The image is grisly: a man, lying face down, with ten
swords sticking out of his back. The landscape is desolate; a black dog growls
at the body. The only light comes from a clearing sky.


The Ten of Swords is a scary card to look at! How can any
interpretation, other than doom, betrayal, and death be suggested? When I was
learning Tarot—by drawing a card
every day and keeping a journal—the Ten would show up all the time. Anxiously, I
waited to see what terrible things might befall me. This time was a tremendous
lesson for me in how the Tarot
actually works, and though it was nerve-wracking to deal with this card so
often, I learned not to fear it and instead embrace its message—that sometimes
letting go of the old is the best path to personal growth and new opportunities.


Okay—I’m not going to shine you on here. This card can mean
that death will be showing up in your life. Not literal death probably, but the
death of your ego, a way of thinking, or a whole batch of beliefs and mental
concepts (the Swords relate to the mind). In my case, I was going through a
challenging time of life, and I had started studying
Tarot to help myself through it.
Everything I thought I knew as “true” was being blown up. It was a tough time.
But what I learned was that the Ten is the final push, the death throes, and
beyond it lies a new beginning. That’s what the image of the clear horizon on
the card is all about. The Ten is the end of the cycle, leading back to the Ace.
This card was saying—your pain will end soon if you let go and allow a new set
of beliefs to emerge.


Was this easy? Heck no! But everyone will have times in
their life when they need to let the old fall away so that something new can be
born. The more we resist this, the harder it will be. The Ten is asking us to
let go, to let something die so we can rise again.


Another theme of this card is betrayal. It may mean that
literal betrayal is afoot—but in my case and with most of my clients, it
suggests self-betrayal, which can lead to a whole lot of outer turmoil. During
the time I was drawing the Ten frequently, I was also in a strange living
situation with an old friend. I was broke and working different jobs for other
friends. Fear was guiding my life.

Author's Bio: 

Jackie Williams has worked for as a manager overlooking the talent department for a prominent new age communications company. Later as the internet developed, she diversified her recruitment specialty to server global clients for a internet based spiritual network.
She attained her Master of Arts in Anthropology from Northern Arizona University and her BA from Hunter College.