Ten of Swords

Ten of Swords

The Basic Meaning of the Card (Rider-Waite)

The basic meaning of the Ten of Swords (Rider-Waite) is that it symbolizes a sudden and painful end or a crisis. The card shows a person lying on the ground with ten swords pierced into their back. It represents a state of defeat, loss, and despair, but also the possibility of change and transformation.

Upright Meaning

The upright Ten of Swords often signifies a painful or difficult ending, followed by the opportunity for a fresh start. This card can represent betrayal, loss, or defeat that feels overwhelming, but it also marks the end of a challenging period. Key aspects of the upright Ten of Swords include:

  1. Completion: The end of a cycle, making way for new beginnings.
  2. Betrayal: Feeling betrayed or backstabbed, whether by others or by your own actions.
  3. Loss: Experiencing a significant loss, such as a relationship or job.
  4. Finality: Accepting the reality of a situation, and understanding that there’s no going back.
  5. Mental Exhaustion: Reaching a breaking point after prolonged stress or worry.

Reversed Meaning

When the Ten of Swords appears reversed, it often signifies recovery, resilience, and the process of healing after a painful experience. The reversed Ten of Swords can also indicate a fear of endings or resistance to accepting the reality of a situation. Key aspects of the reversed Ten of Swords include:

  1. Renewal: Regaining strength and starting the process of healing after a challenging time.
  2. Resistance: Difficulty accepting the reality of a situation or resisting change.
  3. Slow Recovery: The gradual process of picking up the pieces and moving forward after a painful experience.
  4. Learning from Mistakes: Reflecting on past experiences, understanding the lessons learned, and making changes for the future.
  5. Fear of Endings: A reluctance to let go of the past, or anxiety about the unknown aspects of a new beginning.

Both the upright and reversed meanings of the Ten of Swords emphasize the need for acceptance, understanding, and growth following difficult experiences. The card serves as a reminder that while endings can be painful, they can also lead to new opportunities and a chance for healing and growth.

When the Ten of Swords appears reversed, it often signifies recovery, resilience, and the process of healing after a painful experience. The reversed Ten of Swords can also indicate a fear of endings or resistance to accepting the reality of a situation. Key aspects of the reversed Ten of Swords include:

  1. Renewal: Regaining strength and starting the process of healing after a challenging time.
  2. Resistance: Difficulty accepting the reality of a situation or resisting change.
  3. Slow Recovery: The gradual process of picking up the pieces and moving forward after a painful experience.
  4. Learning from Mistakes: Reflecting on past experiences, understanding the lessons learned, and making changes for the future.
  5. Fear of Endings: A reluctance to let go of the past, or anxiety about the unknown aspects of a new beginning.

Both the upright and reversed meanings of the Ten of Swords emphasize the need for acceptance, understanding, and growth following difficult experiences. The card serves as a reminder that while endings can be painful, they can also lead to new opportunities and a chance for healing and growth.

Example Interpretation

If the Ten of Swords appears in a reading about your work life, it may indicate that you have recently gone through or are facing a crisis or difficult ending in your career. This could be that you have lost your job, failed at a project, or experienced some other form of defeat. The card encourages you to accept this ending and to view it as an opportunity for change and renewal in your work life.


More Tarot Cards In "Swords"