Astrological Association: Mercury in Virgo
Key Meaning: Endings
The Ten of Swords in Tarot stands for martyrdom, a victim mentality, and bottoming out. The Ten of Swords meaning in a Tarot reading is one of deep loss, painful betrayal, and sad events.
Upright Meaning: The traditional meaning of the upright card is ruin. While this sounds frightening, it does not, however, mean death or destruction; it is also worth bearing in mind that this event, although sudden, has a history. This is not an act of God, like the lightning strike of card XVI, The Tower, but the natural outcome of a culmination of events that leads to inevitable change. This ending clears the way for new possibilities, and you may find the finality of it releases you from frustration and stress, as is expressed in the preceding card, the Nine of Swords. In this sense, the Ten of Swords is an aspect of card XIII, Death, in its meaning of endings, transition, and new beginnings.
In your personal life, bonds of friendship may break, and there may be no turning back; this, unfortunately, is unavoidable, but with hindsight, you may see that certain people in a group were causing discord and stress. In love relationships, the card signifies a dramatic ending (particularly if it appears close to the Three of Cups, the “sorrow” card). However, the Ten of Swords often applies to a group of people, rather than individuals. In work, this may manifest as the closure of a department accompanied by job loss or a failing business.
On a more positive note, this is the end of an era; soon the strife and upset will be over. Health issues, such as low energy and exhaustion, will improve.
Reversed Meaning: When reversed, the Ten of Swords holds the meaning of the upright card, but indicates there may be more repercussions. You may examine your past actions and feel guilty or angry and react more deeply to the fallout; try not to hold on to the stress. Accept the situation and let go.
The reversed Ten of Swords can also show feeling helpless, particularly if you have been ill or overwhelmed emotionally. Soon you will feel able to pick yourself up and start over.