Ten of Swords

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The 10 of Swords card in the Sola-Busca tarot deck

Ten of Swords is a Minor Arcana tarot card. Tarot cards are used throughout much of Europe to play tarot card games.[1] In English-speaking countries, where the games are largely unknown, tarot cards came to be utilized primarily for divinatory purposes.[1][2]

Meaning and symbolism[edit]

Ten of Swords from the Rider-Waite Tarot deck

In the upright or positive light, the ten of swords represents destruction, being pinned down by a multitude of things or situations. The person lying on the ground, defeated and bleeding, may also represent a feeling of hopelessness and being trapped by emotions or mental anguish, since swords represent strife and the mind.

Dark clouds hovering above the person signify despair and a bleak situation. However, upon closer examination of the images in the Rider-Waite card, any death or destruction, like all things, may not be permanent. There is hope in spite of the situation; the golden sky in the distance suggests that the current situation is bad, and things will improve.

In the reversed state, the card indicates a troubling situation that will continue for a significant amount of time. The card suggests that the subject should not despair in difficult times, to avoid ruining future prospects for success.

In popular culture[edit]

There was a Bob Dylan bootleg compilation called Ten of Swords released on ten 12 inch vinyl records, which consisted of various unreleased material of the artist.[3]

A track off the Arsis album Starve For The Devil is entitled "The Ten of Swords".[4]

The final episode of AMC's television series Halt and Catch Fire is titled "Ten of Swords"; it is a reference to Lee Pace's character Joe MacMillan bottoming out in his career and being "reborn" in the final scene as a college professor.

The 2020 X-Men event in Marvel Comics is called X of Swords, and features tarot cards and themes.


  1. ^ a b Dummett, Michael (1980). The Game of Tarot. Gerald Duckworth and Company Ltd. ISBN 0-7156-1014-7.
  2. ^ Huson, Paul (2004). "Mystical Origins of the Tarot: From Ancient Roots to Modern Usage". Vermont: Destiny Books. ISBN 0-89281-190-0. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27.
  3. ^ Goldberg, Michael (April 1986). "Bootleg Bob Dylan Set Creates a Stir; CBS Not Amused". Rolling Stone.
  4. ^ Freeman, Phil. "Arsis Starve for the Devil". Allmusic. Retrieved 24 May 2017.

External links[edit]