tragedy and drama
The Ten of Swords Tarot Card’s True Meaning: Love, Health and Money
The 10th Minor Arcana card in the suit of Swords, the Ten of Swords is a shocking draw, depicting death, loss, and renewal. While it may be frightening in a reading, remember that endings — even unexpected ones — bring with them hope and new opportunity.
- Element: Air
- Planet: Mars
- Astrological sign: Gemini
- Key dates: June 11 to June 20
Visual Elements and Symbolism
The Ten of Swords is one of the more somber cards in the Rider-Waite deck. An ominous black sky rises above a fallen man shrouded in red. His golden tunic and rich cape represent honor, distinguishing him as a valiant force of undeniable good that has been struck down.
Ten long swords pierce his back, as blood runs down them and pools underneath his body. The sheer number of swords may seem superfluous, but represents how truly arresting failure can be. The man’s head is turned towards the sea, shifting in his last moments away from the carnage to look towards the serene infinity that lays before him.
Though all may seem hopeless, the dark sky is parting above the water and golden light peeks through. The faint outline of faraway mountains offer the glimmer of hope. The vast expanse of water is calm, peaceful in the face of the horrors that lay just beyond it, symbolizing how, despite countless tragic events, the world remains unaffected and beautiful.
The Ten of Swords as a Person
The Ten of Swords’ sobering iconography can represent an overly dramatic individual, someone for whom failure, no matter how big or small, is interpreted as the end of their world. They may have a tendency to exaggerate their trials — one sword becomes ten.
The Ten of Swords has difficulty perceiving the light and seeing past their personal misfortunes. To their credit, they actively try to do this, searching hard for any glimmer of hope possibly available to them. This search for salvation can make them latch on to others, especially those who are currently experiencing success or appear outwardly prosperous.
Like a flower turning towards the sun, the Ten of Swords is a hard worker. Despite their tendency to dramatize daily events, the Ten of Swords strives for happiness.
The Ten of Swords Upright: Positive Meanings
Tragedy strikes hard, and unexpectedly. The Ten of Swords indicates an unpredictable event that will be difficult to overcome. It may represent the end of a relationship, the passing of a loved one, or an unexpected roadblock in your career.
The Ten of Swords can symbolize true tragedy and cutting betrayal, yet it can also illustrate the exaggeration of daily problems. The gradual increase of metaphorical swords in their back may be a form of subconscious self-sabotage, a way to dramatize their life and to understand their normal daily failures.
Love and Relationships
The Ten of Swords is not a good sign for those in love. If you are currently single, those who approach you are unlikely to be trustworthy. You may have fallen for someone who will betray you.
If you’re currently in a relationship, the Ten of Swords may indicate its impending end. Perhaps you’re happy and believe everything is going well, but your partner may not be feeling so fulfilled. They could instead be searching for meaning elsewhere, and will promptly leave you once they find it.
Whether single or in a relationship, you may experience an increased amount of drama in your life. This could be driving your loved ones away from you. The Ten of Swords can also indicate that you’re overly scrutinizing those around you in the effort to prevent betrayal before it even happens. Ironically, this may cause them to distance themselves from you, or to search elsewhere for love and affection.
As far as your career is concerned, the Ten of Swords denotes nothing good. It could be a sign that you will soon lose your job, leaving you in a difficult and precarious position. Your current career may come to an abrupt end, requiring you to start anew.
It may, however, indicate you’ve hit a glass-ceiling and are finding it increasingly difficult to move upward.
This stagnation in your mobility may have been caused by betrayal in the workplace — the colleagues you thought had your back may in fact have turned on you for their own personal gain. Remain professional and civil towards them, but try not to give them too much control over the outcome of important projects.
The Ten of Swords may indicate that you’re about to hit rock-bottom or will soon go into major credit card debt. This unexpected financial crisis could leave you in a tight spot with few short-term opportunities.
You should be allocating your money towards covering your necessities, while saving as much as possible in order to mitigate any future financial issues. This is not a good time for an “out of sight, out of mind” mentality. Be mindful of your credit card debt and how it will affect your future finances.
The Ten of Swords represents the feeling of being physically pinned down. A recent injury may be preventing you from doing what you want, which in turn could impact your mental health, leaving you feeling inadequate or alone.
You may also be feeling vulnerable and attacked by those around you. Feeling skeptical of others’ intentions towards you could be causing you an unhealthy amount of stress, which can lead to depression. You may be interpreting their actions as aggressive or cruel when they are not.
