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.
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.