This time of year has always been associated with dark, even frightening scary things...Halloween, longer, colder nights, the shortages and disease associated with winters past.
They say the veil is thin between this world and the next this time of year... maybe that is why some of the most challenging and even frightening cards the Tarot deck has to offer.
There is nothing to be gained by avoiding or sugar-coating the cards, so lets roll up our metaphysical sleeves and take a look at the 10 of swords.
Even the artwork on this card, in the Raider-White deck anyway, is a little intimidating. It can't be fun for that guy to be face down in the dirt with a bunch of swords sticking out of his back. Yikes!
Traditional meanings for the card include treachery, defeat, ending, ruin...not fun stuff.
The 10 of Swords is a little less drastic than the Death card. It can mean ultimate, final end...but the connotation is more compartmentalized. Rather than a global, irreversable life-altering change, this is more like a project that fails. A romance ending, an invention that doesn't sell, the hand-made sweater 5 sizes too big...that sort of thing. Like the Death card, though, the 10 of swords also has the promise of new beginnings. Only an empty cup can be filled...even if the emptying process isn't a lot of fun. "As one door closes, another opens."
The little I've read about numerology tends to associate the number 10 in general to extreme ending and finality...we leave single digits and enter the next level.
From the yin-yang perspective of eastern philosophy we again see the idea of any extreme becoming its opposite...ending becomes beginning, one more than nine is demonstrated with a zero and a one...
The same is true of the of failure seen in this card. In the extreme of failure lies the seeds of success. I think of it like those Dyson commercials, where they talk of all the prototypes it took to develop their product. Another favorite example is Pixar's "Meet the Robinsons" one of our family's favorite movies..."yeah! you failed!"...you can learn from failure, but from success "not so much".
I believe this is the lesson of the 10 of swords, too.
This tarot card asks us to think about why we fail in life...and who defines our successes and failures?
"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent" ~ Eleanor Roosevelt
"Failure is always an option" ~ Mythbusters
If we use failure to learn persistence, clarity of understanding, release of attachments...and all the other things that adversity can teach...then failure becomes something to be celebrated, not dreaded. Or at least taken in stride
"keep moving forward"!