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Ten of Swords - Tarot Card Meanings

Key Symbolism

endings, new beginnings, painful occurrences, painful realizations, being at the lowest point, feeling like a victim, being a martyr, victory over something, sacrifices, psychological transformations, collapse, defeat, failure, letting go, surrender, disloyalty, betrayal, being used, forcing opinions on others

Ten of Swords

Description and Symbolism

A dead man is laying with his face down on a beach. He is stabbed by 10 swords starting from his head ranging over his torso to his thighs. A red blanket is wrapped around part of his body. One of the dead man's hands is showing the sign of benediction, marking a blessing. The heaven is pitch black and cloudy symbolizing ‘the darkest hour’, but adjacent to the sea there is the yellow light of the rising sun marking a new day. The water surface is completely still symbolizing the peacefulness that comes with death.


General Meaning


The number 10 symbolizes endings and new beginnings. Ten of Swords can be about the mental decision to end something (swords stabbing). Maybe you decided to put an end to a situation - knowing that with every end there is something new and probably better to come. It may be painful, but it also brings a sense of peace to finally let go. It can also symbolize something painful being done to you, like ‘being stabbed in the back’ by someone - something might be crushing you unexpectedly. Ten of Swords can also signify a victory over something or someone. 

Love Meaning

In a love reading Ten of Swords can represent a betrayal. Maybe someone you love has betrayed and disappointed you and now you feel hurt. It can also mean that you were hurt and disappointed many times (swords that stabbed you one by one) and now you feel like it was just too much, thinking that "enough is enough.". Ten of Swords also represents endings and new beginnings, so it can mean that a situation is ending. Maybe you are at a breaking point and planning drastic changes. Lastly, it can symbolize the decision to end a relationship. You might still be attached to the person, but using your rational mind you know it is the right thing to do.


As Feelings


If you ask how someone feels for you, Ten of Swords can indicate that the person in question feels like they have been defeated or 'stabbed in the back', they might feel like they have been betrayed. This person might also feel hurt. Another meaning could be that they feel like they have to act rationally (using the swords) and defeat or end something. 

© Illustrations from the Radiant Rider-Waite 2015 reproduced by permission of U.S. Games Systems Inc., Stanford, CT 06902. c. 2015 by U.S. Games Systems Inc. All rights reserved.

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