The 10 of Swords card is among the various scary looking Tarot cards from the Minor Arcana. Just looking at it brings about a whole lot of pain and anguish. And when clients see it pop up in their readings, they often feel scared too.

However, while the 10 of Swords might look scary (and it does talk about a whole lotta pain), it isn’t really all that scary once you get to know it well.

In fact, the card can also be a very important guide and a lesson. And, many a times, the card also tells us a good news is on its way. To understand this, let’s first have a look at the image of the card, and understand its meaning.

10 of Swords – Image

10 of Swords

The image of the 10 of Swords is pretty grim, to say the least.

Right at the outset, we are faced with the image of a man who has been killed – he has not one, not two, but 10 swords stuck in his back. And he lies there, pinned down by these swords. And some might even think of him as dead.

He lies at the edge of a water body, and in the distance, we also see that a new day is dawning, as the dark night comes to an end.

If you look closely, you will also see that his fingers are forming some kind of a sign – if you look a the fingers of the Hierophant, you will see the similarity of this hand sign. It is the sign of benediction, of blessing.

10 of Swords – Meaning

Page of Clouds - Mind - Osho Zen

Let’s look at the meaning of this image.

We know that swords are all about the mind – logic, thoughts, and all the stuff that can emerge from this. Now, if we see the image from a very symbolic perspective, we will see how these thoughts and mind stuff has effectively managed to completely stop this man from moving anywhere. He is pinned down, unable to find a way out his predicament. Thoughts are like that – sometimes the negative thoughts we have can pin you down so completely, that you are unable to do anything at all.
In fact, most of the journey within the Suit of Swords is a testament to the fact that the mind can cause pain and debilitate you completely. And the 10 of Swords is the picture of this complete debilitation. Now, in this card, the journey is, for all intents and purposes, finished.

Thank the Gods that there is no 11 of Swords, eh! 😀

10 of Swords – Hope

But this image also carries within it a few rays of hope.

sunrise and hope
First and foremost is the dawn that breaks over the horizon. This clearly shows us that this is the end of the pain and suffering that was caused by the mind stuff in the suit – and that with the new day dawning, there will be a new beginning, and hope that the future brings something good and different. Sometimes, this can also signal something good that suddenly comes into your life.

The second sign of hope is the sign of benediction that the man makes with his fingers. After struggling with his mind till the very bitter end, he finally realizes that this entire experience has been a blessing in disguise. Only after he has confronted these thoughts, and has been completely annihilated by the mind, does he finally realize that he is now free of its tentacles.

The body of water represents the subconscious mind. He lies at the edge of it, close to it. All these encounters with the patterns of his own mind, he has come closer to the truth – he has discovered a path towards his subconscious, which he can only find after he has faced and fought off the mind’s confusing maze of thoughts and patterns.

10 of Swords

So, to sum it up, while the 10 of Swords might convey a whole lot of pain and suffering, it also shows us that this pain and suffering might help you unveil the path to your inner self where you won’t get caught up in the mind’s traps. It also gives us hope that while this may be the pinnacle of pain, the rest of the way is only going to be a lot less of pain. You are at the peak of the suffering, and now its only going to ease up.

In short, the 10 of Swords does look scary, but along with its inevitable message of pain and suffering, it also sows the seeds for hope and blessings.

Your Turn…

The message in the 10 of Swords card is clear – yes, you need to be vary of the mind’s patterns and confusing thoughts because they might lead you to this place where you will be completely immobile and pinned down. But if you are brave enough to see the new dawn and the blessings it brings, you will also find the strength within you to face and deal with these mind patterns and find a new path in life which is free from such debilitating thought patterns.

What is your take on the 10 of Swords? Do you have any other thoughts about this card and its symbolism? Do you have any insights to share? Please do share your thoughts in the comments section. I would love to know. 🙂

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