommend that the client seek professional help to uncover the deeper issues here.
Nine of Swords – The Nine of Swords shows a woman, head held in her hands, sitting up in her bed. She appears to be very anxious and tormented by her thoughts and mind. I see this as potential for someone who is the victim of psychological abuse or bullying. This may be someone who has been threatened repeatedly and is incredibly fearful for her well-being.
Five of Swords – The Five of Swords is a card of conflict and arguments. In the context of abuse, this is likely to indicate verbal abuse – the type where both parties are fighting as aggressively as the other and saying hurtful and angry things to one another. In this case, there is not necessarily a defined victim and abuser. Both parties assume both roles and there can only be losers in this type of fighting as no progress is made.
What Tarot cards do you associate with abuse and abusive relationships? Leave your comments below.