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The Ten of Swords: Your Tea and Tarot Blog

--By Hyperion Night of Beanblossom's Tea and Tarot

The Rider Waite Smith Ten of Swords card. A man lies on a lake shore with ten swords in his back beneath a sky of black clouds.

The Ten of Swords

A Hard Ending. Drama Queen. Loss. Pain. Betrayal.

I don't draw cards for myself that often. Sure, I do a card of the day, but that's more to keep my intuition and understanding locked in than because I want a reading. But I wanted a reading. For weeks I'd been in a flirtation with someone who I thought might matter. I was making myself crazy. It was all I could think about. I couldn't focus on work. I couldn't focus when I was out with friends. Finally, I drew a Celtic Cross spread for myself. It was enlightening. But the real surprise came in position eight, the "environment" of the situation. It was the Ten of Swords.

Now the Ten of Swords is usually about loss, betrayal, challenging endings. It's a Tarot card as dark as the black clouds in the background. And it was in the environment. But I wasn't feeling dark. The fact is, I hadn't been interested like that in a long time. I hadn't realized how cold and closed my heart had become until this person came into my life. And I'd told myself that even if the flirtation went nowhere, it was a gift that had opened my heart.

Then I remembered something an older and wiser Tarot reader had told me about that card: "Ten swords in his back. Isn't that a little much? A bit overkill?" And then I focused on the swords themselves, symbols of the mind, and realized yes, this was my environment. The environment of the situation was the inside of my head. I'd been living in it for the last few weeks, playing out scenarios of things going right and things going wrong, and frankly being a drama queen about it all.

I needed a mental change of scene. And whenever I caught myself thinking about the what-ifs of the situation, I remembered that card. It helped. (FYI, the key card in that reading was the Ace of Cups, so you probably have a good idea where all this led).

But enough about me. Let's talk about what's going on in your head. If you draw this card, here are some things to remember. First, notice the man's odd hand gesture? It's a mudra, sealing off or ending the energy. Next, the sun is rising. This may be an ending, but though the worst is over, you are not. The sky (like the suit in general) represents the mental state of the seeker, and the clouds in it are black, representing mourning, confusion, or darkness. And I'm going to once again break my general rule and go to the astrological associations with this card: the Sun in Gemini.

The Sun represents the center of our identity and consciousness. It symbolizes courage, will, and leading with its heart. The Sun can also represent our mission in life, our core purpose for being. The Sun is associated with the father and the day principle. Like Leo, which it rules, the Sun represents charisma, confidence and a creative flair. Ill-aspected or taken to extreme, the Sun can manifest itself as self-centeredness.

Gemini belongs to the element air and is ruled by Mercury, the planet of change, communication, and commerce. Gemini symbolizes curiosity, imagination, information and communication. The sign can also represent the adaptability and openness of the human mind, or taken to the extreme, doing too much at once and causing confusion.

Putting the two together: The Ten of Swords can represent that the seeker has the courage and will (the Sun) to change (Gemini) the situation. Or you're being a damn drama queen. In either case, you do have the ability to cope with this.

Some questions to ask if this appears in a reading include:

  • Are you wallowing in the situation?

  • How can you pick yourself up and start over?

  • Where is the sunrise coming from, and what do you need to do to reach it?

You're going to be okay.

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