Upright: Back-stabbed, defeat, crisis, betrayal, endings, loss
Reversed: Recovery, regeneration, fear of ruin, inevitable end

The Ten of Swords shows a man lying face down with ten long swords embedded in his back. A red cape is draped over the lower half of his body, while his top half remains unclothed. The sky above him is pitch black and there is a general feeling of pain, loss, and misfortune. However, despite these ominous images, there are positive aspects to this card. The sea before which the body lies is still and calm and the sun is rising in the distance beyond the mountains, indicating that the darkness will soon be dispelled. Thus, each new beginning must come from an end, and with every defeat are sown the seeds of future victory.

The Ten of Swords usually symbolises a sudden and unexpected failure or disaster, whereby a power beyond your control crushes you without warning or mercy. Sometimes you will be able to alter the course of this impending disaster but most of the time you will simply have to let go and take the hit. This card can also indicate a time when you have been backstabbed or betrayed by someone you thought you could trust. You feel incredibly hurt and shocked by such a betrayal.
As such, the Ten of Swords is often associated with feeling the ‘victim’ in a situation. You may feel powerless as something comes to a crashing and sudden end, and you feel as if you are being attacked or backstabbed by someone else. You crave pity from others with a small sigh of, “Poor me!” You may even use this challenging time to portray yourself as a martyr, to show that you have put your interests last but have suffered as a result.
The Ten of Swords also indicates a difficult experience of endings, loss, pain or release. However, the saving grace is that you have a new awareness and a positive sense of relief that the difficulty and pain will soon be over and will evolve into something new. As with all endings there will be a new beginning, a rebirth, and a rejuvenation of the spirit. So, while this card may seem negative at first glance, it is a card of hope and an indication that your troubles will not be permanent.
Furthermore, this is the final ordeal, and no more pain will come to you from that source. It is darkest before the dawn, and as gloomy as it looks, the sun will rise again. It can only get better from here.
The Ten of Swords is about letting go and accepting your current circumstances. You no longer resist change but allow it to happen, even if it causes some initial pain and hurt to you. You accept that there must be change in order to facilitate renewal, and you allow it to occur rather than fighting it.
When this card appears after a painful situation, it is a signal to pick yourself up off the ground and to reflect upon what happened to you and why, and what you can learn from the experience. Hidden deep beneath the surface of the Ten of Swords is the ultimate power of the Swords suit – the ability to analyse the situation and your responses, and learn from yourself. True wisdom does not come from without but from within. The Ten of Swords is a sign that the pain and hurt you have endured has not gone without purpose. The positive power within you can be used to learn from your pain and draw wisdom from defeat.
It is worth noting that the Ten of Swords is very similar to the Death card of the Major Arcana. It is not a literal indication of actual death but is instead evidence of an impending change or ending which may initially be difficult to accept.

The Ten of Swords reversed indicates a painful ending which must occur for there to be growth and regeneration. The suit of Swords is the suit of thoughts, plans, and attitudes, and this card is very appropriate in the area of mental transformations. This card indicates that there will be a forceful re-evaluation or elimination of your previous attitudes about life, your views about yourself and what is important, and possibly your plans for the future. Despite the initial trauma and torment associated with this change, the imposed re-evaluation can be a very positive thing. It is important to understand that while the means of your demise may not seem reasonable or fair, your previous thoughts and attitudes really need to change in order for you to reach a better place in your life. Rather than dwelling on the painful ending, it is important to look ahead and realise how these events free you up to completely reshape your life and choose a new direction for yourself.
The reversed Ten of Swords may also indicate that you are resisting an inevitable ending, because you are deeply worried about how much it is going to hurt you. However, what you are doing is delaying the inevitable and possibly making it even worse for yourself because you keep trying to put off something that needs to happen anyway for your own personal transformation. For example, a relationship may have come to an end but you are still intimate with your ex because you cannot bear to let go. This is only drawing out the pain much longer, and it is best to completely let go at this stage.
Sometimes, the Ten of Swords reversed may reflect fear of ruin, even if that ruin as not yet occurred. You are always be thinking of the worst-case scenario and planning for the worst, even if it does not happen. This is only creating unnecessary fear and anxiety for you, and it is important that you return to the energy of the Nine of Swords and run a reality check as to whether things are as bad as they seem.
The Ten of Swords reversed represents an old situation that ended very badly. You are still carrying around wounds from that situation but you have buried them so deeply that you do not realise they are still present in your life and still hurting you. This old pain needs to be brought up and dealt with once and for all, so you can liberate yourself from these deeply inflicted wounds. It may be difficult to experience the pain again but at least you are releasing yourself of this pain and allowing it to pass from your life.



Ten of Swords Tarot Card Key Meanings:
Backstabbing, betrayal, enemies, bitching, badmouthing, bitterness, doormat, failure, ruin, collapse/breakdown, exhaustion, inability to cope, curses, rock bottom, hitting a wall, dead end, severing ties, goodbyes, nail in the coffin, exaggeration, overly dramatic, martyr, attention seeker, playing victim, attack, violence

General meaning and interpretation
In a general context, the Ten of Swords is not a good omen as it can represent backstabbing betrayal, badmouthing, bitching behind your back, bitterness and enemies. It is a Minor Arcana card of failure, ruin, collapse, severing ties, goodbyes and the final nail in the coffin of a relationship or situation. It can signify nervous breakdowns, chronic fatigue, exhaustion and being unable to cope. It can also represent hitting rock bottom, hitting a wall or being in a dead end situation. The Ten of Swords can also indicate someone playing the victim or martyr, being overly dramatic, attention seeking or exaggerating. It can also signify violence, attacks and curses.

