The Wisdom Behind The Ten Of Swords.




“The trouble with life was that you didn’t get a chance to practice before doing it for real.” ~ Terry Pratchett

The Ten of Swords is not typically a good card.

When I was a younger reader, if it came up in a reading, I would do something very professional, like wince, or flinch, or say, “Oh, fuck!” I have matured since then (a little) and have come to see it in a little different light.

The Ten of Swords shows a guy lying flat on the ground. Ten swords are stuck in him. Not near or around, but in and through. There isn’t bad intent around this card, there are goddamned flesh wounds. Let’s not take this too lightly, right?

Is he dead? I hope so. If he isn’t, he’s awfully uncomfortable. Let’s think about what death means in the tarot. The Death card means change is coming, whether you like it or not. The Ten of Swords can mean literal death, but more often refers to the person hitting rock bottom.

However, I have come to see it as a positive card.

I keep seeing all of these motivational memes that say “Get up! You only fail if you stay down! You can do it! Yay!” There are a lot of exclamation marks, and it’s kind of patronizing. Of course, I am not advocating digging a hole and then setting up house in it, but there is some value in recognizing that life just kicked your ass and you need a minute.

Those saccharine-sweet quotes (I saw one that said, “If Plan A doesn’t work, the alphabet has 25 more letters”) can be condescending, abrasive, and — when I’m not feeling my best — will cause me to tell my computer to shut its stupid face.

If you’re flat on your face, you should probably just lie there for a second and catch your breath. It’s not going to get any worse, and if your luck has driven you to the ground, you’re in no condition to go anywhere.

I think that a lot of people feel they can’t stay in depression for too long or they’re a failure. That’s not fair. Sometimes, depression is a soft place to land, so you can heal and grow stronger and carry on.

I think rather than embracing the you’re a sucka failure if you don’t get up ethos, maybe we can accept that wounds need healing. That sometimes, everything really does suck and you need to lie down on your couch and watch all of Broad City while eating boxes of cereal. (That’s not a typo. I said boxes.)

Sometimes you need to whine and cry and tell your friends that everything is awful, because sometimes everything is awful. This is valid.

I do not recommend staying in this place for more than — say — two weeks. (and I’m not talking about clinical depression, so please save your email, you know what I’m talking about). I would give yourself two weeks to pout and be pissed and sad and apathetic.

This is the perfect time to assess what you’re going to do next. What you’re going to try in order to avoid this feeling in the future. To decide what you want. To figure out how to make tomorrow different than today.

If I were to sum up The Ten of Swords (which, evidently, I’m about to do), I would say, “Stay down!”  You’re down there for a reason.

Figure out what it is, and then have a nap, okay?


Melissa CynovaLis C has been doing readings since the early 90’s. She’s gotten really damned good at it, too. She feels that tarot cards are a tool that can help her subconscious talk to your subconscious, and that most readings are just you talking to yourself. She’s just there to make sure you listen. If you would like to learn more about reading tarot cards, or would like a reading, you could contact her at Little Fox Tarot.


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Rebelle Society
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