Ten of Swords: When the End is Just the Beginning

A figure lies defeated with swords in their back, representing the Ten of Swords tarot card

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The Ten of Swords is known for its association with betrayal, loss, and the conclusion of a tumultuous phase; this tarot card serves as a poignant reminder that even in the depths of despair, there is a glimmer of hope.

As part of the Minor Arcana, the Ten of Swords represents those pivotal moments in life that feel like an ending but are often precursors to a new beginning.

It’s the proverbial darkest hour before the dawn, suggesting that despite the pain, the worst has indeed passed, and there is light on the horizon.

Ten of Swords Tarot Card

Key Facts

  • Upright Position: The Ten of Swords represents a culmination of hardships, betrayals, and the end of a difficult cycle; it’s a Minor Arcana card signaling that the worst has passed.
  • Reversed Position: In the reversed position, it indicates recovery, resilience, and the potential to rise above challenges, transforming life’s difficulties into lessons.
  • Love Reading: This tarot card often suggests the end of a relationship or the need to address significant challenges within emotional connections.
  • Career and Finances: It reflects a low point in work and financial matters, possibly a sense of defeat, but also the necessity to confront the current situation for improvement.
  • Spirituality: The card speaks to the dark night of the soul, urging a deep spiritual introspection and the potential for rebirth.
  • Yes or No Readings: Generally, the Ten of Swords suggests a “No,” advising against continuing in adverse conditions, yet it may imply a “Yes” to embracing necessary changes.

Ten of Swords Meaning

The Ten of Swords features a grim tableau—a figure lies prone, swords embedded in their back, a symbol of ultimate betrayal and a painful situation reaching its apex.

This card doesn’t shy away from the harsh realities of life; it confronts them head-on, depicting the moment of hitting rock bottom. It resonates with those who feel they are on the verge of failure or who have experienced what seems like a complete failure.

The sky above may be dark, but this card is not without its lessons. It teaches us about the resilience of the human spirit and the necessity of closure, even when it comes through painful means.

The Ten of Swords is a testament to the strength found in surrender, the kind that comes when one accepts the end of a toxic relationship or the conclusion of a chapter that no longer serves them.

Ten of Swords Reversed

When the Ten of Swords is drawn in reverse, it signals a turning of the tide. The sharpness of the swords begins to dull, and the figure metaphorically rises, indicating recovery and the onset of resilience.

This card, in its reversed position, speaks to the body and spirit’s remarkable capacity to heal after enduring shock and trauma. It suggests that a window of opportunity is cracking open, allowing the first rays of peace of mind to filter through the darkness.

This is the card of survival and the slow but steady rebuilding of life from the ground up. It’s a reminder that even when all seems lost, there is always a path forward—a chance to stand up, remove the swords, and heal the wounds.

The reversed Ten of Swords is a beacon of hope for anyone who has been through the wringer and is ready to embrace the lessons learned and move toward recovery.

A broken heart pierced by swords, symbolizing love's challenges in the Ten of Swords.

Ten of Swords Love

In the Ten of Swords may appear as a grim harbinger, often signaling the painful end of a broken relationship or the harsh truth of an abusive relationship coming to light.

The card’s presence in a love reading can be a stark acknowledgment of emotional turmoil, betrayal, and the deep wounds inflicted by a loved one. It’s a call to confront the reality of a situation that cannot be salvaged and to accept the need for healing and closure.

This card does not sugarcoat the emotional impact; it lays bare the necessity of drawing a line under a chapter of one’s love life that is beyond repair.

It’s a difficult but essential step towards recovery, demanding the release of patterns and bonds that have caused more harm than good.


The reversed Ten of Swords in a love reading can breathe a sigh of relief into the hearts of those who have suffered.

It suggests that the worst has passed and that there is a silver lining to the clouds that have loomed so heavily. This card reversed is a beacon of hope, indicating that healing is possible and imminent.

It speaks to the resilience of the human heart and its capacity to recover from even the deepest of wounds.

The journey towards healing may be long, but the reversed Ten of Swords assures that new beginnings in love are on the horizon, promising a future where trust can be rebuilt, and happiness can be found once again.

Suit of Swords Quick Guide

Ace – Clarity

Two – Stalemate

Three – Heartbreak

Four – Rest

Five – Defeat

Six – Transition

Seven – Deceit

Eight – Restriction

Nine – Anxiety

Ten – Betrayal

Page – Curious

Knight – Assertive

Queen – Analytical

King – Authoritative

Cups – Emotions

Swords – Intellect

Pentacles – Material

Major Arcana – Journey

Ten of Swords Money and Career Meaning

The Ten of Swords can cast a long shadow over one’s career and financial life, often indicating a situation where all efforts seem to have led to a dead end.

It may reflect a period of professional betrayal or financial ruin, where one feels backstabbed by colleagues or crushed by insurmountable debts.

This card does not mince words; it shows a reality where one’s life’s work appears to crumble, leaving a sense of futility and despair. However, it also serves as a stark wake-up call, urging one to reassess their career path or financial strategies.

It’s a card that demands a confrontation with the facts and a commitment to moving past denial and into a space where one can begin to rebuild from the ground up.


When the Ten of Swords is reversed in the context of money and career, it heralds a time of recovery and reassessment. The feelings of professional defeat are beginning to dissipate, making room for new strategies and opportunities.

This card, in its reversed state, is a reminder that financial recovery and career growth are within reach, even if they require starting from scratch.

It’s an encouragement to let go of what has failed and to look towards the future with a renewed sense of purpose and determination.

The reversed Ten of Swords is a sign that the lessons of past hardships have been learned, and now is the time to apply them as one embarks on a new path, potentially leading to greater success and fulfillment.

A phoenix rises from ashes, representing spiritual transformation in the Ten of Swords.

Ten of Swords Spirituality Meaning

The Ten of Swords is a profound spiritual teacher, often associated with the dark night of the soul—a time when one is confronted with their deepest fears and sorrows.

This card serves as a stark reminder that sometimes, spiritual growth necessitates facing the shadows within. It’s about the painful but necessary process of letting go of old beliefs and identities that no longer serve us.

It’s a call to release what is dead and to trust in the transformative power of spiritual renewal. This card can be a powerful ally for those willing to confront their inner darkness, as it promises the dawn of a new day and the emergence of a stronger, more enlightened self.


When the Ten of Swords appears reversed in a spiritual reading, it signals a turning point. It suggests that one is beginning to rise from the ashes of spiritual turmoil, gaining a stronger sense of self and a clearer vision for their spiritual path.

This position may indicate an awakening, where previous trials and tribulations start to make sense, and the lessons learned become a source of strength.

The reversed Ten of Swords can also point to experiences such as astral projection or profound meditative insights that offer peace and a broader perspective on life’s challenges.

It’s a card that heralds a newfound spiritual resilience and the promise of inner peace after a period of intense inner work and reflection.

Ten of Swords Yes or No

In “Yes or No” readings, the Ten of Swords typically suggests a “No,” especially if the question pertains to maintaining the status quo in a detrimental situation.

It advises caution and careful consideration, warning against proceeding along a path that has proven harmful.

However, suppose the question relates to ending a cycle or embracing change. In that case, the Ten of Swords might lean towards a “Yes,” advocating for accepting necessary endings and the courage to move forward.

Griff Williams

MindEasy founder & meditation teacher

Griff Williams is an accredited meditation teacher and founder of MindEasy. He spent 12 years working as a London firefighter before changing paths to pursue building MindEasy. He received his diploma in meditation teaching from The British School of Meditation.