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Ten of Swords Tarot Card Meanings

Ten of Swords Tarot Card Meanings Keywords

Upright: Painful endings, deep wounds, betrayal, loss, crisis.

Reversed: Recovery, regeneration, resisting an inevitable end.

Ten of Swords Tarot Card Meanings and Description

The Ten of Swords shows a man lying face down, apparently dead, with ten swords in his back. A red cape is draped over the lower half of his body, as a sign of dignity as he leaves this world. While the sky is dark and ominous, the sun is rising on the horizon, bringing a renewed sense of hope and opportunity. The calm sea in the background also brings solace, suggesting that even in times of darkness, there is a sense of peace and calm that can be found.

NOTE: The Tarot card meaning description is based on the Rider Waite cards.

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Upright Ten of Swords Tarot Card Meanings

The Ten of Swords indicates a painful, yet inevitable ending that is shocking and difficult to deal with. For example, a relationship may come to an abrupt end, your job may be cut, or a contract is broken. It is as if this ending has come out of the blue and completely rocked your world. You could have never expected it; but now it has happened. It cuts to the core and you feel as if the world has crumbled in around you. You are grieving the pain of this shocking loss and wonder if you will ever love or find work or trust again.

When the Ten of Swords appears in a Tarot reading, you may be the victim of another person’s betrayal or deceit. You feel as if you have been stabbed in the back, and you are now experiencing deep pain and hurt as a result of someone else’s actions. Your partner may have cheated on you, a colleague may be spreading nasty rumours about you, or a family member has betrayed your trust. The pain inflicted runs deep not simply because what they have done is hurtful, but because you know deep down that this marks the end of your relationship as you know it with them. Along with feeling the pain, you may be grieving the loss of the relationship.

At times, the Ten of Swords can suggest that you are taking on the role of ‘victim’ with the hope that others will pity you and save you from despair. You cannot change the actions of another person, but you can change how you respond. Even if you have been hurt or betrayed, you now have a choice to pick yourself up and move forward with your life, rather than falling down in a heap hoping someone will take pity on you.

The Ten of Swords is about letting go and accepting your current circumstances. You no longer resist change but allow it to happen, even if it causes some initial pain and hurt to you. You accept that there must be change in order to facilitate renewal, and you allow it to occur rather than fighting it.

The good news is that the Ten of Swords marks the final ordeal – no more pain will come to you from that source. It is the darkest hour before dawn, where you must experience the full impact of what has happened, before you can move forward and start over. Is it going to be easy? No. But, will it last forever? No.

The Ten of Swords suggests that although you have experienced a painful ending in your life, it is now creating the space for new opportunities to emerge. Pick yourself up off the ground and reflect upon what happened to you and why, and what you can learn from the experience. When you do this, the hurt and pain will fade away and you will soon begin to see why all of this needed to happen so that you can evolve into your fullest potential. The pain and hurt you have endured has not gone without purpose. The positive power within you can be used to learn from your pain and draw wisdom from defeat.

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Reversed Ten of Swords Tarot Card Meanings

Ten of Swords Tarot Card Meanings tarot card meaning

The Ten of Swords reversed indicates that you are resisting an inevitable change or ending because you are not ready to face up to what is really happening and deal with the pain. However, the more you resist, the more this painful situation will continue to drag on, so it's time to rip off the bandage (however painful that might be) and get this over with, so you can start fresh. Trust that everything is happening for a reason and even though it may be difficult to understand what you are currently going through, know that it is leading to your personal growth and regeneration in the long-term.

Similarly, the Ten of Swords reversed may represent an old situation that ended very badly. You are still carrying around wounds from that situation, but you have buried them so deeply that you do not realise they are still present in your life and still hurting you. This old pain needs to be brought up and dealt with once and for all so that you can liberate yourself from these deeply inflicted wounds. It may be difficult to experience the pain again, but at least you are releasing yourself of this pain and allowing it to pass from your life.

The reversed Ten of Swords encourages you to re-evaluate your circumstances and release any aspect of your life that is no longer serving you. You may have encountered traumatic events in the past that have lead you to hold certain thoughts and beliefs about yourself that are no longer in alignment with who you really are. It is time to let them go and allow yourself to adopt a new way of thinking and living. You can free yourself of your past and create a new sense of self. Rather than dwelling on your painful past, it is important to look ahead and realise how these events free you up to completely reshape your life and choose a new direction for yourself.

Finally, the Ten of Swords reversed can appear as a welcome sign that the pain and sadness you have been feeling is coming to an end. When upside-down, the swords in the man’s back appear to be falling out, releasing him of the pain and hurt he has been suffering. You are releasing the memories of the past and allowing yourself the opportunity to finally move forward with a sense of renewal and hope for the future.

Ten of Swords Tarot Card Meanings tarot card meaning

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