Instead of overdramatizing your relationships, try to assume good intentions to mitigate the effects of this paranoia. If you’re having difficulty navigating social relations, don’t hesitate to see a health professional who can help you sort out your feelings.
Ten of Swords Reversed: Negative Meanings
The Ten of Swords in the reverse position holds strong negative symbolism. However, it also comes with a glimmer of hope that things are about to get better.
The reversed Ten of Swords may indicate that you’re struggling against an impending fall. You can see it coming and are trying to prevent it with all your might. It is perhaps wisest to direct your efforts towards cushioning the fall, instead of preventing the inevitable.
On the other hand, when reversed this card can also represent the aftermath of the fall, the hopeful glimmer following disgrace. You’ve taken a hard hit, but you will get back up again and heal, that much stronger from the experience. This doesn’t mean it will be easy, as you’ll need to actively practice positivity in order to counter the difficulties you have experienced.
Love and Relationships
Since the reversed Ten of Swords represents finality, you may be experiencing dramatic failure on the dating scene. People you’re attracted to romantically could be ignoring you, leaving you high and dry. The person you are most interested in could be trying to start unnecessary drama, or acting insecure.
Be careful of these behaviors, as good relationships are not founded on distrust. Abandoning your pursuit of this potential partner may be better for you in the long run.
If you are in a relationship, the reversed Ten of Swords might indicate an abrupt end to it. You may discover that your partner has been unfaithful, or that they’re simply unhappy and can no longer sustain a relationship with you. You may understandably feel betrayed and confused, but can also accept that it was for the best and simply not meant to be.
The Ten of Swords, be it reversed or not, does not bode well for your career. You may find yourself jobless, fail to secure an important project, or suddenly find yourself demoted, all things that can have significant ramifications on your career.
Though this event will undoubtedly be difficult it’s important that you stay hopeful. The reversed Ten of Swords can also symbolize new beginnings. A job loss might even be a blessing in disguise — you are now free to pursue a passion, something you may have disregarded in the past as a pipe-dream or simply considered unattainable.
The Ten of Swords suggests an occurrence of financial failure in the near future. While the reversed position will not necessarily prevent this from happening, you will likely be able to salvage something from it.
Being able to recuperate from this failure will allow you to move forward. Though this will not be without hardship, keep your head high and looking towards the future.
This is definitely not the time to be making risky business deals or investments. Instead, content yourself with accumulating a financial cushion to prepare for the worst.
You might be experiencing concerning symptoms that need to be checked out by a professional as soon as possible. The reversed Ten of Swords is a terrible draw in a health reading, so err on the safe side and see a doctor when you can.
Should you receive bad news, keep in mind that the reversed Ten of Swords signifies new beginnings and hope. Though the near future may seem bleak, try to maintain a positive outlook on your future.
Your Past, Present and Future
As the Ten of Swords represents failure, endings, and new beginnings, the past position is the best place for it to be. It denotes past trials and attests to your strength in overcoming difficult situations.
In the present, the Ten of Swords denotes a recent betrayal that you’re still recovering from. Though not fully healed, you’re hopeful about the possibility of meeting interesting people and forging new bonds.
The future position for the Ten of Swords is the least promising. The near future holds emotionally difficult trials, ones of high intensity and sentiment. Though you may experience an end of some sort, potentially of a relationship, keep in mind that the future will become the past, and you will be stronger for it.
Important Card Combinations
The Ten of Swords combines with other cards to contextualize an impending ending, and to offer advice on how best to proceed from this trial. Though this card holds negative symbolism, remember that it also foretells new beginnings.
Ten of Swords and Wheel of Fortune
The Wheel of Fortune represents the uncertainty of life, the sudden twists and turns that characterize your personal journey. When combined with the Ten of Swords, the duo reminds that it’s difficult to foresee the future, despite both negative and positive events undoubtedly laying ahead of you.
Ten of Swords and Strength
When combined with Strength, the pairing indicates you might experience a fall from grace and loss of composure. However, you will continue to face life’s challenges without losing your essential qualities of kindness and inner balance, while never losing your compassion for bitterness.
Ten of Swords and Chariot
While the Ten of Swords foretells a loss or an end, the Chariot indicates victory and ambition. Though you may fail, this combination assures that you will also rise from the ashes.
Yes or No Questions
The Ten of Swords does not typically bode well, and is therefore a strong no.