Tarot Tuesdays – Is the Ten of Swords all doom and gloom?

Do you remember when I talked about stalker cards during a tarot reading? Stalker cards are cards that appear repeatedly over a period of time. It’s almost like the tarot is trying to say “Why didn’t you listen to me before? Here, I will repeat it for you.”

I pulled the Ten of Swords four times between April 18 and May 1 (doing a daily reading of three cards most days). So I thought we should dig deeper into its meaning.

Ten of Swords

Ten of Swords stalker card

The Ten of Swords is a Minor Arcana card and associated with the element air. Remember this handy chart I designed? This is how you remember to associate swords with the element air.

What does air represent?

Air is intangible and unseen but in constant movement. It represents:

  • Intellectual world
  • Thoughts including fear, insecurities, self-doubt
  • Change, courage
  • Mental level of consciousness

So what does the Ten of Swords show us when it appears in our reading?

Note: I pulled this card in its upright position three times, and once in reverse. To keep things simple and not too lengthy, I will focus on the upright message in this post.

The Ten of Swords card might shock you a little. At first glance, it looks like the man is dead, right?

But this is not actually a doom and gloom card. What you have to do here is look at the entire card, and put together the message it conveys.

Let it tap into your subconscious so you can draw from this card what you need in order to see yourself through the day, the week, or some crucial event or circumstance.

Yes, the man appears stabbed. He’s lying there unmoving, defeated, exhausted. But take a look at the sky.

The sky may look ominous at first; most of the sky is covered by dark clouds. But do you see the sunrise on the horizon? The dark storm clouds are moving on. The light from the sun invites a fresh start filled with hope and opportunity.

Now, take at look at the water. The sea is calm. There are no waves. It tells us even in times of stress and darkness, solace can be found.

Now, look at the man again. He is facing the horizon, the sky, the water. His head is turned toward the light.

Yes, the swords have the man pinned to the ground. He feels hopeless, defeated and trapped by mental and emotional anguish. They represent circumstances that may be beyond his control. But he is not dead. He has hit rock bottom but is still breathing. He is still alive.

Let’s apply this to personal circumstances:

We are in a pandemic, right? Some of us have endured lengthy lockdowns (UK, Italy, Toronto, Ontario). Many/most of us feel exactly like the man pinned by the Ten of Swords.

Frankly, the month of April and much of May has had me in exactly this position as well – fed-up, disillusioned, angry, depressed. It is no secret to my readers that I was (still am) feeling defeated and exhausted by the continuous punishment of lockdowns in this godforsaken province, and worried (mental anguish) about how this will, has, affected my children in particular.

For the next two weeks, the card kept showing up. It kept stalking me.


It was trying to lead me away from the defeat and hopelessness.

It was trying to show me the light on the horizon. It was showing me the calm sea as a way of reinforcing that this too shall pass, that the lockdown will end at some point (even if the Ministers of Health, the politicians and the science table refuse to concede – the pressure of the collective human race around here will begin to unravel them shortly and they will have no choice but to open up the economy again).

At least this is how I choose to interpret the card’s message.

So yes, the Ten of Swords may represent a painful ending, crisis, loss, bleakness and hopelessness.

But it also acts as a springboard out of rock bottom.

The sun is rising, the storm is passing, the seas are calm. It’s time to start over, with fresh energy and new perspectives.


For all my tarot posts, click here.

Sources of inspiration to help me interpret this card: Biddy Tarot, Little Red Tarot, Wikipedia

8 thoughts on “Tarot Tuesdays – Is the Ten of Swords all doom and gloom?

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