Ten of Swords

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Ten of Swords from the Rider-Waite Tarot deck

The Ten of Swords is the tenth card in the suit of Swords. It usually stands for pain, affliction, tears, sadness, and desolation. Imprisonment. Treason. It is not a card indicating violent death.

General description

In the Rider-Waite Tarot deck, Pamela Colman Smith depicts the Ten of Swords as a prostrate figure stabbed by the ten swords of the suit. Blood trickles from the body, soaking the earth. There is a blue field beyond with mountains beyond, but it does not appear to be waters that give life, but more like the River Styx.

Divinatory meaning

The card represents material necessity and the limits and corner-stones which it erects. It is ultimately the card of inescapable karmic results, or material karma itself. To the profane this very often means affliction, and the personality may be burdened by the weight of fate. The image of this card seems to suggest this burden.

On the other hand tradition is certainly not wrong in stating that it may represent gain and profit, as the card of karma will bring the full measure of material things in general and not only in the way of tragedy. Profit and advantage, however, may also become oppressive and its possibility must be considered here.

If reversed, the card can mean: Advantage, profit, success, or victory, but none of these are permanent; also power and authority.

Tarot Topics
Major Arcana The FoolThe MagicianThe High PriestessThe EmpressThe EmperorThe HierophantThe LoversThe ChariotStrengthThe HermitWheel of FortuneJusticeThe Hanged ManDeathTemperanceThe DevilThe TowerThe StarThe MoonThe SunJudgementThe World
Minor Arcana Pentacles AceTwoThreeFourFiveSixSevenEightNineTenPageKnightQueenKing
Wands AceTwoThreeFourFiveSixSevenEightNineTenPageKnightQueenKing
Cups AceTwoThreeFourFiveSixSevenEightNineTenPageKnightQueenKing
Swords AceTwoThreeFourFiveSixSevenEightNineTenPageKnightQueenKing
Decks Visconti-Sforza TarotTarot of MarseillesRider-Waite TarotThoth TarotOccult TarotAngel TarotVlad Dracula TarotHieronymus Bosch Tarot