The Ten of Swords tarot card is perhaps among the most ominous and striking cards in the entire deck. When upright, it can represent loss and painful endings involving crisis, betrayal, and deep wounds. If this card is reversed, then it might represent you resisting the inevitable ending of something, but it can also mean regeneration and recovery. Whether upright or reversed, this card has different meanings for you in terms of love, money, health, career, and spirituality.
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This card has imagery of a man who is lying face down. He seems to be dead, and he has 10 swords stuck to his back.
Much of his body is draped by a red cape, which might represent dignity in his death. Most of the sky is dark and ominous, but there is also a horizon with a rising sun. That is often interpreted as a sign of renewed opportunity and a chance for hope.
The background also has a calm sea, perhaps signifying solace. Even in a time of darkness, you can find calm and peace.
Despite the air being cloudy and black, there’s a stillness to it. Then again, this stillness has a terrible feeling to it. When contrasted with the rising sun, the ambiance of the imagery suggests the lowest possible point in life but things are about to turn.
This usually indicates some kind of disaster. A certain force with substantial power is going to hit you. It might not be one that you see coming, and that can engender a sense of serious betrayal. The character in the card stabbed in his back is a visual representation of this. It’s a painful reminder that no matter how hard you try in life, you can’t control everything. Some things are past your capacity to change, and that makes such situations unavoidable.
Sadly, this card’s meaning for love can mean an ending. You might be going through a time of pain and grief. The relationship was likely already headed towards an ending, and it’s probably one you saw coming. There might also be possibly infidelity or other kinds of betrayal. This can be hard to go through, but surrendering to the inevitability opens up new possibilities. No matter how bad things look, the worst has already happened. Things have to get better because there’s nowhere else to go but up.
Romantic relationships aren’t the only endings this card can signify. Cutting connections can also involve professional work. Maybe you are tired of office gossip, or you lost out in terms of workplace politics. You might have been working yourself to the point of exhaustion but now need a rest. This is a chance to grow, try new things, and plant seeds. Cut everything from your personal budget that you can so you can avoid financial risks.
This card isn’t a great health omen. It usually means you’ve hit some kind of wall and now need to take time to manage your health. This card signifies exhaustion, chronic fatigue, collapse, and even having a nervous breakdown. If this card shows up in your spread, emphasize health above all else. The Ten of Swords can signify it’s a good time to give acupuncture a chance.
Spiritually, this card usually means you need to cut ties with an outdated belief system. The longer you live, the more you are exposed to new ideas. Embrace the ones that can serve you better than the old. It can also serve as a warning to avoid anyone in your closest circle that might be dangerous, disloyal, or even betray you.
The finality of defeat and the powerful emotions surrounding it are common to the Ten of Swords. Such tragedies are simply unavoidable. Things have been working in this direction for a long time and have inevitable conclusions. There can be a silver lining to the reversal of this card, however. Hitting rock bottom is seriously unpleasant, as you just don’t have anything left to give. Then again, there is also a release of control and ego. In that release, you embrace the power to make things better in your new cycle. As with the two previous swords cards, the eight and nine, anything has to be something you initiate. You have an opportunity to correct things that have harmed you in the past, but the work involved in climbing out is on you and you alone.
If you happen to be in a current relationship, then a reversed Ten of Swords might suggest your relationship will rebound from a disaster or total collapse, even if it looked like it was beyond all repair at one point. It might suggest a potential escape from an abusive relationship, although it might be a warning of impending escalation of the abuse. Get to safety before things turn fatal. Single people might due for recovery from the despair of their last breakup as they rise above being spiteful and bitter.
This card when reversed can mean you’ve gotten past the worst stress your job put on you. You might have also cut ties with employment that pushed you to the edge. It might also mean you’re still in horrible professional circumstances still driving you crazy. Reflect on whether or not your current job is worth it, and see if you can find healthier employment. If you’re in business for yourself, you might find yourself being saved from total loss and seeing your business growing quickly.
The health meaning of this card reversed can imply surviving a tremendous disease or illness and your health improving. It might also signify going through suicidal thoughts, lack of survival ability, and near-death experiences. If you are contemplating harming yourself or others, ask for help. There are many resources available willing to help you.
The spiritual context of a reversed Ten of Swords often means that you’ve been through difficulties in the past but also learned valuable lessons from them. Your experiences have helped you attain wisdom for yourself but also empathy for others. Alternatively, if you decide not to heed your lessons, you might be left on a downward spiral. It’s up to you to recognize the moments in life where you need to make adjustments and seize the new initiative.