Card Profile: Ten of Swords

Ten of Swords is the last numbered card of the Suit of Swords; and although it represents the completion of a mental process; it does so through depicting endings, loss, and betrayal.



Ten of Swords depicts a man laying on the ground dead in his blood, stabbed by ten swords from his back. His lower body is covered by a red cloak, whereas his upper body shows a gold-colored vest and a white shirt. The sky is black, and the sun is rising from the distant mountains across the calm sea.

The man’s posture reflects a defeat coming unexpectedly; realized by betrayal and back-stabbing. The swords imply that that might be the betrayal of attaching too much importance to mental facilities, as mind alone cannot produce all answers. The defeat is not a blow to man’s passion for life, (which is represented by the red cloak) but also to his naivety and wealth; (represented by the gold-colored vest and white shirt) generating a loss along with disappointment. Although the general imagery of loss and misfortune; the card also indicates that there is a calm after the storm, as represented by the calm sea; and all hope is not lost, implied by the rising sun; which is dispelling the darkness.

Tragedy in life normally comes with betrayal and compromise, and trading on your integrity and not having dignity in life. That’s really where failure comes.

-Tom Cochrane


The Ten of Swords connotes an unexpected failure, possibly catastrophic; which one is unable to resist. Furthermore, it might also signify a betrayal; leaving one with hurt feelings. That being said, it also implies that this has been the final blow and no more damage will come from that source or that reason; therefore this card calls for accepting the losses and trying to move on after the initial pain has passed. A person represented by this card would be incredibly dramatic and pessimistic, seeing everything as going down in flames; and deriving an odd pleasure of being the victim of catastrophic ordeals. Career-wise, this card indicates that a failure in a project, causing shock and upset; it might even imply a loss of job at the unexpected moment and calls for recognizing this as a door to new opportunities. In the relationship context, this card indicates that there has been a painful break-up, whose wounds are new or an end of the relationship is necessary, although it might be better.

Ten of Swords, in short, implies that like the blessings; there are some disasters that one has no control over and calls for accepting them, and healing the wounds before moving on.

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