Inspiring Enchantment & Illumination with Tarot & Intuitive Guidance

Tarot Card of the U.S. Election Week, Nov. 7-13, 2016: Ten of Swords

When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.
Lao Tzu

In this week that starts with astronomical Samhain (the exact cross-quarter day between Equinox and Solstice), and (in case you have just arrived from a far away galaxy), the U.S. general election, I was naturally concerned about which card would come calling. I admit I was not thrilled to see this week’s Ten of Swords.

For people with even the most casual exposure to the Tarot, this 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.

Ten of Cups

Ten of Cups

So, yes, fasten your seat belts, friends; it could be a bumpy week. But it doesn’t take a psychic genius to predict that, does it?

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.

But in the Ten of Swords, we have the over-the-top conflict 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 literal, physical reality, but how we interpret our reality.

Swords are about perception, attitude, beliefs, communication, and the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves.

This is certainly how it looks 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 this extreme ending, we face the absolute death — dead as can be — of an idea, mindset, 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, traumatic as it may be, you will receive the secret gift within this card.

Unlike other Swords cards in the Rider-Waite-Smith deck that come with turbulent, stormy waters, the lake or river in the background is calm. And, in contrast with, for instance, the Nine, with its completely black background, the darkness 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.

The Election from Hell

There can be little argument that this has been the most excruciating, bitter, boorish Presidential election in modern American history. As First Lady Michelle Obama has pointed out, much of it has been too crude for young children’s ears.

And by Election Day, it will have been dragging on, in all its ugly glory, for 597 days, according to Atlantic Magazine. Most of us (and not only Americans!), are good and sick of the whole thing.

Yet, although we are all begging to just get it over with, one of the candidates has already accused the process of being “rigged,” refusing to say whether he will accept the election results. He has also deferred admonishing his inflamed followers who are threatening violent retaliation if his opponent is declared the winner.

With the Moon void of course during most of election day, there could indeed be fuzzy outcomes that take a while to sort out.  Will other candidates contest their results? Might there be voting machine malfunctions or other snafus? (My friend Elisabeth Grace has more to say about the implications of the void of course Moon in her daily forecast).

Besides who the winners will be, the big question is — will it really be over after Nov. 8?

The Ten of Swords would say yes…. but also

Since, as I noted before, the Tens are the overflow of the suit, it says that all is lost for one opinion, viewpoint, attitude, or story. But by letting go, truly and finally, the possibility of healing and renewal can begin. When it comes to this election, that is the ONLY way forward, if stability and progress are to be hoped for.

Whatever happens, whether the people who lose concede gracefully or not, what has been will be no more. The old patterns are breaking apart, and a new beginning is emerging.

Letting Go

Now, in this season of Samhain, the land itself surrenders as fields of grain, fruit, and flowers become barren and empty. Yet the turning of the seasons is precisely our proof that Spring will return again.

What bitter ending might you be undergoing? Is there some situation where it’s time to admit defeat? Perhaps it seems to have been a very unfair loss, or even a betrayal.

What in your life has got to go, and go now, because all the goodness in it is gone? Who is the current “you” that needs to yield to the potential of what you yet might be? The Phoenix will rise, but to do so it requires the ashes of its demise.

Painful as it may be, only by this complete surrender will we ever be able to take the next step, which is born of forgiveness.

This week, the ending of a paradigm may be at hand. In its wake, there is light and peace on our horizon.

Let us prepare our welcome for what is yet to come. We need only let go of what is already gone.


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  • November 9, 2016, 11:20 am Sharri Gaines

    Hi Beth…I just read slowly and deeply your commentary on the Ten of Swords. And at the very end, a little light dawned in my mind. The letting go, the death that needs to happen on the deepest level imaginable is separation. The belief that there is an ‘us’ and ‘them’. Each side in this election would seem to represent our most polarized consciousness…to the extreme. Maybe we should just realize the outward expression of our collective projected consciousness and use this as a most excellent message to get real about our own, individual, internal healing. I have come to believe this is the only true and lasting way we will see and live in a healed world…one soul at a time becoming whole.

  • November 11, 2016, 11:50 pm Esme

    I read this amidst widespread reports of Clinton supporters marching in the streets, refusing to accept the results of the election. In some cases they are smashing windows and setting fires. Clinton has so far refused to speak up and tell her supporters to knock it off. Those eager to condemn Trump for his anticipated supporter refusal to accept the election results refuse to speak up now that the wrong candidate has lost, fair and square.
    Frightening times indeed.
    The Ten of Swords mudra (like The Hierophant’s), which I understand to mean “what you see is not all there is” is key. Think of the blessing that American voters, after decades of democracy-destroying policy by our two leading royal families, ending for the greatest good the power of both families in a single year. This is indeed a blessing and a victory for democracy. We are on our path and dawn is breaking.
    Allow new ideas and paradigms to stimulate all our chakras, like the person in this card. Refuse to slide into the logic of lunatics, as many of the losing candidate’s followers appear to be doing. It’s our time to give thanks for the blessings and give thanks for the dawn.
    We are at the end and the beginning. Let us move forward in love and light.

  • November 13, 2016, 12:07 pm Jennifer Atkinson

    Dear Beth,

    Thank you very much. This was both comforting and inspirational.