Inspiring Enchantment & Illumination with Tarot & Intuitive Guidance

Tarot Card of the Week – March 28-April 3, 2011

Life has left her footprints on my forehead.
But I have become a child again this morning.
The smile, seen through leaves and flowers,
is back to smooth away the wrinkles,
as the rains wipe away footprints on the beach.
Again a cycle of birth and death begins.
~ Thich Nhat Hanh

For people with even the most casual exposure to the Tarot, today’s card is one they never forget. One of the most grisly looking cards, the Ten of Swords is often dreaded and admittedly not the happiest of all the Tarot images. So, yes, fasten your seatbelts, friends; it could be a bumpy week.

The Tens of each suit are the overflowing of that suit’s energy. With the Cups, for instance, it is the overflow, the zenith and then some, of love, emotional harmony and happiness. In the Ten of Swords, we have the over-the-top pain of the Swords — so much so that it is almost ridiculous. One Sword is quite enough to kill someone. Ten swords, stuck in the back, no less… well, you might say, “over-kill.”

But remember that Swords correspond to the Element of Air.  They tell us about our thoughts – not physical reality.  They are about perception, attitude, the stories we tell ourselves about things.  So, as Tarot expert Rachel Pollack points out, “This card does not represent death, or even especially violence. It signifies more of a reaction to problems than the problems themselves.”

This is certainly how we feel sometimes, when we have been so wounded in some way, that we can’t believe anyone has ever suffered as much. The Ten of Swords seems to be complete, absolute despair. It can even be when we have decided that life itself is over.

Overwhelmed with pain, and big drama, we face the absolute death, dead as can be, of an idea, relationship, project, aspiration, or situation with which we have lived for quite some time. There can be no doubt, no revival, no spin, no restoration or repackaging. This card tells us to let it go; it’s really, really over.

Then, and only with that acceptance, painful as it may be, you will receive the secret gift within this card.

For notice, that, unlike other Swords cards with turbulent, stormy waters, the lake or river in the background is peaceful. And, in contrast with, for instance, the Nine, with its completely black background, here the storm here has passed, and day is breaking.

Even more telling, the victim’s right hand is making a sign of benediction and peace. In the last throes of this brutal death, forgiveness is given, understanding is reached.

When we have no choice, the only way is through.

In what way are you being asked to admit defeat, perhaps even a very unfair loss?  Is there some area in your life where you feel utterly betrayed and vanquished?  What in your life has got to go, and go now, because all the life in it is gone forever?

Painful as it may be, only by so doing will we ever be able to take the next step, which requires the forgiveness of ourselves and even those who would do us wrong.

At the darkest time, the dawn is nearby. And there is hope in this new day. Yet only from ashes can the Phoenix rise.

This week, with a powerful New Moon arriving, a convergence of intense astrological energies and a world full of dramatic upheaval, we are invited to prepare for a rebirth. But this cannot happen, until what has come before is truly, completely released.

There is light and peace on our horizon. We need only let go of what is already gone.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • March 28, 2011, 11:49 am James Wells

    I appreciate that you notice the central figure’s hand in a gesture of blessing and peace, Beth. It betokens a capacity to discover wisdom in one’s circumstances. For more on my thoughts about this, feel free to visit my own blog entry:

  • March 28, 2011, 2:49 pm Rena

    Hi Beth
    Just wanted to say thanks for a PERFECT card for this week.
    Every once in a very great while, like on the order of years, something massive, that’s been haunting one for way too long, lets go. Usually after a lot of work, but it’s still such grace. Today I think this may prove to be one of those times for me.
    That’s often what this card means to me; how sweet of you to remind me. I love your description.

  • March 28, 2011, 5:37 pm Starshine

    I’m really letting it go now, and it’s a good thing.

  • March 28, 2011, 8:10 pm Tara


    As I have not gotten answers on what is to come from our last reading, I am yet again left wondering…I asked for signs regarding redoing, repackaging, etc… This card confirms IT IS OVER… and all will be well. It is indeed a scary card, but you so eloquently give attention to the details that at first glance can often be missed… the right hand in a gesture of peace and the skies brightening on the horizon…

    Thanks Beth!

  • March 28, 2011, 8:50 pm jamye

    Death as transformation has been the theme of the morning and I found much mental relief and creative energy within that understanding. I love the synchronicity! Thank you for the insightful card reading. Amazing!

  • March 29, 2011, 10:46 am Maria

    There is a lot of synchronicity for me, too. For the past few weeks, I’ve been dealing with old traumas and a lot of suppressed truth about them. I also know that I will never be ready to go back to work unless I let go of the anger and pain I still carry from the last job. There has been a lot of letting go, and there is still more to do. Thanks for the encouragement, and the reminder that dawn always follows the dark.

  • March 29, 2011, 1:52 pm Beth

    Thanks to all of YOU.. for your courage to share here, and for your wisdom and experience. Your posts help me, and support one another in ways that are synergistic and so powerful!

    This is not easy stuff, but just look at the beauty revealed here, as we each face these shadows and speak our part of the truth.

    We bring the dawning.

  • April 2, 2011, 11:09 am carey

    After a week of the 10 of Swords, I’ve learned a little something about reading the cards. Sometimes when these cards that come up make our blood run cold with “oh, please no, not again….” perhaps they are revisiting us to remind us of lessons we have already had, a chance to revisit them from a new and enlightened, matured and wiser perspective. This card in particular, which has so much to do with the thing that cuts us to the quick, can teach us boundaries, right? Once something has happened, and we feel like *that* (arrow pointing up to that poor fellow up there), we’ve been granted an introduction to our boundaries. I know for soooooo long I’ve ignored the neon signs pointing to those boundaries swishing them away as if they were dust particles because of a deeper sense, although erroneous, of “Who am I to have such a need, a want, to expect such a thing in my life….who am *I*??” So sometimes, when eventually one has gotten to *that* point, the guy up there, we finally get the picture. When we are revisited by circumstances, yet again, as indicated up there, perhaps our boundaries have been established, and we get a chance to claim them.

    So, thank you for pulling the cards for us Beth, each week, and for giving us opportunities to see, meditate upon and appreciate our growth, and for those times when we are in the thick of learning, for giving us a plateau from which to view our turmoil from a more helpful perspective.