(The above image is a copy of The Ten of Swords card in a standard Rider-Waite Tarot deck. The 6 symbols pointed out above are explained below.)
The Ten of Swords marks the end of the numbered card in the swords suit. Naturally, therefore, the card is about endings. It depicts a dead man in a battlefield. Rather than harping on the lost, however, the card encourages us to focus on the peace, glory, and rest that comes with endings.
For more information about The Ten of Swords card, check out A. E. Waite’s description here.
Point 1 – FIGURE
One of the more macabre cards, the Ten of Swords depicts a man face down with ten swords in his back. In a way, this card is a reflection of the Four of Swords, depicting the knight before he is buried. An optimistic interpretation of the figure is that he gave his all for his cause and died in the glory of battle.
Point 2 – RED CLOTH
A red cloth covers a part of the figure’s body. Like in most tarot cards, the color red symbolizes passion and zeal. The cloth is a representation of the figure’s strength and courage in the battle he has fought.
Point 3 – FIGURE’S HAND
Like in The Hierophant and other cards, the figure is making the hand gesture for divine blessing. This further iterates the glory underneath the macabre scene. While regrettable, the figure died on his own terms.
Point 4 – DARKEN SKY
The darken sky is a reflection of the darken room in the Nine of Swords. It is the dark night of the soul played out in reality. The sky illustrates the atmosphere of the macabre found in the card.
Point 5 – YELLOW SKY
Juxtaposing the darken sky is the rising morning underneath it. The yellow sky represents the hoped-for enlightenment depicted in the Nine of Swords. The morning further iterates the hidden glory underneath the figure’s death.
Point 6 – STILL WATERS
Beyond the figure’s body is a vast ocean. Unlike most oceans, the water is still without any hint of waves. The stillness of the water directly relates to the stillness of the body. Indirectly though, the water hints at a level of peace that the figure must be feeling now that he has died.
An Upright Ten of Swords suggests the end of something. Endings are often felt with regret however, like in The Death card, tarot treats endings with a little more optimism. A relationship might have ended, but a new one could be around the corner. A ill family member might have died, but they are no longer in pain. An Upright Ten of Swords asks you to be appreciative of the thing that has ended and to look forward to new experiences without harping on your old ones.
A Reverse Ten of Swords suggest that you are in denial about an inevitable ending. Perhaps you don’t want to say goodbye or are scared about the unknown. A Reverse Ten of Swords encourages you to let go. Denial only makes things worst when they eventually end. Make your peace about the situation and appreciate the good memories you have.
For more Tarot Card Meanings, check out our blog here.
About the author: John Taylor is a content writer and freelancer through the company Upwork.com. You may view his freelancing profile here. He has a B. A. in English, with a specialty in technical writing, from Texas A&M University and a M. A. in English from the University of Glasgow. You may view his previous articles about Tarot here and his LinkedIn profile here.