In a health Tarot reading, the Ten of Swords is not a great omen as it indicates that you have hit a wall and you need to stop and deal with your health. Chronic fatigue, exhaustion, collapse and even nervous breakdowns are all represented by this card. You need to put your health first when this appears in your Tarot spread. However, this card can also simply indicate that acupuncture may be beneficial to you with the swords in the image representing acupuncture needles.

Love & Relationships
In a love Tarot spread, if you are in a relationship the Ten of Swords is not a great omen as it indicates breakups, divorce, separation, bitterness or severing ties. If this card relates to a breakup, you will probably already be aware that the relationship is in serious trouble. This Minor Arcana card is telling you that you need to accept it. This card can also indicate betrayal and infidelity. Alternatively, this card may simply indicate that you are being overly dramatic, attention seeking or playing the victim with your partner. If this is the case, it could be the final nail in the relationship’s coffin if you do not stop that behaviour. If you are in an abusive relationship, the Ten of Swords warns you that you are in serious danger. You need to take immediate action to ensure your survival and safety. If you are single, the Ten of Swords can be an indication that you are still reeling from your last breakup. Even though you know the relationship was unhealthy and had run its course, you were not ready for it to end on some level and are still struggling to come to terms with the finality of the breakup. You need to take some time out to heal and to rediscover who you are and what actually makes you happy independently of a relationship.

Money & Career
In a career Tarot reading, the Ten of Swords is not a good omen, it can indicate that you have hit a dead end in your job or that your time in your current role may be ending and you may be severing ties. It can also signify that you will be the subject of people badmouthing you and backstabbing or bitching behind your back so keep your ears open and be on the lookout for colleagues trying to undermine you. It can also indicate that you may have been overdoing it on the work front and pushing yourself to the point of exhaustion or collapse. You may be hitting a wall and you need to take care of yourself as you will be no good to anyone if you burn out. If you are in business this Minor Arcana card is not a welcome one as it can signify ruin, failure or the collapse of a business. In a financial Tarot spread, the Ten of Swords is not a good omen as it can indicate financial ruin and failure. Be extremely cautious in your financial dealings at this time and don’t take unnecessary risks as this is not a time to gamble.


In a spiritual context, the Ten of Swords usually indicates that you may be severing ties with an old belief system. It can also be a warning to be on the lookout for people in your spiritual circle that may be disloyal or dangerous as this card can indicate curses or betrayal.
Ten of Swords Reversed Tarot Card Key Meanings:
Rising above problems/haters/bitchiness, over the worst, surviving disaster, being saved, things getting better, NDEs / OBEs, escaping ruin, pulling yourself together, learning from past hardships, fears coming true, being beyond help, worst is yet to come, despair, total ruin, relapse, problems coming back,

General meaning and interpretation
In a general context, the Ten of Swords reversed can represent things getting better, getting over the worst, surviving/ being saved from disaster and escaping ruin. It is a Minor Arcana reversed card of pulling yourself together and learning from past hardships. It can signify something coming back from the brink of death or failure, Near Death Experiences and Out of Body Experiences. Alternatively, it can signify fears coming true, the worst being yet to come and being beyond help. It can also represent total ruin, despair, relapse and problems coming back.

In a health Tarot reading, the Ten of Swords reversed can indicate health improving and surviving a serious illness or disease. However, it can also represent a near death experience, inability to survive and suicidal thoughts overwhelming you so look to supporting cards for confirmation. If you are struggling, seek support! There are plenty of people and organisations who would be happy to help you.

Love & Relationships
In a love Tarot spread, if you are in a relationship the Ten of Swords reversed can indicate a relationship coming back from the brink of failure or collapsing completely and being beyond repair. If you are in an abusive relationship, the Ten of Swords reversed can suggest that you will escape the relationship, be aware that this card can indicate an extreme escalation in the abuse. You need to get to a safe environment as staying could prove fatal. If you are single, the Ten of Swords reversed can indicate that you are starting to recover from a nasty breakup and overcoming the despair that the breakup caused. It implies that you have learned a great deal from the hardship and have learned to rise above the anger, hate or bitterness. Alternatively, this Minor Arcana reversed card may simply indicate that you are relapsing into total despair after the breakup, unwilling or unable to accept the outcome.

Money & Career
In a career Tarot reading, the Ten of Swords reversed can indicate that you gotten over the worst of the stress in your job or have severed ties with a job that was pushing you to the brink of a collapse. Alternatively, it can indicate that a terrible work situation is pushing you over the edge. You need to ask yourself if it’s worth it, there are other jobs out there which could be a lot healthier for you. If you are in business, this Minor Arcana card reversed can either represent a business coming back to life or a collapsing completely. In a financial Tarot spread, the Ten of Swords reversed can indicate either being saved from financial ruin and failure or total financial ruins such as bankruptcy, the supporting cards should indicate which applies.

In a spiritual context, the Ten of Swords reversed usually indicates that you come through past hardships and learned lessons from them that you will bring forward on your journey through life. You may have gained a lot of wisdom and empathy for others from these experiences. On the other hand, it can indicate that you are refusing to accept the lessons, which is leaving you stuck in a negative spiral. Try to sense what your spirit guides are telling you, they are all around you, lovingly guiding you through this. The Ten of Swords reversed can also indicate near death and out of body experiences so you may find that astral projection comes easily to you at this time.